How to Avoid Sunburns
July 18, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Everyone, adults and children, needs the sun. It´s our main source of vitamin D, the one that helps us absorb calcium so we have stronger bones. However, we spend more time than we need in the sun and we burn. Sunburns aren´t just a temporary reaction to the sun and the skin of an adult isn´t like a child’s delicate and thin skin. If they suffer from sunburns while they´re young, the risk of  developing skin cancer and eye damage is five times higher.

Now that summer is here, dermatologists suggest you be extra careful so your children can enjoy the outdoors and keep safe. Remember that parents are the mirrors in which children see themselves. If you are careful under the sun, you´ll be teaching by example. Here is some advice on how to protect your family from the bad rays.

Use sun cream with factor 15 or 30 and make sure they are water resistant.

You should apply the cream half an hour before you leave and re-apply every 2 or three hours and after swimming or playing. Take the time to turn it into a game. If your baby is 6 months old or less, avoid sun exposure. At that age, there is not sun cream fit to protect the delicate skin. Even though ten hours must go by before you notice the effects of the sun, unprotected skin needs just 15 minutes to suffer.

Use hats and t-shirts to help protect your children from the sun when it´s at its highest. Remember that water reflects and intensifies the rays.

Children should use sunglasses that are 100% UVA and UVB protected. Without them, the sun can cause nasty effects in the cornea and also cause cataracts due to long exposure. Remember to let them choose the sunglasses they´ll wear.

Playing in the Shade. When the sun is at its highest (generally between 12 and 5p), program activities under the shade, especially for those under 3. Looks for a tree, bring along a parasol or just relax at home.


Remember to keep hydrated by drinking water and eating fruit.

Don´t be misguided by the clouds or the wind. Clouds don´t block UVA rays, they filter them. So, even if it’s cloudy or windy, don´t let your kids play outside without protection.

If your children do get sunburned, it´s best to bathe them with cold water or apply towels soaked in water to alleviate the pain and the heat.

You can also apply aloe vera gel, available in most drug stores. Aloe vera gel contains anti-inflammatory substances that not only alleviate sunburns but helps cure damaged skin. If you don´t have aloe vera gel with you, use an aloe vera plant. All you have to do is open one of the leaves and apply the gel within.

How do you protect your children from the sun? Have they ever gotten sunburnt? Share your experience with us so other parents can benefit from it.

Photo Credits: Emran Kassim

Photo Credits: Richard Leeming



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