There is a lot of fun to be had when the sun start shining, but it also leaves many new moms wondering, “When is it safe for my baby to wear sunscreen?” and “What sunscreen is the safest for my baby?”
Below we will go over all the questions you need answered about sunscreen and your baby, from one mom to another. We have included reviews of our favorite sunscreens. Plus, we will get into some other options for sun protection like proper clothing and hats.
Baby Sun Protection Tips and Tricks
Here are some important tips and tricks for sun protection:
- Keep your baby out of direct sunlight in a heavily shaded area, under an umbrella, or under the canopy of a stroller when possible.
- When shading your baby, always remember to allow for airflow. When covering a car seat or stroller, the temperature can rise quickly.
- 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.
- Put a hat on your baby 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 for babies 6 months and older (read below for what to do before your baby is 6 months old).
- 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.
The general consensus by health professionals is to wait until your baby is 6 months old before using sunscreen on their full body. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that you can, however, apply small amounts of sunscreen to areas like the face or the back of hands when protective clothing and shade aren’t an option. Read more about Sun Safety from the AAP here.
Of course, since babies 6 months and under have very fragile skin, limiting sun exposure really is best at this age. I also highly recommend limiting 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.
Choosing the Right Type of Sunscreen
Sunscreen is our skin’s first line of defense. I know that choosing the right sunscreen for your baby can feel overwhelming because as a parent you want to protect them the best you possibly can. So, the first thing you need to know is that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen. The most important factor is keeping your baby safe from dangerous sun rays.
You will find that there are two main types of sunscreen; mineral-based and chemical-based. 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. My family has moved to using solely mineral sunscreens because we prefer the cleaner ingredients. Thinkbaby Sunscreen is our absolute favorite.
Chemical sunscreens tend to be more widely available and are easier to apply. There has been some concern about a common ingredient in these sunscreens called oxybenzone because of its hormonal effects. Make sure to check your sunscreen labels and avoid this ingredient, if possible.
The Best Sunscreen for Your Baby
Thinkbaby Sunscreen is rated an SPF 50+. It uses zinc oxide and is free of oxybenzone, parabens and phthalates.
I love the fruity smell of this sunscreen and the fact that it spreads better than most mineral sunscreens we have tried. Plus, it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes requiring less frequent application while playing in the water. It provides exceptional protection for days spent running in and out of sprinklers and the pool.
I also really love Thinkbaby’s Body & Face Sunscreen Stick and always keep one in my diaper bag for impromptu park stops. It is conveniently sized, spreads easily, and provides SPF 30 protection.
Cerave makes great, gentle broad spectrum formula sunscreen. I especially love their Cerave Mineral Baby Sunscreen SPF 45, but any of their mineral sunscreens are good options for both you and your baby.
One thing that is great about Cerave is that they contain ceramides which help to maintain your baby’s natural skin barrier.
For babies with sensitive skin, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen is the answer. It is made from naturally-sourced 100% zinc oxide and skin-soothing oat. Plus, it is non-greasy, hypoallergenic, and paraben-free
This is the best sunscreen for babies with eczema and it has even been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance!
Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen is pediatrician tested, safe, and gentle. It has SPF 40 and 40-minutes of water resistance.
One thing that sets this sunscreen apart is that it is GMO-free and made with just 7 ingredients (98% of which are organic!). This means it is naturally rich in antioxidants and will leave your baby’s skin healthy and moisturized.
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