Moles, freckles and sun protection in children and babies

Moles, freckles and sun protection in children and babies

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Should we worry about children's moles and freckles? In this interview with the doctor Angela Hernandez Martin, dermatologist of Infant Jesus Hospital, from Madrid, you will discover why children's skin is more sensitive to solar radiation and how to act and identify any alteration in the moles and freckles of the skin of children.

The thickness of the skin and the smaller number of melanocytes is sufficient reason for children are more sensitive to the effect of solar radiation And if we add to this that young children spend more hours in the sun than an adult, vulnerability increases proportionally. The small child spends all day in the pool, on the beach or playing in the yard and this causes them to accumulate a very important amount of solar radiation. In fact, it is estimated that half of the radiation that one will receive in their entire life is received in the first 18 years of life.

Why is the skin of babies and children more sensitive to solar radiation?
Children are extremely sensitive to solar radiation for different reasons. First, by the thickness of the skin. Children have thinner skin and the barrier effect it could have on solar radiation is less than adult skin. Also, young children have fewer melanocytes until about the first year of life, causing them to absorb radiation more. The melanocyte is the skin cell that gives pigmentation and that makes individuals with darker skin have greater protection against individuals with whiter skin or very light phototype.

Should we have some kind of precaution against moles on children's skin?
Periodic surveillance of pigmented lesions should be done. Pigmented lesions are very frequent, they are called nebus or in more colloquial language lunar, and they have a certain risk of becoming ill under the influence of solar radiation. Active prevention should be done using sunscreen. Sun protection must be used since the child is very young, applying the creams in a sufficient quantity, several times a day, avoiding sun exposure in the central hours of the day: from 12:00 to 17:00 in the afternoon. It is even good to use and accustom children to doing all the exercises outdoors with a t-shirt, using what is called a physical barrier that is the truly effective. The only protection that performs an absolute block on the sun's rays are the shirts, the clothes.
This precaution is valid both on skin that has nebus or moles and on skin that is totally healthy, because you can have skin cancer on the mole, but also on the skin next to you, so you have to protect everything homogeneously and in the right way.

Marisol New.

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