Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

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Soleil et peau de bébé.

Baby in the Sun: What are the Risks?

It is well-known that ultraviolet rays are harmful to adult skin. This is even more true when it comes to babies, which is why it is recommended to keep them away from sunlight during the first few years of their life. Discover in this article all the risks that the sun poses for infants.

Summary
Published March 4, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read
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Baby's skin, a delicate skin.

The skin of babies is different from that of an adult and is more vulnerable and fragile. During the first six years of life, the skin barrier gradually develops and does not yet offer its full protection. It is indeed estimated that the epidermis of infants is about 20% thinner than that of adults. This allows allergens, pollution particles, bacteria, and also UV rays from the sun to pass through much more easily. These can penetrate more deeply into children's skin and easily reach the dermal papillae and dermal capillaries, leading to photodamage.

Furthermore, the melanogenesis process is only partially developed in children under three years old, making them highly vulnerable to the dangers of the sun. The primary role of melanin is indeed to protect the skin from external aggressions, particularly against UV rays. Through a "capping" phenomenon where melanin wraps around the nuclei of keratinocytes, this pigment provides some protection to genetic material. However, this defense mechanism remains incomplete: approximately 15% of UVB rays still manage to reach the basal layer of the epidermis and 50% of UVA rays reach the dermis.

The dangers of sun exposure for babies.

Babies, being more delicate than adults, must absolutely avoid direct exposure to the sun.

Sunstroke.

With the sun comes high temperatures and perspiration. This physiological phenomenon is a way for the body to balance and maintain its temperature at 98.6°F. However, the sweat glands, which are responsible for sweat production, are not yet fully active in newborns, making them unable to regulate their own temperature. This can cause their temperature to rise quickly, leading to heatstroke, which is characterized by a strong redness in the head and the baby crying due to headaches and dizziness.

Sunburns.

Triggered by the sun's UVB rays, sunburns are the result of ainflammatory processthat causes blood vessels to dilate and the skin to redden. This reaction appears 8 to 24 hours after exposure. On a baby's skin, the burn is characterized by red and painful lesions and sometimes blisters. The skin is also very dry. The redness and lesions usually subside after a few days. Once the burn is completely absorbed, the skin tends to peel. In case of sunburn, ensure to properly hydrate and nourish your baby's skin to help it heal.

Adult-age melanomas.

In babies, sunburns can worsen to the point of causing the formation of a melanoma, a type of skin cancer, once they reach adulthood. The risks increase as the baby has a light phototype. Melanomas result from the mutagenic activity of UV rays, that is, their ability to induce genetic mutations in skin cells. UV rays can also cause DNA damage. If this damage is not properly repaired, cells can divide uncontrollably, leading to the formation of a tumor. Moreover, it is important to note that studies show that the risk of melanoma increases by 75% when sun exposure begins before the age of 30.

Advice : Some actions can help prevent these risks during family outings, such as wearing covering clothes, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and regularly applying sunscreen.

Sources

  • PUGLIESE P. The skin, free radicals, and oxidative stress. Dermatology Nursing (1995).

  • BALK S. J. Technical report - Ultraviolet radiation: a hazard to children and adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics (2011).

  • BUSTER K. & al. Photoprotection in specific populations: Children and people of color. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2016).

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