Now that spring is just around the corner in South Africa, I thought sun protection would be a valuable topic today.
Your baby’s skin has not developed fully yet and they do not have enough melanin pigment in their skin to protect them from the ultra violet radiation from the sun. So protecting your baby’s vulnerable skin is vital against the harsh South African sun.
Use a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF and moisturising properties, as dry skin is more vulnerable to the sun and re-apply regularly. Also make sure it’s a broad-spectrum brand that has a four or five star rating. This means it offers UVA and UVB protection, and it will state this on the packaging. Reapply at least every couple of hours and after she has played in water, even if it’s waterproof.
Clothes covering your baby’s shoulders are essential in the sun, particularly on hot days. Shoulders are particularly vulnerable and burn quickly. Make sure your baby wears a T-shirt while splashing around in the water. Change him into a dry one when he’s finished his swim. You can also try sun protection clothing made of Lycra or a Lycra and Nylon mix. They block more of the sun than a normal T-shirt can and also dry quickly and can be worn in and out of the water.
Ideally young babies should never be directly exposed to harsh sunlight. Make sure your baby always wears a wide brim hat and avoid being in the sun between 10am and 2pm.
Sun protection not only prevents painful sunburn but helps combat long-term effects of sun exposure, such as skin cancer. Most of the cellular changes which cause cancer, occur before the age of 18.
In summer babies are prone to heat rash so be sure to keep them cool and dry and dress them in loose, light/white coloured clothing, as this reflects the sun’s light better. Don’t overdress them as their sweat glands are not developed properly and their ability to regulate body temp is diminished.
Keep baby wipes handy to refresh your little one. Talc powder also helps combat heat rash by absorbing excess moisture and sweat on the baby’s skin.
Twelve more days till Spring and we can’t wait!
Take care of you and your baby