Summer is around the corner and we are all looking forward to spending more time soaking up the warm rays in the long sunny days. Summer means wonderful new experiences for your baby as you spend more time outdoors and may even go to the beach or swimming pool.

Now the thought of taking your baby near water should bring to mind the critical safety elements one need to consider in summer. Obviously, all babies need to be closely monitored whenever near water. In addition, the long sunny days and water play bring the risk of exposure to the sun.

I asked Paediatric Dermatologist & skin science expert for The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project, Dr Carol Hlela, to help me put together some pointers on caring for your baby’s skin this summer

“The skin benefits from the exposure to the sun as it then produces the necessary vitamin D, but the negative effects are when the skin gets exposed to excessive sun rays and intense episodic sun burns. Its chronic exposure to the sun on unprotected skin that causes the different skin cancers at a later stage. Literature has shown that most cases of skin cancers were caused by either episodes of intense sunburns, or chronic exposure to the sun, when they were younger”.

 Dr Carol Hlela, Paediatric Dermatologist & skin science expert for The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project

Why is it important to prevent your baby’s skin from exposure to the sun?

  • Exposure to the element has similar effects on baby skin as it does on adult skin but your baby’s skin is considerably thinner and thus more susceptible to dehydration as water is easily lost through her skin.
  • Baby and toddler skin also has much less brown pigment (melanin), which protects us from UV light. This means that if a baby gets sunburnt or overly exposed to UV rays, the long-term risk of Melanoma cancers increases dramatically.
  • Sunburn is a painful condition and since your baby’s new skin is more susceptible to sunburn, you will want to prevent any chance of this otherwise you will likely have a very bad night’s sleep.
  • Exposure to water and swimming pools will cause baby’s skin to dry out quickly and it is therefore necessary to ensure that you moisturize babies skin on a regular basis, even in summer.

So, understanding that sun care is vital, what should you do:

  • Do not take your baby outdoors over midday – the reflection off water and ambient sunrays are way too risky to manage well.
  • Use multiple measures of protection than relying on one measure over the other. Multiple measures include avoiding the sun wherever possible, the use of long sleeve garments that are lightweight and sun hats together with sun cream.
  • Protect your baby by staying under a shade
  • Use a well-researched baby-friendly sun cream and be vigilant with reapplying. On this point, remember that because your baby’s skin is thinner than your skin it is more likely to absorb ingredients from sun creams so carefully consider using a reputable brand, who test their products and do not use harmful ingredients.
  • For babies less than 6 months, protect them by avoiding the sun, clothing them well, use sun hats and stay under the shade.
  • Do not apply sun cream to a baby who is less than 6months as their skin is still sensitive.
  • You can apply sun cream on the skin of a baby who is 6months and above but try a certain area first for example the back of the hand as a test sign. If the child does not react to the cream, you can continue use.
  • Your baby’s delicate skin loses moisture 5 x faster than adult skin, in conjunction with adequate sun protection it is essential to follow a regular moisturizing routine:         JOHNSON’S® top-to-toe® Extra Moisturising Baby Cream provides 24-hour nourishment and moisture protection- perfect for everyday use in the summer months.

The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project educates Mothers about Skin Health:

When a baby’s skin is compromised, it is more vulnerable to invasive pathogens that may cause infections. It is therefore important to provide guidance around baby skin health as Moms can be unaware of this danger, seeing most conditions as non-life threatening. Every mother deserves to know what is best for their baby’s health, especially when it can affect their baby’s growth and development.  JOHNSON’S® Baby has seen the need for awareness and education around baby skin health in South Africa which is why they developed The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project as a platform to fulfill this need.

This education and aid initiative provides mothers in need to the best quality baby healthcare and skincare advice, whilst empowering the women of under-served communities.

The JOHNSON’S® Baby Healthy Skin Project invites you to join the conversation as it works to improve the lives of South African babies #johnsonsbabyhealth.