Sun protection is an important step in skincare because of excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can lead to skin damage, including sunburn, premature ageing, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Using sunscreen or other sun-protective measures can help to prevent these negative effects and protect the skin from damage for adults. Have you wondered what are the best practices for babies when it come to sun protection? Let’s find out when’s the best time to start and how to use sunscreen on babies.
Is sun protection important for babies?
Sun protection is just as important for babies as it is for adults, if not more since babies have sensitive skin that is more susceptible to sunburn and skin damage than adult skin. Babies' skin also doesn't have the same level of protection from melanin, the pigment that helps to protect the skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Is sunscreen safe for babies?
Sunscreen is generally considered safe for babies when used as directed. However, it is important to choose a sunscreen specifically formulated for babies, as their skin is more sensitive than adult skin.
It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to 30 and to choose a sunscreen that is free of potentially harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. Also, it's preferable to use physical sunscreens (containing mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) instead of chemical sunscreens (containing ingredients like avobenzone and homosalate) for babies. It's also important to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside, and to reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. It is also recommended to avoid exposing babies under 6 months of age to direct sunlight, and to dress them in protective clothing and hats to keep them covered.
It is always important to read the label and the instructions before using any sunscreen product on babies. If you have any doubts or concerns, it's always better to consult with a pediatrician.
Why shouldn’t sunscreen be used for babies before a certain age?
Sunscreen should not be used on infants under six months of age because their skin is thinner and more sensitive than that of older children and adults, and they may be more susceptible to skin irritation and allergic reactions from the ingredients in sunscreen. Additionally, infants under six months of age have less developed immune systems and may be more vulnerable to the potentially harmful effects of some of the chemicals found in sunscreens.
Also, a baby's skin doesn't produce as much melanin, the natural pigment that helps protect the skin from UV rays, as an adult's skin does, so it's more susceptible to sunburn. Therefore, it's important to protect babies from the sun in other ways.
At what age can sunscreens be used for babies?
Sunscreens can be used for babies who are older than six months, paediatricians recommend using a small amount of sunscreen with at least 15 to 30 SPF on exposed areas such as the face, hands, and legs. It is also important to choose a sunscreen that is labelled as "broad-spectrum" which means it can protect from both UVA and UVB rays and is gentle for baby's skin. It is also important to remember to apply sunscreen about 15-30 minutes before going out and reapply every 2 hours.
Best practices for sunscreen application for babies
Here are the following best practices for sunscreen application on babies:
- Use a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for babies and has an SPF of at least 15 to 30.
- Look for a sunscreen that is labeled "broad spectrum," which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the baby's skin, including the face, ears, hands, and feet.
- Use enough sunscreen to cover the skin, but be careful not to use too much. A general rule of thumb is to use about 1 ounce (about a shot glass full) to cover the body of an average adult.
- Use a small amount of sunscreen, about the size of a small coin for the face and a regular coin sized amount for the rest of the body.
- Rub the sunscreen in gently, making sure to cover all exposed areas.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more frequently if the baby is sweating or swimming.
- Avoid using products that combine sunscreen with insect repellent, as the combination may be too harsh for a baby's sensitive skin.
- Note that a sunscreen should not be used as a sole measure of protection, it is better to limit sun exposure specially during peak hours 10am-4pm, also dress baby in light, protective clothing and use a hat with a brim to protect the face and eyes.
Which sunscreen is best for babies?
The best sunscreen for babies is one that is specifically formulated for their sensitive skin. Look for sunscreens that are labeled "baby" or "sensitive skin" and have an SPF of at least 15 to 30. These sunscreens will have fewer ingredients and are less likely to cause irritation.
Some ingredients that are commonly used in baby sunscreen include:
- Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide: These are mineral sunscreens that sit on top of the skin to physically block UV rays. They are considered to be safe for babies and are less likely to cause irritation than chemical sunscreens.
- Avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate: These are chemical sunscreens that absorb UV rays. While they can be effective, they are also more likely to cause irritation in babies.
- It's always good to check the ingredient list and look for products that are free of parabens, fragrances, and other potential irritants.
- It's always important to note that no matter which sunscreen you choose, it's important to apply it properly and reapply it often, as well as to limit sun exposure and dress babies in protective clothing.
We recommend that you try SkinQ’s Sun Protect Ultra Light Gel it is a broad spectrum sunscreen gel with SPF 40 and Vitamin C. It is suited for all age groups and has been tested safe for application on babies over the age of 6 months and kids as well. It is an ultra-light formula that can be used daily on babies and kids.
While sun protection is important for both adults and babies, it is always best to consult with your paediatrician to make sure you are using the best sunscreen for your baby. Do a small batch test before you apply sunscreen all over the body and always reapply sunscreen every 2 hours for the best protection for your baby and yourself.