UV protection in Spain

Spanish people have been surprisingly slow to wake up to the dangers of skin cancer caused by excessive exposure to the sun, and until relatively recently it was not uncommon to see families spending long periods on the beach or by the pool without putting protective sun cream on. Many Spaniards continue to use sun cream to get a tan, rather than to protect the skin from burning, and one of the way to distinguish visiting tourists from local Spaniards on the beach (apart from obvious things like language and colouring) is by checking the sun protection factor on their suntan lotion. In general Spanish people use much much lower protection factors than foreign residents or visitors to Spain and many adults suffer skin damage and marks caused by excessive exposure to the sun.

So it is no surprise that the first company in Spain to offer online purchase of a wide range of UV protective clothing has been set up by foreign residents. Solkids, a new Granada based company set up by a family who have lived in Australia and the Far East for many years, offers UV protective clothing for babies and children aged up to 14.

All fabrics are SPF 50+ made in New Zealand by “Ozone”, a small company which has been designing and making UV protective clothing in New Zealand for 13 years.

Children have less of the skin’s protective melanin pigment and so are at a higher risk of incurring skin damage from the sun. Just one sunburn in childhood is estimated to double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. More teenagers and young adults are being diagnosed with skin cancer than ever before, and the number of people with skin cancer in Europe has more than doubled since the early 80s. Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the UK. Each year there are more than 65,000 new cases, and over 2000 deaths due to skin cancer.

According to owner of Solkids, Sarah Barguirdjian, “Having lived many years in Australia and the Far East, wearing sun protective clothing and hats had become a routine part of family life for us. When we came recently to live in Spain, we were surprised by the intensity of the sun, equal to any Australian summer. We also discovered that most parents in Spain are aware of the dangers of sun exposure and are anxious about protecting children’s skin, but found the low supply of UV clothing available poorly designed and over-priced”.

Solkids offers free postage and packaging to all customers in Spain. Anyone interested in consulting their catalogue of UV clothes and accessories should visit their website at http://www.solkids.com.

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