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Should I be using sun protection creams on the DDs?

(38 Posts)
Issymum Thu 16-Jun-05 13:26:04

Obviously not today(!), but when it's hot and sunny should I be protecting the DDs with sun-tan cream? DD1(4) is from Vietnam and quite pale by SE Asian standards but still tans very easily and DD2 (2) is from Cambodia and much darker and again tans extremely fast.

When I see all the other mothers slapping SPF30 on their (white) children I do feel as if I might be rather negligent, but I'm fairly confident that 99.9% of children in Vietnam and Cambodia don't use sun protection cream and I'm exposing them only to the relatively mild sun of the North. Balanced against that, the DDs spend all winter with very little exposure to the sun.

What do you do?

Xena Thu 16-Jun-05 13:30:02

Although you probably won't need to apply suncream to stop them burning, there are still harmfull rays (either UVA or UVB i'm not sure) that could affect there likly hood of skin cancer in later life. I look after a black boy (although his skin is quite light) and his mum uses protection on is skin.

HappyMumof2 Thu 16-Jun-05 14:25:00

Message withdrawn

serenity Fri 17-Jun-05 00:45:36

I have to admit that I'm pretty slapdash about it myself, although I am trying to be a bit more organised and remember to do it. DSs and DD are English/Cypriot and are very olive skinned, I've always found that they are a little less 'sensitive' than some of my friends kids, they never got things like nappy rash for example. Like Xena said though, a good sunscreen is protecting them from more than just burning so I would play it safe and put some on anyway.

Gwenick Fri 17-Jun-05 00:49:17


They can still burn (well DH is black and can burn - as can many other blacks - he's born and bred in Zimbabwe).

There's still harmful rays which can damage their skin.

MarsLady Fri 17-Jun-05 07:45:37

I've always used suncream and/or block on my children. I think that you should as well. Theire skin is very young and as has been said can burn.

Issymum Fri 17-Jun-05 10:57:41

Thank you everyone. I shall get some suncream and apply it this weekend!

sallystrawberry Sun 19-Jun-05 23:15:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

serenity Sun 19-Jun-05 23:20:39

Following on from this thread I felt so guilty that I liberally smothered Dkids in factor 50 this weekend (couldn't find the lower protection one in the cupboard).

Just have to remember to do it in the school rush tomorrow.

SofiaAmes Mon 20-Jun-05 00:24:25

Issymum, my father, a leading scientist in the field of causes of cancer, is adamant that I leave my pale very white children for at least 15-20 mintues in the sun (even in italy) without suntan lotion, before putting it on. I suspect that for children with darker skin he would recommend even longer. Some very large portion of non-white children in the uk are vitamin d deficient and that can have all sorts of quite serious implications. The experts that my father knows all seem to feel that vit d deficiency can be worse than the effects of sun, particularly on dark skin.

giraffeski Mon 20-Jun-05 01:27:57

Message withdrawn

ghosty Mon 20-Jun-05 06:26:47

Agree with SofiaAmes ... Apparently more and more people are becoming vit D deficient and recently have read that in NZ (where the sun is strong and the burn times are quick) we should let our children out without sunblock for about 10 minutes and put sun cream on after they have been out for that time just in time to stop them burning.
I would also agree that people with darker skin can also get skin cancer so yes, if your child is dark you do need to protect him/her ...

franke Mon 20-Jun-05 06:32:05

I keep the kids out of the sun between 12 and 3pm when it is at its strongest. Then, as SofiaAmes says, let them have a little exposure without protection. But if they are then out for longer I slap on the spf. A friend of mine who's ds is mixed race is also very careful about protecting his skin from too much exposure.

Rai Wed 22-Jun-05 21:06:33

Hi Issymum, New Scientist mag had an article August 2003 which discussed the issue of sun block and this letter the following month {} was printed.

Basically most evidence supports following SofiaAmes and Ghosty advice, which is what I do with ds and dd

motherinferior Wed 22-Jun-05 21:19:27

How very interesting.

Sunscreen is giving poor old DD2 horrible blotches.

bran Wed 22-Jun-05 21:36:34

That's very interesting about having some time sun-block free. I have to admit that I haven't been using sun-block on ds (mixed Asian/white) unless I know he's going to be out in the sun for more than 10-15 mins. I have a Shade-a-Babe cover for his pushchair when we're out and about and whenever we're playing outside he is naturally in the shade because I hate being in the sun, and he doesn't go out in the hottest part of the day (again because I don't like it).

