Dr Mayou runs the Paediatric Dermatology Clinic at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, is the co-founder of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation.
What are your top tips when it comes to sun safety?
Childrens’ more sensitive skin must be protected from damaging ultraviolet rays. I recommend protective wear with hats, sunglasses, clothing and sunscreen for exposed areas not forgetting behind the ears and right up to the hairline.
What are the different ways for keeping children safe in the sun?
It is very important to keep children's’ skin from sunburn. Wearing protective clothing as above, and keeping out of the sun’s most burning hours which are between 11am – 3pm.
What’s the biggest misconception about sun safety?
One of the biggest misconceptions is that a sun tan is healthy. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a safe tan (unless it comes out of a bottle!) and a suntan reflects damage to the underlying DNA in the skin.
What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock and which one should be used on a child during vacation?
Dermatologists use the phrase ‘Sun Screen’ and ‘Sun Block’ interchangeably , when describing application of a sun protective product and recommend at least SPF 30 and SPF 50 on children. The sun protection factor in a sun screen, is a measure of the protection you receive from the burning UVB rays. Thus, if you burn within 5 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, wearing an SPF 30 gives a 5x30 minute window, as long as the sunscreen has been applied thickly enough.
Appropriately applied SPF 50 gives 98% protection, SPF 30 applied thickly enough gives 95% protection. Protection against UVA is measured by the star system - *- *****.
How often should a parent apply a sunscreen?
A sun screen should be applied before sun exposure and as often as recommended on the product, generally every four hours, but more frequently after sweating or swimming. The sunscreen needs to be applied thickly enough to give the degree of sun protection as on the bottle. This is far more than we generally do and is a thickness of 2mg/Kg2 which translates to a teaspoon on the face and a dessert spoon on the trunk and each limb for an adult sized body. Studies show we only ever apply between a quarter and half this amount hence are not getting nearly as much sun protection as we think!
What is the best type of clothing to wear on hot summer days?
A long sleeved cotton with a tight weave or specialist sun protecting clothing.