Everything you need to know about kids’ sunscreen

Have you got the knack of sun cream?
Have you got the knack of sun cream?

If you’re as confused about sunscreen as we are you might want to read our quick interview with Boots suncare expert, Clare O’Connor.

The correct amount to apply is the equivalent to the size of a £2 coin for the whole of one arm and hand.

Is children’s skin more vulnerable to the sun’s rays than adults?

Children tend to be more vulnerable to burning than adults as they tend to be more exposed by the way they play. They play outside for long periods of time and often spend hours running in andout of the water and have more abrasive contact with trees,sand ,other children and that requires more robust protection such as Once 8 hour play.

What would you say is the most important part of our kids’  bodies that we might forget about protecting in the sun?

The areas that are really prone to burning because we forget to protect them are the top of the head (particularly if thin) the ears and the feet (particularly the soles).

What would be your top three tips this summer?

Try to limit your own sun-exposure and use a self-tan for colour. Your skin will age less if you expose it to less sun. Moisturise now ready for the summer as its easier to keep your skin in good condition rather than repair it after the sun dries it. Always use a product with high SPF and high UVA rating (preferably 5-star UVA rated) as this will provide the best protection from skin ageing.

Do sprays and lotions of the same SPF offer kids the same levels of protection?

Technically there is no difference, the SPF number is consistent across product types so an SPF15 spray will offer the same level of protection as an SPF15 lotion.

However there is a practical consideration. The SPF is influenced by the amount of product you apply. If you apply less spray than you would apply lotion then the SPF of the spray product would be reduced by more than the lotion product.

Since sprays tend to be light and easy to apply, you have to be careful not to under-apply product and hence end up with reduced protection.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when it comes to buying/using sun protection?

We don’t apply product generously enough and so the SPF we get is not as high as it might be. The recommended amount is 2 milligrams of product for every square centimetre of skin. Of course this is quite meaningless to most of us. It is equivalent to the size of a £2 coin to cover the whole of one arm and hand. This doesn’t sound an excessive amount but most people use way less than this and end up getting less protection than they think.

The way to compensate is to use a higher SPF that you would instinctively choose so that if you do apply too sparingly, this is compensated for by the higher starting SPF.

Is children’s skin more sensitive to suncream than adults’?

Despite popular belief, no! The main difference is behavioural – children tend to play in a more abrasive fashion, rubbing product off more easily and overall will spend more time in the water, so their skin needs extra attention to ensure they enjoy the sun safely.

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