What Sunscreen Is Best for Babies?
Did you know that just one bad burn during childhood can double your child’s risk of developing melanoma later on in life? As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about!
Parents have a terrifying responsibility to protect their children from the risks of developing skin cancer. And since most of us grew up during the time when sunscreen was an afterthought, we don’t all take sun protection as seriously as we should. And we also have a lot of questions. Learn how to determine what sunscreen is best for your baby — and how to use it correctly.
UVA and UVB
It wasn’t that long ago that you only needed to look to the sun protection factor (SPF) to determine which sunscreen you should use. SPF rates how well the sunscreen protects against ultraviolet B, or the cancer-causing UVB rays. However, research has since shown that ultraviolet A (UVA) rays are also cancer-causing. The tricky rays don’t cause a sunburn, but they do cause skin damage.
Thankfully, sunscreens have stepped up to the challenge, and now you can find broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA. Always look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection.
Unfortunately, UVA ratings don’t exist — meaning, you can’t look to a number to tell you how well a sunscreen is protecting your baby against UVA rays. That means you need to look at the ingredients, specifically titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which protect against UVA rays. These ingredients are also great for the sensitive skin of babies because the chemicals found in many adult sunscreens can easily irritate a baby’s skin.
When Can You Put Sunscreen on a Baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months, instead advising parents keep their babies from sun exposure. This means keeping your infant dressed in lightweight long pants and shirts, having her wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and keeping her in the shade. However, when enough shade isn’t available, the AAP recommends parents apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to the exposed parts of the baby’s body (like the face and backs of hands).
Once your baby is 6 months or older, you don’t need to worry so much. In fact, apply sunscreen liberally at this point (while continuing to practice other safe sun protection, like proper clothing and shade).
How to Apply Sunscreen on a Baby
If your baby is 6 months old or older, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and apply it generously every two hours. If your baby is in the water, or is sweating a lot, apply sunscreen more often.
Use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide so your baby’s skin and eyes won’t be irritated. These hypoallergenic ingredients sit on top of the skin instead of absorbing into it, helping to prevent against rashes.
Don’t forget the backs of your baby’s hands, his ears, and the tops of his cute feet.
Test a small amount of sunscreen on a patch of your baby’s skin two days before you intend to use it on the whole body so you can watch for irritation.
A Baby’s Skin No Match for the Sun
Shade, clothes and hats offer little ones safe protection, pediatric dermatologist says pic.twitter.com/Q6nStWpaPb
— Helpgen (@Helpgen1) June 27, 2017
Other Basic Sun Rules for Babies
Remember that prevention is key. When you can, avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. If you can’t avoid being outside during those hours, cover your baby up with adequate protective clothing. Use the stroller shade to keep the sun off your baby, but don’t drape a blanket over the stroller (this could cause overheating, and even suffocation).
Think ahead, and apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside so your baby’s skin will be protected from first exposure.
It’s not an easy feat, but be extra careful around your child’s face and eyes. Babies are wiggly, and you may have a hard time keeping sunscreen out of her eyes. Distracting with a toy, a song, or a sibling may help. If sunscreen does get in her eyes, use a damp cloth to wipe it out.
Protecting your baby from the sun is serious, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Deter Mineral Reef Safe Sunscreen SPF 30 provides broad spectrum UV protection, is 100% hypoallergenic and non-irritating for your baby’s precious skin, and is EWG verified for your health.
And as its price has recently been reduced, hurry and purchase Deter Mineral Reef Safe Sunscreen SPF 30 for your family’s safety.