The summer holiday may be over, but as learners return to school, the thought of sunscreen application fades along with the memories of beach and outdoor adventure filled days. According to a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), more than a third of the 707 learners surveyed stated that they never use sunscreen when in the sun, with the survey further revealing that children either do not know how to prevent themselves from getting sunburnt, are not aware of the health related dangers associated to sunburn or are not getting the type of guidance needed to understand the necessary skin care in South Africa.
Despite research proving that a considerable amount of sun damage occurs before the age of 18, only one quarter of the 24 schools included in the study planned to build shady areas for their learners, while 79% did not keep classrooms open during break times to give learners the option to sit indoors. With the harsh UV rays that we are subject to, it seems South African children are more at risk from sunburn at school, than they are at home.
Additionally, according to latest statistics, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country with 20,000 cases and 700 deaths reported annually. With this in mind, the researchers who conducted the study handed a sun protection policy over to the 24 schools, as a gap in educating learners about skincare, and providing the right environment for learners to avoid sunburn is clearly visible.
According to Cancer South Africa (CANSA), school going children should be sufficiently educated about the risks associated with overexposure to the sun. This includes knowing when the most dangerous times of the day to be exposed are, to re-apply quality sunscreen whenever outdoors for an extended period of time, and to wear protective clothing such as a hat. While sun and skincare education starts at home, the school environment is an important place to reiterate the importance of looking after one’s skin.
Looking for a convenient and hassle-free way to send your kids to school with sunscreen? Purchase EezySun sunscreen at Clicks, Spar or even online, and you can pop a few small sachets into their bags, reducing the risk of wasted or lost sunscreen.