The benefits of exposure to the sun’s rays are well known, ranging from mental wellbeing to the formation of vitamin D, which is essential for our bone structure. Without proper protection, however, our skin is at risk of harm from UV radiation, specifically children’s skin which is more sensitive to the sun’s rays.
Children’s skin is different to adult skin in several important respects.
Children’s skin is only one-fifth as thick as adult skin, although it has the same number of layers. Its horny layer, the outermost layer of the epidermis which actively protects us from environmental influences and retains moisture, is thinner and its cells less tightly packed. As a result, its barrier function is less effective, and substances are absorbed more quickly and into deeper layers. Learn more about skin structure.
Pigmentation (melanin synthesis) in children’s skin is not fully developed. Melanin is the substance that gives our skin its natural colour, or pigmentation. When we go out into the sun, our cells produce extra melanin to help protect us from further damage – it’s what we call ‘tanning’.
In children’s skin, melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) are present but they are less active, leading to higher UV sensitivity.
Learn more about the effect of sun on the body’s skin.
For these reasons, it’s important to use products that are specially formulated for the needs of children’s skin. That is about not only providing the highest levels of protection, but also supporting and strengthening skin’s own defences.