Sun and your child's skin - what the experts say
Protection against UVB and UVA rays
The SFP UVB factor (Sunburn Protection Factor) is indicated on each sun protection product. This is an indicator of how effective it is at protecting your skin against UVB rays. The SPF, calculated in laboratory tests, is the ratio of the intensity required to provoke redness on a given area with cream to the intensity required to provoke redness on a given area without cream. In practical terms, a cream with an SPF of 10 lets through a 10th of all UV rays responsible for sunburn, giving 90% protection. An SPF 50 cream lets through a 50th of all UV rays, thus ensuring 98% protection.
Based on this factor, sun products are classified into 4 categories:
|Low protection||6 - 10|
|Medium protection||15 - 20 - 30|
|Very high protection||50 +|
- The SPF is not a measure of sun exposure time. So using SPF 50 does not mean that you can stay in the sun 50 times longer than without protection.
- SPFs are only tested for a maximum of 2 hours. The cream should therefore be reapplied on a regular basis.
It is also vital that sun protection products protect against UVA rays: their UVA factor should be at least equal to one third of the their UVB factor.
Choosing the protection factor
The UV ray intensity varies considerably, depending on season and geographical location.
You can use the UV index in the table below to help you modify your behavior and work out what kind of sun protection you should use on your child based on your situation:
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)
Spain (Palma de Mallorca)
Once you have found your UV index, refer to the table below:
|UV Index||Strenght of the sun||Exposure time before sunburn for fair skin|
|2 or less||Low||> 1 hour|
|3 to 5||Moderate||40 minutes|
|6 to 7||High||30 minutes|
|8 to 10||Very high||20 minutes|
|11 +||Extreme||15 minutes|
- Between 0 and 2: you can enjoy open-air activities in complete safety!
- Between 3 and 7: seek out some shade in the middle of the day. Put a shirt or T-shirt and a hat on your baby and apply sunscreen every couple of hours.
- > to 8: avoid being out in the open air during the warmer hours and always look for shade. The shirt, sunscreen and hat are compulsory!
However, for children, irrespective of their skin type, always use protection with an SPF of at least 50 – particularly when they first go out in the sun.
To find out more about choosing a product that is suitable for your child, consult our tip sheet.
(link to Protecting your baby from the sun tip sheet)