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Are we over (sun) protective?

(53 Posts)
Mum2girls Mon 25-Jul-05 16:13:30

Just back off hols - where it was 30 degrees+.

Whilst on the beach and at the pool DDs (2 and 4) had on UVA costumes (with the three-quarter arms and legs), hats (with back-of-neck flaps) and SPF 30 on.

We frequently came across British kids who just had the usual costumes on, often no hat, most probably sun cream tho, I would think. Admittedly, some looked like they were burning, but there were others who were as brown as berries.

My question is this: I thought that suntan = sun damage...is that the case? if so, what happens when your kids are 14 or whatever, surely we can't keep them covered up like this forever.

(I should add that I do like to get a little tanned myself, but still understood this to be damaging to the skin).

handlemecarefully Mon 25-Jul-05 16:15:18

Don't know really...

I'm pretty casual about hats, but I do prefer the UVA suits to straightforward swimmies, and I liberally apply SPF 30 and upwards (i've got some factor 50 too)

QueenOfQuotes Mon 25-Jul-05 16:15:35

By the time my children are 14 I hope they'll be old enough to understand the need for suncream, and apply it themselves - I certainly knew by the time I was in my early teens I should have suncream (and why).

and even DS1 (who'll be 5 in September) ALWAYS asks for suncream if I've siad they can play outside.

Mum2girls Mon 25-Jul-05 16:20:23

QoQ - my kids at 2 and 4 understand the need for suncream - what I'm saying is, what is the point where we stop applying spf 30 - or do we ever? At some point in the future, should we start getting their skin used to the sun at all - lowering the spf or keep them behind a layer of thick gloop for as long as we can?

QueenOfQuotes Mon 25-Jul-05 16:21:41

I don't put factor 30+ on my kids, but they're mixed race. however I STILL wear suncream myself...so I expect they will do when they're older (and if they choose as adults not to bother well that'll be there problem not mine )

spursmum Mon 25-Jul-05 16:22:13

I learnt the hard way. when i was 14 i managed to get 1st degree burns! I was purple and couldn't lay on my back for 3 weeks. My ds never goes anywhere without suncream and a hat as he's blonde. If and when we go abroad i will be making my ds have a shirt on in the midday son as he is fair like me. Im not fanatical, im just cautious as i was sunburnt at least every year of my childhood(i do blame my parents as well).

Sponge Mon 25-Jul-05 16:35:07

Children's skins are more sensitive so I think we're right to protect them.
My kids are evry fair (even though I'm not) so I always put factor 50 on them and sun suits and hats.
Suntan does equal damage although not nearly as much as sunburn does and young perfect skin looks beautiful white anyway.

handlemecarefully Mon 25-Jul-05 23:09:03

Must admit that I am getting slightly crepey looking skin just below my neck - collar bone area, so UV sun protection is now being liberally applied to myself (when I haven't bothered much in the past)

Fran1 Mon 25-Jul-05 23:16:47

I think it depends on the skin colour!!

If my dd was really pale, i'd have her in uva suits and over the top amounts of suncream. I was like this with the very pale skinned children at nursery, because you can literally watch the skin burn.

But my dd is much darker skin, so althought i'd apply suncream, and ensure we weren't directly in the sun at the hottest parts of the day, i don't worry about UVA costumes etc

She does tan even with suncream on regularly and so do i.

happymerryberries Tue 26-Jul-05 09:00:31

At the risk of sounding morbid, no we are not over protective. My dhs father is dying of melanoma at the moment, and I wouldn't recomend that to anyone

SoupDragon Tue 26-Jul-05 09:38:16

Both DSs tan really easily and are not prone to burning but I still put them in UV suits, hats and factor 30 cream. They still go a gorgeous shade of golden brown though.

I think you can keep them covered up forever because by the time they get to 14 it will be second nature to them to be wearing sun cream, hats and suits.

loulabelle222 Tue 26-Jul-05 09:40:35

i put my ds in a hat his swimshorts and a t-shirt and factor 40 all over!

Easy Tue 26-Jul-05 09:41:28

I have never wanted to put ds into a uva suit, put have always tried to ensure that he is well slathered with suncream, factor 25 or higher. I am also not all that worried about a sun-hat, as I always feel much more mithered and hot when wearing a hat. If it's really that hot, ds doesn't really want to play out in it anyway.

That said, ds isn't pale skinned, and I love to see him with a lovely light golden tan.

Whilst I think we all need some protection, I do think the media may be over-egging the pudding a bit with this issue. I read an article in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago, about a consultant (australian I think)who is worried because some children now don't get enough natural sunlight because of being covered up all the time, and are showing signs of Vitamin D deficiency (we make vitamin D in our bodies, from sunlight)

I am also slightly concerned that some of the melanomas we see might be caused by the range of cosmetic chemicals we are encouraged to put on our skin, because we are only just seeing the long-term effects.

Gobbledigook Tue 26-Jul-05 09:44:46

Like hmb - I don't think you can be too protective about this, it's just not worth the risk.

Having said that, I haven't had mine in those UV suits and quite often they don't have a hat on (they just throw them off) but they are always covered head to toe in sunblock (factor 60) and it's regularly reapplied even though ds1 has the biggest full on tantrum every time.

However, we haven't been abroad with the little ones so we are talking about just being in the UK - and usually they aren't outside in the midday sun as they'd be in having lunch and watching a bit of TV anyway.

