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Sun Damage In Children


Children are more susceptible to sunburn, because they have less melanin, the pigment of the skin than adults. Melanin is what allows adults to get a Tan when exposed to direct sunlight, and less of this pigment is a child’s skin is more prone to develop a painful burn if not protected. The symptoms of a sunburn are red pigmentation of the skin of the child, sensation of heat when the skin is touched, pain and blistering in severe cases. Sunburns can be avoided through the application of sunscreen religiously and stay in the shade as much as possible.

Skin cancer

A child that develops in a severe burn as a result of exposure to the Sun without protection will be more likely to develop a serious type of skin cancer in the future. It is estimated that almost 80 percent of the sun exposure occurs before an individual is 18 years of age, often because children spend more time playing outdoors than adults. A child experiencing sunburn with severe blisters, as a child is more likely to develop malignant melanoma than a child who is not exposed to the Sun’s rays.

Eye problems

Sun damage can occur in the eyes of a child, and children under the age of 10 years are considered a high-risk for this type of damage. When the eyes are too exposed to harmful UV rays, a burn of the cornea of the eye may occur. The children whose eyes are not protected from direct sunlight are at an increased risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and tissue growth in the white part of the eyes when they are adults. The eyes of a child can be saved from the damage of the Sun through the use of sunglasses that protect against UV rays.

Permanent changes in skin

In addition to leaving the skin of a child more prone to sunburn, low levels of melanin in the skin also makes that a child is more susceptible to skin damage that can have long term affects. Skin lesions occurring in childhood can cause an adult to develop wrinkles, freckles, sun spots or discoloration of the skin and moles.

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