The sun's dangers
When a baby’s skin is exposed to the sun
Adult skin can protect itself against the sun so long as it is not exposed for too long. The top layer of the skin, along with melanin and the body’s cell repair mechanisms, all help to provide this natural photoprotection. But in babies and young children these protective defenses are still immature, which makes them especially vulnerable to the sun:
- A baby’s skin is finer and more sensitive.
- Its protective barrier mechanism has only limited effect, and UV rays can penetrate more easily.
- The immune system in babies is still immature and cannot adequately defend their skin against UV rays.
- And their pigmentary system, which is designed to protect their skin, has not yet fully developed.
- Infants’ skin is rich in unique but fragile cell potential that needs to be protected to ensure their long-term health.
- In addition, babies do not yet perspire very much, which makes them more sensitive to fluctuations in temperature, sunburn and dehydration.