DS1 is strawberry blonde and very fair so I'm very worried about him burning (he never has so far). Ds2 is like me and although blonde and blue eyed tans very easily - he's covered just as much in sunblock but the bottom of his arms that stick out of his t-shirt are still browner than anywhere else. Ds3 is only 10 months so I don't have him out in the sun at all really - if he is, he's covered as much as poss with clothes and sunblocked everywhere else.

triceratops Tue 26-Jul-05 10:16:02

If they have a tan then they have sun damage. The colour is a response to damage from the sun. Like most people my age I remember peeling regularly from sunburn and getting excited about the tan lines and patterns from my swimming costume. I haven't sunbathed since I was 20 and am hoping that no long term damage occured.

I think that knowing what we know today a responsible parent would follow the recommendation to keep kids out of the sun between 11 and 3 when it is hot, apply high factor suncream regularly and wear a hat and cover up in full sun. A tan is not a fashion accessory for a child IMO.

When they are adults they can do what they like.

sandyballs Tue 26-Jul-05 10:25:35

I agree with Easy - I am concerned about the chemicals and other crap in all the suncreams - have you ever looked at the list of ingredients, it's horrifying. I do wonder if there is a link to the increase in skin cancer and the increased use of these creams.

There is definitely more to skin cancer than just sunshine - my father died of malignant melanoma and I never saw him sit in the garden and he never had a hot holiday abroad. He just didn't like being in the sun.

Easy Tue 26-Jul-05 10:44:03

Thanks Sandyballs, I know my opinion is very unfashionable. But I do think that the rises in skin cancers have mirrored the rise in the types and numbers of products available. I am now 44, as a child we holidayed abroad from me being 5 years old. I played in the sun (and did educational sight-seeing) with a minimum of sun protection, as there wasn't that much around, and the idea of covering up in the sun would have been considered ridiculous. This includes in the Med, and the Caribbean (where the main sun lotion on sale was just coconut oil). Mind you, my mum never let us get burned, just gently tanned.

Now I admit my face has lots of 'laughter lines' probably caused by the fact that I have always loved sun-bathing. But I have no signs of melanoma or other serious damage, even tho' I have the sort of moley skin that supposed to indicate higher risk (tans well tho')

sorrel Tue 26-Jul-05 11:19:45

when we were little my parents would have taken us to France every year on holiday.Every year we went out onto the beach all day without any cream, a hat or anything. This went on for about 15years.
DBro died from a brain tumor which he developed after a 10 year battle with a malignant melanoma.
DSis has now got cancerous moles and has had three malignant melanomas removed so far and she is waiting to see from tests if the cancer has spread to her liver. She has 3 young children.
I have had all my moles removed following one malignant melanoma.I am clear at the moment.

The number of times you get burnt ( children's skin is much thinner that adult skin) is the vital thing.
I urge everyone to read the info available. Make a sensible decision about protecting your children. Respect the sun and think about the long term damage. There is NO way to reverse it. once the damage is done, the repercussions may take years to show- but there will be repercussions. sun smart
You wouldn't give your 2 years old a cigarette- so why would you let them sit in the sun all day?

QueenOfQuotes Tue 26-Jul-05 11:38:51

Easy do you not also think the rise in the number of cases also has a link to the number of over seas holidays and 'tanning centres' around too??? Of course not all skin cancer is caused by sitting in the sun too long, but it's certainly one of the most common reasons.



I ALWAYS cover my two mixed race children (although the sun has caused their natural pigments to come through and stay anyhow - so they've got darker as they've got older) and this is partly due to the fact I watched a colleague die of Skin Cancer - it wasn't pleasant, and partly due to the fact that DH burned while holidaying in Australia many years ago.

QueenOfQuotes Tue 26-Jul-05 11:40:30

"But I have no signs of melanoma or other serious damage, even tho' I have the sort of moley skin that supposed to indicate higher risk"

But you're still 'only' 44 (I know makes you sound young ) people develop skin cancer later in life too. Just because you're lucky doesn't mean that everyone else would be.

There are some people that smoke 40 a day all their life - and never get lung cancer - doesn't mean it's 'safe' for them.

Easy Tue 26-Jul-05 11:41:02

Thanks Sorrel, I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your family, and understand That you feel strongly about it.

And I agree, you shouldn't let your children sit in the sun all day. I suspect that's part of the problem, they are now plastered in these chemicals, and play in full sunshine for many hours.

We didn't have the chemical sunscreens, but spent shorter times in the sun, were kept shaded etc.

As I say, I don't recall ever being allowed to burn.

QueenOfQuotes Tue 26-Jul-05 11:42:06

"Non-melanoma skin cancer mainly occurs in people over 50. However, it can also appear in younger people."

"Melanoma is most common in people aged between 40-60 years, although a significant proportion of cases occur in people under 35."

from www.cancer.org.uk

happymerryberries Tue 26-Jul-05 11:43:10

Easy, fil had no signs of melanoma until it was diagnosed 2 years ago as a stage 4 cancer. With him it was a groth on the back of his neck. And he never made a habit of sun worshiping either. Has a few weeks left to live and it is all rather grim.

Best of all to stay out of the sun, but sunscren is helpful

SoupDragon Tue 26-Jul-05 11:44:17

But Easy, if you believe the chemicals in sunscreen to be a problem, why do you not use a UV suit which reduces the need for sunscreen??

Also, the ozone layer is thinner now than it was when we were children so the "We never bothered and never burnt when we were young...." type arguments aren't relevant.

Easy Tue 26-Jul-05 11:48:37

Agree with you too QoQ.
I may develop something later, there is nothing I can now do about that, or a may not.

But life is a lottery. Some people will have a genetic predisposition to a cancer, which may then develop if the conditions are right (sounds likee Sorrel's family may fall into that group).

Life is however also for living. One needs to lower ones risks, but not cut out all the things that make life worth living.


But then that argument can be applied to so many things (should I take the children to London, is it safe to travel in a car etc etc.)

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