Potential for sun damage should be carefully balanced with need for vitamin D in children, say scientists

Scientists at King’s College London are encouraging parents and carers to ensure even more rigorous protection of children against the harmful effects of the sun. The comments follow a study which has suggested that children may experience much more significant DNA damage from small amounts of sun exposure than adults.

Published in the British Journal of Dermatology, the new study of 32 children under the age of 10 was undertaken at a 12-day summer camp in Poland. Children’s skin types ranged from pale white skin that burns easily to olive skin that burns minimally. Researchers, led by Professor Antony Young at King’s College London, measured levels of vitamin D alongside a urine biomarker of DNA damage that can lead to skin cancer, known as CPD, which is produced as a result of the skin repairing this damage.

The scientists, in an EU funded collaboration with Professor Joanna Narbutt of the Medical University of Lodz, Poland and Dr Peter Philipsen of the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, measured exposure to UV rays via an electronic device on the wrist that absorbed the rays. Children filled in diaries with information about sunbathing, sunscreen use and sunburn.

The study, found a 25%


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