The Slow Burn of Sun Damaged Skin
Sun damage accrues over the course of a person’s life, beginning in childhood. So if we can reduce our kids overall sun exposure then we drastically reduce their chances of developing skin cancers later in life. But that shouldn’t mean keeping kids in the cupboard with an iPad and a milk arrowroot biscuit. It just means making sun smartness a positive experience that kids willingly opt into.
The two primary drivers of skin cancers are incidental sun exposure and sunburn. As parents, we’ve become pretty good at dealing with incidental exposure through things like daily sunscreen and hats at school. So that leaves sunburn, which tends to happen during intense exposure at places like the beach where you’re often out between 10am and 3pm when UV levels are at their highest.
Sunburn is the leading cause of most skin cancers. During intense periods of exposure, cells are damaged through radiation burn and over time unrepaired cells divide and pass on damaged DNA, which is where most skin cancer begins.
We all know how difficult it is to stop kids getting burnt at the beach. You want to protect them but you also want them to enjoy themselves without having to be lathered head-to-toe in sunscreen every hour. It’s a Sisyphean task. But there’s a solution.
In a beach setting, a full-length wetsuit is infinitely more effective than sunscreen at reducing the chance of sunburn. For sunscreen to be effective over the course of a beach day, it needs to be reapplied after swimming. But any parent knows the impossibility of re-applying sunscreen to wet and sandy arms and legs. So despite our best intentions, it feels like a losing battle trying to protect our kids skin while also giving them the freedom to enjoy themselves.
But the good news is that beach is a place where we can easily reduce our kids sun exposure by doing something that also improves their overall experience. A 2mm wetsuit takes the edge off cool water enough to allow kids to enjoy the ocean longer (or at least get over the initial hesitation to get in). But it also provides 100% protection from UVA and UVB radiation wherever skin is covered. It’s a set-and-forget solution that completely shields 90% of their body.
But there’s something even more effective than a full-length wetsuit - a full-length wetsuit that kids are excited to wear. That’s why it’s our mission to make wetsuits that are as beautiful as they are functional. We want to protect kids from sun damage while at the same time shielding them from boring design, because ultimately, to be truly effective (if we measure effectiveness by getting kids to willingly wear wetsuits), both form and function have to be singing in harmony.