In Australia, no kindergarten trip outside begins without applying sunscreen. Kids are dressed with protective hats, sunglasses and the highest possible SPF sunscreen, as well as protective clothing designed to shield from UV rays. This practice has meant that the number of people suffering from skin cancer has been greatly reduced every year.
The ozone hole across Europe is not quite as dangerous as the climate is in Australia. Nevertheless, many feel the sun is more aggressive than ever before. Mainly fair-skinned, blond or red-haired people suffer from redness of the skin even after only 10 minutes under the sun. These skin types only rarely brown, but usually gain more freckles. The only things that help in these cases are sunblock, a hat, sunglasses, UV protective clothing and lip balm!
It´s easier for those who were born with (dark) brown hair and eyes. These skin types tend not to burn for the first 20 to 30 minutes. However, it is still advisable to use sunscreen to protect from cancerous rays.
Why is using sunscreen so important? The sun protection factor (SPF) indicates how long you may stay in the sun without risk of sunburn. SPF 25-30 is safe for most adults, but still, please avoid the dangerous mid-day heat!
Children's skin is much more sensitive to sun. Each time children are unprotected in the sunlight, this could lead to sunburn or the risk of cancer. Recent studies show that three severe sunburns during childhood are sufficient to increase the risk of skin cancer up to three to five times. Dermatologists recommend to not to let babies and toddlers up to the age of two years in direct sunlight at all.
Adults are also only protected if they apply the sunscreen about half-an-hour before sunbathing. If you are in water, use water-proof products. You should also be careful if you are doing sports under the sun. Some sunscreens are very easy to sweat off. Please note: reapplying cream increases the total time you can spend in the sun. So always re-apply!