29 April 2021

Suntan as beauty ideal hinders sun protection for children

Parents in the Netherlands don’t protect their children sufficiently from the sun. An overly positive view of suntanned skin seems to be partly to blame. More than a third of all children between the ages of 4 and 12 are sunburnt at least once a year. The recently launched National Skin Cancer Action Plan recommends practical solutions such as shady play areas and public sunscreen dispensers. But more is needed, says health scientist Karlijn Thoonen. Alongside educational programmes for parents and children, she advocates an influencer campaign questioning the positive perception of tanned skin. ‘We really have to get away from the idea that a suntan is “attractive and healthy”.’