So a lot of you have sent me links to the article recently about the boy who received 2nd degree burns after using Banana Boat SPF30+ Sunscreen, and being in outside in the water.
A few of you wanted me to weigh in on this and let you know my thoughts.
Well I’m kind of of two minds. Firstly, I feel incredibly sorry for the child. No child should have to suffer that way. Secondly, I feel sorry for Banana Boat. Because, in my personal opinion, this could have happened with any brand given the conditions it happened in. Just happened to be that it was Banana Boat. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of people have come out of the works with complaints about Banana Boat, so clearly there is an underlying issue there.
However, I do think some points need to be made and clarified about sunscreen moving forward:
1. Sunscreen is not the be-all-and-end-all
No sunscreen will completely shield you from the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). You can still burn, especially if you have sensitive skin. Sunscreen use should not be the only or even the primary line of protection against the sun. It should be used with other sun safety behaviours, including covering up and seeking shade.
In my personal opinion, SPF 50+ should be mandatory on all outdoor excursions. Especially when in the water.
2. Application & Continued Application of Sunscreen is CRUCIAL
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure to allow it time to dry and be absorbed into the skin. Spread it on to exposed skin thickly and evenly. If it’s put on too thinly the protection is lessened and it won’t work as well.
Sunscreens need re-applying to remain protective. However, re-applying sunscreen does not reduce UVR already received. Applying every 2 hours is a MUST, if not more frequently depending on the conditions.
3. Being in the water makes it WORSE
The sun’s reflection on the water intensifies the UV rays. Which means you need to be extra diligent with sunscreen. Applying more frequently than every 2 hours is a MUST.
4. Clothes are not going to necessarily protect from sunburn
If you are out in the direct sunlight for any length of time, then you really should apply sunscreen ALL OVER. Even under clothes. As was evident in the article I linked to above. The boys sunburn was where his shirt had obviously lifted up, and it was not protected there.
5. Just get out of the sun to reduce exposure
UVR builds up and can damage the skin even when you’re wearing a sunscreen and before burning is visible. Reduce your daily sun exposure as much as possible and in particular avoid the sun (even if using a sunscreen) between 10am – 4pm during daylight saving months. Sunscreens should not be used to increase the amount of time spent in the sun.
Sunscreen slows down further UVR accumulation and if burning has already occurred, it will only lessen the severity of further burning. Re-apply sunscreen every hour or more if you are swimming or sweating a lot.
The above information was taken from the SunSmart Schools Website. So it’s all fact (apart from the bits that say otherwise).
The best form of protection from the sun is a combination of sunscreen, shade and
The catchphrase should really be “Slip, Slop, Slap and Thinking Cap” … as in use your brain.
Our sun in New Zealand appears to only be getting harsher, so as parents we need to think sensibly about it.
Want to take your kids to the beach? Go for it – just limit their time in the sun. It’s sad, but it’s true. Especially during the hottest parts of the day.
It’s the same at playgrounds as everyone keeps telling us parents – if it’s too hot, then the kids shouldn’t be outside in the direct sun for prolonged periodsof time. Which is why I think shade sails are a MUST on playgrounds.
At a beach it’s a different story, and as such, we need to adjust our thinking around it..
Be SunSmart guys – especially at beaches where the water can make things a thousand times worse.
No matter what sunscreen you use, make sure you apply it prior to going out in the sun, and then frequently throughout the time the child is outside (or on yourself – don’t forget about yourself!).
For more information about sunscreen and our sun, visit my Myths & Statistics page.
To sign the Shade Petition, visit Change.Org.
Did you read the article? What did you think? What do you think of what I’ve written?