Raising Sun Smart Kids
So you’ve read our editorial ‘From UVA to SPF: Understanding Sunscreen’ and now feel confident selecting the right sunscreen for your skin. But how about for little ones? Suncare for infants and children has some special considerations so we’re breaking down the answers to all your frequently asked questions, right here.
Why is sun protection so important for little ones?
Sun exposure can pose serious risks to everyone, including and especially infants. Compared to their caregivers, babies have thinner skin that contains less melanin, the pigment that provides color and offers some level of sun protection. This puts them at a higher risk of getting sunburn which, in infants, can be a medical emergency that may lead to blisters, dehydration, fever, and chills. Plus, by building good habits at a young age, you can set the stage for a lifetime of sun smart behavior that helps to lower the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
When should infants start wearing sunscreen?
Now that you know how important it is for little ones to be protected from the sun, you may be tempted to reach right for the sunscreen bottle. However, the Skin Cancer Foundation and FDA recommend that infants don’t start wearing sunscreen until they’re six months old as their delicate skin may become irritated. For those initial few months, make sure to dress your child in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs, add a wide-brimmed hat to their head and a protective cover to your car or stroller, and avoid exposure to direct sunlight during the strong midday sun hours.
What sunscreen is right for babies?
As we mentioned above, when your child reaches six months of age (and their pediatrician has given the green light) it’s time to start using sunscreen! Best practice would be to choose a sunscreen that:
Has a sun protection factor (SPF) between 30 and 50
Is broad spectrum, so it can protect against both UVA and UVB rays
Has titanium or zinc oxide as the active ingredients (this means it’s a mineral sunscreen that stays on the skin’s surface)
Doesn’t contain fragrances, dyes, parabens, or phthalates, as these can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin
Doesn’t contain oxybenzone, which may have hormonal effects
Is a lotion rather than a spray, so you can ensure an adequate amount is applied to your child’s skin
All the formulas we carry at Standard Dose, like the fast favorite Erbaviva Baby Sunscreen, meet these criteria. But remember: any sunscreen is a much better option than none at all!
How do I apply sunscreen to my child?
When your child is old enough to start using sunscreen, it’s important you don’t abandon the other sun protection methods you’ve been using. Keep covering them up with protective clothing and then begin applying a thin layer of sunscreen to any exposed skin. Make sure to apply at least 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or immediately after any water activities. And don’t forget: sunscreen should be worn 365 days of the year!
As always, feel free to reach out to our team of Wellness Advisors if you have any questions about choosing the right sunscreen for you and your family.