Overexposure to the sun is harmful for anyone but more so for babies. Their sensitive skin is vulnerable to damage as its natural protective layer is not formed yet. New review on the extent of danger of exposing children below 2 years of age has revealed that changes that take place at such a tender age can lead to diseases such as melanoma and other types of skin cancer later.
The new research undertaken to understand sun-damaged skin of infants has been published in the July issue of the journal, Paediatrics. This journal is published by the American Academy of Paediatrics. The skin plays a part in not only acting as a physical barrier to ultraviolet (UV) rays but also in maintaining the immune system. The two authors of the recent study say that the damaging effect of UV rays on the immune system is faster in babies than in adults.
The authors are employed with Johnson and Johnson and their research is aimed at finding out the use of baby sunscreen products that the company turns out. Their conclusions are backed by heads of many paediatric institutions. Joan Tamburro, D.O., Director of pediatric dermatology at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland says, “People don't realise the concerns of exposing a child less than [age] 2 to the sun.”
The chief of paediatric dermatologic surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Robin Gehris, M.D, said that damage to the skin of infants is a precursor to melanoma. 1 out of 33 babies born these days is likely to develop melanoma compared to 1 out of 1500 in 1935. Therefore, parents are advised to keep their children away from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Other advice to save children from the harmful effects of sunlight was also provided in the study. Wearing brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing, applying sunscreen to any patches of skin exposed to the sun and not exposing one's skin to the midday sun when temperatures are soaring, were the recommendations.