ALLERGIC TO SUN BLOCK

My daughter loves swimming and playing under the sun. While I encourage her to be healthy and to play with her friends, I have to unfortunately restrict her physical activities because she is allergic to sun block. I don’t want to stop her from having fun, but at the same time she comes back with painful sunburns. Are there any alternatives to sun block? Laila, JB

Dato' Dr Ko Chung Beng - November 15, 11:00 AM

There has been an increase on incidents of people having skin cancer over the past years. And the standard antidote to these sun fears is lathering on sunblock. The important factor in a sunblock is the SPF level. SPF stands for sun protection factor, which measures how well our skin is protected from burning. There are 2 main types of light from the sun; Ultraviolet A, UVA that damages the skin at a deeper level causing the skin to lose its elasticity, and Ultraviolet B, UVB which is the culprit that burns our skin. For this reason it would be important to choose a broad spectrum sunblock. This would mean a sunblock that will give protection against both UVA and UVB, and a SPF level of at least 30. However, it is important to know other active ingredients in a sunblock as there are ingredients included that may cause skin sensitivity. If you are active, it is advisable to consider a water-resistant sunblock. It is important to know that there are other methods of preventing sunburns, such as wearing wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, sunglasses and taking oral supplements that contain ingredients such as Polypodium Leucotomos (fern leaf extract) which can help prevent damages from the sun. In addition, it is advisable to avoid the midday sun whenever possible as the harmful rays are at their strongest during that time.

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