Protect your children from harmful sun damage while at school

Parents are encouraged to ensure their children have adequate sun protection while at school.


Copious bottles of sunscreen are sold during the summer holiday in an effort to protect, in particular, children’s skin from both the damaging UV rays of the harsh South African sun, but when children go back to school, this persistence seems to wane.

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), the majority of a person’s lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before the age of 18, which makes sun-safe policies an absolute must at preschools, primary schools and high schools.

South African schools should adopt sun-smart policies which include hats as part of school uniforms and ensuring children have adequate shade at school and outdoor events and time should be allowed for sunblock application.

In addition to these measures, scientific studies have validated the health properties of Rooibos on skin, which may assist with various skin ailments including the prevention of the development of cancer. Thus, parents whose children have been badly sunburnt may be able to turn to Rooibos for help.

Dr Tandeka Magcwebeba has done extensive research on the anti-cancer properties of Rooibos on the skin and said the topical application of Rooibos may offer protection against the early stages of cancer development in the skin.

“Once the skin has been exposed to the sun’s UV rays, Rooibos extracts have the ability to remove precancerous damaged cells and also block the onset of inflammation. It does so by stopping the multiplication of cancerous cells and removing these cells through programmed cell death, in other words, prompting the cells to commit suicide,” said Magcwebeba.

If your child does end up with nasty sunburn, anecdotal evidence indicates that soaking them in a lukewarm bath of rooibos tea two to three times a day could help reduce inflammation, which is likely due to the tea’s anti-inflammatory properties.

This, in combination with the abundance of antioxidants present in Rooibos tea, will help to naturally accelerate the healing of the skin.

It is still uncertain how much rooibos extract is needed to prevent the development of skin cancer, but according to science, children and adults who spend a lot of time in the sun may benefit from using cosmetics, sunscreen and after-sun skincare products containing Rooibos extract.

Do you think Rooibos protects your skin from the damage caused by the sun? Share your thoughts with us on the Rosebank Killarney Gazette Facebook page.

Laura Pisanello

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