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Sun Protection for Children and People of Colour

Guidelines for sun protection and sun exposure are standardised across most of the population, but a recent journal article highlights that children and people of colour are two “special populations” to whom distinctive aspects of sun protection practice and education apply.

Guidelines for sun protection and sun exposure recommend that everyone protects their skin from UV radiation by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30 or more.

However, not all people understand the risk of UV exposure in the same way and there is a belief by some dark-skinned individuals than sun protection is not essential. The article identifies children and people of colour as having a need for special sun protection practices and education.

The article, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, makes the following recommendations:

  1. It is vital to improve sun protection education for children.
  2. Sun protection for children should include seeking shade, applying sunscreen on sun-exposed areas, and using protective clothing, hats and sunglasses.
  3. Avoiding tanning beds is an important component of education for teenagers.
  4. UV exposure induces DNA damage and photoaging in all skin types, including people of colour.
  5. It is essential to articulate personalised recommendations concerning skin cancer risk factors, desired treatment outcomes, health needs and photoaging based on the needs and preferences of the patient.
  6. More research is needed on optimal levels of protection against UV radiation for people of colour.


Read more about recent research in sun protection.


Cestari, T & Buster, K. (March 2017). Photoprotection in specific populations: Children and people of color. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Volume 76. Issue 3. Supplement 1. Pages S110–S121. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2016.09.039.

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