As a parent, our top priority is always to keep our babies happy and healthy, so we are always very wary when it comes to exposing our babies’ skin to the sun and we want to make sure we are choosing the safest sunscreen for them.
We’ve prepared this quick guide to choosing a sunscreen for your baby so you know what to look for.
Why do babies need sunscreen?
Babies have particularly delicate skin so are very vulnerable to sun damage. UV rays from the sun can cause immediately visible effects such as sunburn, as well as skin damage that may appear later in life.
From what age can I use sunscreen on my baby?
You should wait until your baby is around 6 months old to start applying sunscreen. This is because babies under this age have very sensitive skin and are more likely to develop side effects to sunscreen.
Before 6 months, it's best to keep your baby out of direct sunlight and to keep them covered up with plenty of clothing. Once your baby is 6 months old, sunscreen is recommended, but you should do a patch test to ensure the product doesn't irritate your baby's delicate skin.
What should I look for in a sunscreen for my baby?
Many baby products include harsh additives that can harm your child’s skin, so it’s important to know which of these ingredients are in a sunscreen.
Avoid sunscreen containing PABA
Para-aminobenzoic acid (also known as PABA) is a naturally occurring substance that’s often used in sunscreens to block ultraviolet rays. However, PABA can cause allergic dermatitis in those with sensitive skin.
Make sure your sunscreen is protective
Of course, you’ll want to find a sunscreen that protects your little one from the sun’s harmful rays. Before you buy, check the label for these two important things.
First, your baby’s sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 to be effective. If your child will be playing in a pool or on the beach, make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant as well.
Secondly, the sunscreen should be “broad spectrum.” This means that it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays when your baby is out in the sun.
Check whether the sunscreen has been paediatrician approved as safe for use on babies – this will ensure there are no ingredients which could be harmful for babies’ sensitive skin.
Be wary of other ingredients
Avoid sunscreens that contain chemicals such as parabens and oxybenzone. Instead, opt for creams that have natural mineral sun filters like zinc oxide and other natural ingredients and where possible those that are certified organic.
How should I apply sunscreen to my baby?
Apply the sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and don’t forget to reapply every two hours (or more often if your baby is in the water).
Keeping your baby safe from the sun can be a source of worry for many parents. But so long as you keep your baby in the shade, kit them out with suitable clothing, and choose a good sunscreen (after the age of 6 months) your baby should be able to enjoy the sun without damage to their sensitive skin.