The greatest damage caused by the sun to the skin occurs before the age of 18

The greatest damage caused by the sun to the skin occurs before the age of 18

Hydration is key. That is why children should drink plenty of water all day. (Photo: Rubén Paratore)

Sun protection measures in boys and girls “would prevent a large percentage of skin problems in adulthoodamong the most important skin cancer” since “the photodamage generated by solar radiation is cumulative and 80% of the damage” in this sense occurs “before the age of 18” warned specialists who offered suggestions before the arrival of the summer holidays.

“The most important measure to take into account is avoid being exposed to the sunbut if they are, they should not do it between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” stressed the interim head of External Pediatric Clinics at the Hospital de Clínicas “José de San Martín” of the University of Buenos Aires, María Gabriela Gandolfi.

When boys and girls are in the sun, they should wear a preferably dark-colored t-shirt, a cap or wide-brimmed hat to cover the face, ears, and a large part of the neck, and, if possible, sunglasses with sunscreen to protect the eyes. eyes and periocular areas.

Also, Hydration is essential, drink plenty of water during the day and increase the frequency of breastfeeding in breastfed babies, as well as apply moisturizing cream to their skin daily, added the specialist.

While, infants under 6 months should “never” be exposed to direct sunlight and, if they are outdoors, “they should be located in the shade and in a cool place.”

Regarding sunscreens, Gandolfi explained that they should be used from 6 months, applied evenly and generously 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours while sun exposure lasts, or before, if there was immersion in water, excessive sweating, or rubbing the skin with a towel; and must be “easy to apply, broad spectrum UV absorbing, non-irritating, and cosmetically pleasing.”

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) shows the effectiveness in terms of the degree of protection it offers: there are compounds with low protection (SPF 2 to 15), medium (SPF 15 to 30), high (SPF 30 to 50) and very high. (SPF > 50).

“In pediatric patients, sunscreens must have a high SPF, be broad-spectrum for UVA and UVB rays, as well as resistant to water,” said the expert, who stressed that “using sun protection measures in pediatric patients would avoid a large percentage of skin problems in adulthood, one of the most important being skin cancer.

For his part, the dermatologist Clara Hernández Gazcón He maintained -in dialogue with Télam- that “the photodamage generated by solar radiation is cumulative and 80% of the damage that we accumulate in our lives we do before we are 18 years old.”

He explained that “UVA radiation is associated with skin cancer, while UVB radiation with acute sunburn increases four times the possibility of contracting this disease.”

“Skin cancer appears in adulthood. Before it appeared at 70 or 80 years old and now there are cases at 30 and 40. This is so because today the impact of radiation is increasing as a result of the hole in the Ozone Layer and due to current habits of greater exposure to the open air. The sun is not the same as before, it is stronger, ”she remarked.

Regarding the appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the sun, he stressed that “Dark color absorbs radiation and light color repels it” and highlighted that “water shirts with UV filter have protection factor 50 that is clarified on the product label that lasts one season.”

Myths and truths

Dark skins must comply with the same care as light skins, we can all be victims of the sun Photo Ramiro Gmez
Dark skins must comply with the same care as light skins; we can all be victims of the sun. (Photo: Ramiro Gomez)

Regarding sun exposure, Gandolfi pointed out that Not all umbrellas offer good protection, the thinner the fabric and its fibers are further apart, the greater the number of rays that pass through it.

Second, it reaffirmed that dark skins must comply with the same care as light skins; on cloudy days the same care must be maintained physical and photoprotection measures; indirect exposure causes the same harmful effects, since UV rays are reflected from different surfaces such as snow, which reflects approximately 85% of the light that reaches it, and water or sand, which reflect 20%.

As for the glass of the windows, they filter UVB radiation, but not UVA, which are the ones with the longest wavelength and therefore penetrate the surfaces more, he warned.

By last, Sunburn risk ‘increases with height’Therefore, the same measures must be followed in the mountains, increasing the frequency of repositioning the sunscreen.

Hernández Gazcón added that “there are many people who say that sunscreens are carcinogenic. This is so because they had a component called oxybenzone, which was withdrawn from the market.

“The myth that is you put on a chemical to protect yourself from the sun. However, there are protectors that are 100% mineral, without any chemicals“, he pointed.

Another myth is “that sunscreens hurt the oceans and corals. In the last 10 years there has been a much more protectionist current and today they are tested to be friendly to corals”. Also, in the case of sunburn in boys and girls, the doctor pointed out that the first thing to do is “evaluate the severity.”

Telam SE

Mild burns appear after a few hours of sun exposure and are characterized by redness, increased temperature and itching in that area of ​​the skin, he specified, and recommended cooling the skin by wetting the area with cold water or a wet compress and later applying a moisturizing lotion so that the skin begins to recover. As long as the burn persists, “sun exposure should be completely avoided.”

If the burn occupies a large part of the skin surface or if the child presents nausea, vomiting, fever or dizziness, “the pediatrician or medical guard should be consulted as soon as possible.”

Regarding the damage caused by UV radiation to the skin, the doctor explained that it is “accumulative and irreversible” and that is why photoprotection in children and adolescents is essential.

“It is estimated that a 60-year-old person received a significant percentage, 40 to 50%, of the cumulative dose of UV radiation in the first 20 years of his life,” concluded.

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