Oh Baby! Get the Scoop on Sun Care for Baby and Kids - Well.ca Blog
SPF alone is not the best way to protect against sun damage for your child. The next time your little one goes out in the sun, take these precautions to protect their delicate skin!
baby, kids, sun care, sun, sunscreen, sunblock, spf, uva, uvb, dermatology, uv protection, sunglasses, mineral sunscreen, natural sunscreen, thinkbaby
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Thinkbaby sunscreen and swim trunks

Oh Baby! Get the Scoop on Sun Care for Baby and Kids

Oh Baby is a monthly series where an expert shares the scoop on all you need to know for the littlest members in your family Check out our first installment on baby skin care and second installment on breastfeeding must-haves!

Seanna Cohen | Skin Care Therapist | Elodie Beauty

It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that a baby’s skin is different than an adult’s. Aside from being silky and smooth, studies show that an infant’s skin contains less melanin, which is one of the body’s natural ways to protect itself from the sun. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to increase a person’s chance of melanoma later in life.

Like many parents, I find myself constantly slathering my son with sunscreen every time he’s outside, yet SPF alone is not the best way to protect against damage. The next time your little one goes out in the sun (regardless of the season), take these precautions to protect their delicate skin!

Stay in the shade

The best line of defense against ultraviolet light is to stay out of the sun completely —but that’s not fun for anyone, especially for those of us who endure long winters. The next best thing you can do to protect your children is to keep them in the shade, preferably using a UV tent or UV protected stroller.

Also note, UVA rays can penetrate windows, so it’s a good idea to use a sun shield on your car windows while on the road.

Baby sun hat, sunglasses, and toys

Baby sun hats and sunglasses to protect your child from the sun

 

Cover up

Covering up with hats and long-sleeved clothing is a great way to protect skin from the sun, but UV rays can still penetrate typical cotton or synthetic fibers. As a solution, dress your little one in sun-safe protective clothing, like a UPF 50+ sunhat and UV-Tee – especially while in the water where sunscreen can wear off.

Sunglasses are also a good idea to protect children’s eyes. Unfortunately, not all little ones like to keep sunglasses on (mine included), in which case it’s important to put them in a wide-brimmed hat that will shades their eyes.

You may have seen an “UPF” indication on sun protective clothing (vs. the usual SPF on sunscreen). UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and is a sun safety standard that measures how well a piece of clothing shields against the sun. UPF ratings indicate how much UV radiation can penetrate fabric and reach the skin. In order to get the most benefit of sun protective clothing, choose articles with a high UPF – for context, a UPF 50 is a good rating as it allows only 1/50th of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the fabric’s fibers.

Baby UV tee, swim trunks, and sunglasses

Baby sun protective clothing is a great options for the beach

 

Always apply sunscreen

Sunscreen is not recommended for children under the age of 6 months old, so use the tips outlined above for small infants. For children 6+ months, apply a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 on the entire body.

What to look for:

  • Mineral-based: When looking for the right sunscreen, I recommend choosing one that’s mineral-based, which can be less irritating for delicate skin than a product containing chemicals filters like avobenzone and oxybenzone. Perform a spot test before trying any new product to first see if your child’s skin reacts.
  • Natural: It’s also a good idea to choose formulas containing natural plant-based ingredients that will be gentle and nourishing on your child’s skin. It’s common to see reactions from fragrance and additives, in addition to active ingredients. Try ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen, or for little ones with very sensitive skin, try using Matter Company’s Substance Unscented Natural Sun Cream.

 

How to apply:

Adults normally use 1-2 ounces (or a shot glass worth) of sunscreen to cover their body. Obviously, this is too much for infants but err on the side of caution by applying a generous amount to cover all areas.

Don’t forget to reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or excessive sweating. There’s no such thing as ‘waterproof’ sunscreen. Formulas must adhere to label regulations by using ‘water resistant’ and outline the estimated time of effectiveness, either 40 or 80 minutes. This means that the sunscreen will protect reasonably well for the duration of that period but it’s not 100% fail-safe. For quick and easy touch-ups, try the Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Stick.

Lastly, before you use that old sunscreen, make sure it’s not expired which can compromise the product’s protection factor.

Thinkbaby sunscreen

ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen for baby and kids

 

Baby vs. adult-branded sunscreen

By the way, you might be wondering if there’s a difference between baby and adult sunscreens. Traditionally, baby and kid’s sunscreen formulas often contained less chemical filters than adult sunscreen, and used minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead. But now that mineral sunscreens are more popular for all ages, the main difference is the look and feel of the product:

  • Baby sunscreens often contain emollient ingredients to soothe delicate skin but can make them feel greasier. They also often contain larger mineral particles that make them look chalkier.
  • Adult formulas, on the other hand, are often developed with “nano-particles” to look less chalky, absorb more readily, and sit well under makeup.

The next time you’re out in the sun with your little one, stick with these guidelines and you’re sure to stay well protected from the sun’s rays!

Seanna Cohen | Skin Care Therapist | Elodie Beauty
Seanna is a certified skin care therapist and the founder of Elodie Beauty, an online resource offering DIY recipes, beauty tips, and reviews. She empowers others to establish a more natural beauty routine through personal skin care coaching sessions, holistic facials, blog, and workshops. Follow Seanna’s journey and get inspired to live a clean, green, beautiful life at http://www.elodiebeauty.com/
Facebook – @elodiebeautynaturally | Instagram – @elodiebeauty
10 Comments
  • Jessica Nesbitt
    Posted at 09:44h, 08 June Reply

    This is a great post! So much helpful and important information!

  • Deanna Petrie
    Posted at 10:03h, 08 June Reply

    Great tips!!

  • Genevieve Camire
    Posted at 11:32h, 08 June Reply

    Thanks for the info! Very useful!

  • Aleksandra Koler
    Posted at 11:44h, 08 June Reply

    Good to know. Thanks.

  • Treen Goodwin
    Posted at 11:55h, 08 June Reply

    Thanks for sharing , these are great tips !!!

  • Brenda huynh
    Posted at 12:51h, 08 June Reply

    Thank you for the post . Very Useful!!

  • Danielle jones
    Posted at 13:25h, 08 June Reply

    Awesome info thank you

  • Janelle
    Posted at 10:26h, 09 June Reply

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Jamie Pe
    Posted at 15:14h, 09 June Reply

    Ready for the sun! Great tips!

  • Nicole Erickson
    Posted at 08:20h, 13 June Reply

    Great tips!!

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