A question many new moms have is when is it safe for their baby to wear sunscreen? This post will answer all questions about sunscreen and your baby. We will also discuss other ways you can protect your baby from the sun and a review of mineral-based sunscreens for your little one.
Protecting Your Baby from the Sun Before Sunscreen
The general consensus by health professionals is to wait until your baby is 6 months old before using sunscreen. Babies under 6 months have very fragile skin and limiting any sun exposure is best at this age. Young babies also tend to rub their eyes and put their hands in their mouth often. Until babies are 6 months of age they should be kept out of direct sunlight in a heavily shaded area, under an umbrella or under the canopy of a stroller. Always remember to allow for airflow when covering a car seat or stroller as the temperature can rise quickly.
Try to limit your baby’s time in the sun between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm as this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. When enjoying time outside it is important to:
- Cover as much of your child in clothing that is a tight weave or has a UPF value (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 40 or above.
- Make sure they are wearing a hat that covers as much of their face, neck, and ears as possible.
- Use UV protective sunglasses.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above to all skin not covered by clothing.
- Use a chapstick with an SPF of 30 or above.
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Remember to re-apply sunscreen according to the directions on the bottle or after swimming or heavy perspiration.
You want to avoid sunburns at all costs and if your child us under a year old they should be assessed by a doctor. A sunburn can be a medical emergency for a young baby.
Choosing the Right Type of Sunscreen
Sunscreen is our skin’s last line of defense. Choosing the right sunscreen for your baby can feel overwhelming. The two main types of sunscreen are mineral-based and chemical-based. In recent years there have been some concerns about oxybenzone, avobenzone and retinyl palmitate and their possible link to hormone disruption and skin cancer. The research is somewhat divided. Your best bet is to check the ingredient list and avoid products that contain these ingredients if you are concerned.
All About Mineral Sunscreen and Your Baby
Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and titanium oxide to form a protective barrier from the sun. They tend to be a bit thicker and chalkier but the newer versions have come a long way. Our family has moved to go using mineral sunscreens and have tried out Thinkbaby sunscreen and Saje Sunguard.
Saje Sunguard SPF 30
I used Saje Sunguard SPF 30 for a day spent at a spray park, tubing and playing at a playground. It is a bit thick so you need to ensure it is evenly spread but the white appearance absorbs quickly. It smells great and it protected my girls’ skin really well.
Thinkbaby is rated an SPF 50+. I love the fruity smell of this sunscreen and it spreads better than most mineral sunscreens we have tried. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes requiring less frequent application while playing in the water. It provided exceptional protection for a day spent running in and out of sprinklers and the pool. I also really love Thinkbaby’s body & face sunscreen stick (hyperlink : https://www.amazon.com/thinkbaby-Sunscreen-Stick-White-Orange/dp/B01MSH6605?th=1 ) and always keep one in my diaper bag for impromptu park stops. It is conveniently sized, spreads easily and provides SPF 30 protection.
I definitely recommend both Saje and thinkbaby sunscreens. When choosing a sunscreen for your baby or child check the ingredients, ensure it has an SPF of 30 or greater, and ensure it is water-resistant if you plan to spend time in the water. Have fun in the sun!
For some great additional sun safety resources check out the Healthy Children Site by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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