Heading to the beach, lake, or pool with your little one? As a parent, these sunny experiences and adventures are just a few of the amazing memories you’ll create together. However, the sun’s rays can cause some serious damage to your baby’s delicate skin if not protected with an SPF.
If you’re new to the topic of baby sunscreen, you may be surprised to learn that not all sunscreen is safe for babies. Their sensitive skin is more likely to experience irritation than ours, especially when exposed to harsh chemicals. Not to worry — we’re going over everything you need to know about sun protection for babies!
What age can you start using sunscreen on your baby?
Although you may want to take your baby out in the sun to have some fun, you shouldn’t apply sunscreen on a baby before they turn 6 months old. One of the reasons for this is their highly sensitive skin. Since sunscreen contains chemicals that help block UV rays, delicate baby skin can experience irritation and reactions to the ingredients.
Another reason why sunscreen shouldn’t be used on babies less than 6 months old is because their skin barrier isn’t as strong. A weak skin barrier has a difficult time keeping chemicals out, while slightly older babies, children, and adults can handle those harsher ingredients.
Putting sunscreen on a young baby or newborn could also interfere with their skin microbiome development. When the skin microbiome doesn’t have the chance to develop in a healthy, natural way, it can lead to long-term health complications, weakened immune responses, and allergies.
What kind of sunscreen should you use on a baby?
Now that your baby has turned at least 6 months old, you may be wondering which sunscreen works best for their skin. At this age, their skin will still be delicate and sensitive. As such, parents should keep these tips in mind to choose the best sunscreen for their little one:
- Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or up. The more SPF, the better protected they’ll be!
- Certain sunscreens can irritate your little one’s eyes and skin, even after they’ve turned 6 months or older. To prevent this, find a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
- Read reviews thoroughly before settling on a sunscreen for your baby. Even sunscreens that are marketed towards babies can cause irritation. Lastly, be sure to take a look at the ingredient list to check for unnecessary, harsh chemicals in the formula.
How to apply sunscreen on a baby
Ready to have fun in the sun? When you’re applying sunscreen on a baby, don’t be afraid to lay it on thick. Apply plenty of the sun cream on their skin, using thick layers for maximum protection. Cover every inch of their exposed skin for maximum protection. Be sure to reapply every two hours or after they’ve been in the ocean, lake, or pool since water can wash away the sunscreen on their skin.
Even when you’re using SPF, it’s best to take further measures to prevent your baby from getting too much sun. For example, you may want to dress them in a hat, sun shirt, and other protective clothing. If you’re going to the beach, bring an umbrella and let them sit in the shade.
Remember, sun protection isn’t only important when you’re hitting the beach. Babies can get burned after spending time outside in the winter months, too! No matter what time of year it is, be sure to take steps to protect their skin when venturing outside.
What should you do if your baby is too young for sunscreen?
If your little one has yet to celebrate their 6 month birthday, use protective clothing and an umbrella to shield them from rays. Another idea is to keep a towel in your diaper bag to drape over them when needed. You’ll also want to limit their time outside in the sun as much as possible.