When I'm outside I wear total sun-block, but when I'm in Malaysia (which I think has a similar climate to Vietnam/Cambodia only closer to the equator) I never wear sun protection and I have never burnt. None of my in-laws wear sun-block or put it on their children out there, but everyone one there has a vampire style aversion to being in direct sunlight and will always try to stay on the shady side of the street. Nobody goes outside around mid-day if they can help it, and it is actually painful to be in the sun because it's so hot, unlike the UK where a cool breeze stops you from being uncomfortable in the direct sunlight.

binkie Wed 22-Jun-05 22:13:35

You know, I was just wittering on about vitamin D to the kids this morning without knowing anything about it apart from that you get it from sunshine (which means I'm as equally well informed as 6yo ds).

So please ghosty and sofiaames and your sources of wisdom, do you need strong sunlight to get vit D, or can you get it on ordinary overcast Brit days? So if the children are outdoors every day but only suncreamed on hot/bright summer days, will they be getting enough vit D, or are children like solar panels and you have to make the most of any bright sunshine you get? Any links to sites w/ signs of vit D deficiency?

Issymum Thu 23-Jun-05 11:22:38

Thank you everyone, particularly SofiaAmes for a very different slant on this. I've decided to go for a judicious amount of sunblock and the provision of plenty of shade. I moved their paddling pool under a tree and noticed that when it's hot the DDs have preferred to play there or in the sandpit which is also shaded and have unconsciously kept out of the sun.

I went to see a consultant dermatologist this morning to get a mole checked out (fine as it happens). She's Chinese and so whilst I was there I asked her about sunblock for my SE Asian children. Her view was that sunblock is unnecessary for them in the UK. As she put it, "if you put me on a junk, in the South China sea, without shade for 30 years, I probably would get skin cancer, but not here". In fact she was generally somewhat anti-sunblock as it's effect isn't 100% and it encourages people to stay longer in the sun than they otherwise would and, whilst they are not getting burnt, they can still be damaged by UV rays.

Non-PC alert: She went on to say that my children will thank me for keeping them out of the sun as 'we' [SE Asians] prefer to be pale. For the same reason they will probably also stay out of the sun throughout their lives so sun-damage shouldn't be much of an issue. She then described the way in which the Vietnamese completely cover themselves up, including elbow-length gloves, when riding scooters or working in the fields. All probably true (the bit about Vietnamese definitely true) but shockingly un-PC. Can you imagine if a white doctor had said that to me?!

WideWebWitch Thu 23-Jun-05 12:32:52

Gosh this is all interesting, esp your father's view sofiaames. Ds is turning very brown as the weather gets hotter, especially on his face and neck (his father is Indian) and I do put sun tan lotion on him but am less worried and neurotic about it with him than I am with dd, who is white.

crunchie Thu 23-Jun-05 12:40:26

I personally put sunscreen on my kids if they are likely to be out in the sun at the hottest part of teh day, but with such long evenings I don't put sunscreen on when they get in from school - after about 4pm.

they are your typical white, blond kids with 'slight' tans since we went on holiday but I do beieve in a 'bit' of sun. Glad to see its OK by some peoples views.

frogs Thu 23-Jun-05 12:48:18

Very interesting, SofiaAmes and ghosty, and follows what I'd instinctively been doing with my kids who have UK standard-issue mousey colouring, but seem to have inherited some of my (white british) dh's tendency to look as if he's spent a fortnight in the Caribbean after a couple of bright-ish days in the Scottish Highlands.

For myself, I've finally accepted that the darkest I'll ever go is very pale honey coloured, so I just slap on the Factor 50 everytime I step outdoors.

mamadadawahwah Thu 23-Jun-05 12:48:57

I have come to the conclusion that the amount of junk in sun creams which is obviously going to be ingested through my ds's skin is not worth the alleged protective qualities of the cream. Instead, my son is covered up.

Just out of interest look up the myriad of ingredients and what they are that you will find in sun cream. Dosent make pretty reading.

mamadadawahwah Thu 23-Jun-05 12:49:21

Maybe someone is aware of a sun cream without all the junk.

WideWebWitch Thu 23-Jun-05 13:09:47

Yes, Jason's organic suncream is factor 45 without harmful ingredients.

Prufrock Thu 23-Jun-05 15:10:46

Oh this is reassuring - I haven't been putting sun cream on dd or ds at all as they both get blotchy skin and watery eyes whenever I have tried. So we have just been keeping out of the sun between 10 and 5, except for very short periods - like when I'm putting the washing out.

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