Is Your Baby Ready to Wear Sunscreen?
We’ve all come to know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun. Our babies may be small, but the sun will find them just as quickly as it will find the rest of us. Since a baby’s skin is thinner and more delicate, it is important to start using proper UV protection right away.
For the first few months of your baby’s life, that means staying in the shade, using additional sun shades and covering with the right clothing. The reason is that until a baby is six months old, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against using sunscreen and sunblock products. That said, the latest guidelines do say that if enough shade and clothing cannot be provided, small areas of a newborn’s skin can be protected with baby-safe sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF (and usually no more than 30 SPF). The sunscreen should be applied to as small an area as possible.
That said, once your baby is 6 months old and older, the AAP recommends protecting all exposed areas of your baby’s body with baby-safe sunscreen.
The first time you are going to use sunscreen on your baby, it’s a good idea to patch test your product of choice to make sure it will be well tolerated. Even the best quality products may cause a reaction if an allergy or sensitivity happens to be present.
Forty-eight hours before you plan to use the sunscreen, dab a small amount of the formula onto a little patch on your baby’s skin. Keep an eye on it for the next two days, even after it has been washed away, and check for signs of irritation. If your little one develops a rash, talk to your pediatrician about how to go about choosing a formula that won’t cause a reaction.
- Select a sunscreen designed specifically for babies and/or children. Looking for a formula that uses safe ingredients, like our Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen made for baby and the whole family.
- Look for a product that specifically describes itself as a provider of “broad-spectrum” protection. This means it will protect your baby against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose a product that offers an SPF 15 at the very minimum. SPF 30 is even better. At the same time, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advises against using a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50 as the sun protection in those products is frequently of lesser quality than those at an SPF 30. Moreover, those that do provide an SPF 50 or higher increase the chances of skin reactions to the ingredients.
- Avoid sunscreens that combine both sun protection and insect repellants. If you need both products, apply them separately. Make sure to get the thumbs up from your baby’s pediatrician before starting the use of an insect repellant.
Don’t forget that it’s important to continue using sunscreen on your baby year-round. Many people forget that the sun’s rays are just as bright in the winter as they are in the summer. Eighty percent of UV rays penetrate even the thickest clouds and the snow can reflect sunlight and cause unexpected sunburns.