Does my baby need sunscreen? What is SPF? How to choose a sunscreen? Get answers to these and check out our list of the 10 best sunscreens for babies and kids in India.
Summer is finally here – and how!
If you live in India, you know how intense the heat can get. When adults can barely cope with it, one can only imagine what it’s like for babies and kids. The obvious solution to protect them would be to keep them home all day, but we all know that’s not practical!
With exams over and summer vacation starting, it’s natural that kids will want to go out and play, and we can’t stop them. However, we can take some precautions to keep them safe, and one of the most important one is the application of sunscreen.
Do Babies and Kids need Sunscreen?
Indian summers can get quite extreme, going up to 40 degrees Celsius during the months of April and May. Exposure to such intense heat can cause several conditions varying in intensity from dehydration to sun stroke. Children are more vulnerable to these, since their bodies find it harder to regulate its temperature. Sunburns can leave the skin looking red and angry, and in severe cases, it may cause blistering, fever, chills, headache, and a general feeling of illness. This makes sunscreen a must have during summer, but the requirements are different for infants under 6 months as well as babies over 6 months and kids.
For Babies under 6 Months:
Up until a few years ago, sunscreen was not recommended for babies under 6 months and parents were advised to cover the infant to keep away the sun. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recent recommendation which mentions that when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on small areas, such as the infant’s face and the back of the hands.
For Babies over 6 Months:
Babies over 6 months can use sunscreen more liberally, and it can be applied over all exposed parts of the body. For babies over 6 months, it’s better to be safe than sorry – so it’s better to apply a little more than you think is needed.
Whatever age your child is, it makes sense to follow these tips to keep them safe this summer, especially for babies under 6 months who don’t have the protection of sunscreen.
Tips to Protect Babies and Kids from Sunburn
- Cover as much skin as possible with loose clothing that has a tight-weave (non-transparent)
- Go for natural fabrics like cotton, which is both cooling and protective
- Try to find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck
- If your child will wear them, choose sunglasses that provide 99% or more protection against UV A and UV B ray
- Stay inside during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as much as possible.
- Stay in a shaded area whenever you can
- Never drape a blanket over the top of the stroller, since it poses the risk of suffocation and overheating. Instead, use the stroller’s shade to shield your baby, or use a special parasol fixed onto the side.
- If your child gets sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, contact your pediatrician.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater to all exposed areas of the body
- Always do a patch test on the child’s back or inside elbow before applying a new product and check for any rash or allergic reaction
- When applying, be careful around the eyes, avoiding eyelids
- Be sure to apply enough sunscreen
- Apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, and after swimming or sweating
- Do not combine insect repellent cream with the sunscreen
- Check the expiry date before buying any cream
- Read the label for the following ingredients in sunscreens
To make things easier for you, we’ve done most of the work ourselves and have drawn up a list of the 10 best sunscreens for babies and kids in India, recommended by the EWG.
10 Best Sunscreens for Babies and Kids in India
Active Ingredients: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide – 24.7%
Inactive Ingredients: Grape Seed Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (from Coconut Oil), Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Stearic Acid (from Palm Oil), Purified Water
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide – 21.6 % (Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glycerin, Ethyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Silica, Phenethyl Alcohol, Colloidal Oatmeal, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Behenate, Sodium Chloride, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Cetyl Dimethicone/Bis-Vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Chrysanthemum Parthenium Flower/Leaf/Stem Juice, Phenoxyethanol
Active Ingredients: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide* (25%)
Inactive Ingredients: Artesian Water,, Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Butter*, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax NF, Vitamin E (from non-GMO sunflower seeds) *Certified Organic
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (6.0%), Titanium Dioxide (6.0%)
Inactive Ingredients: Acrylates Copolymer, Agaricus Bisponus (Mushroom) Beta-Glucan, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Water, Xanthan Gum
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide- 3.2%, Zinc Oxide- 1.7%
Inactive Ingredients: Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil*, Alcohol, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil*, Algae Extract*, Allyl Heptanoate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dodecane, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract*, Gamma Decalactone, Gamma Octalactone, Gamma- Nonalactone, Glycerin*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Heliotropine, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyamide-5, Polysilicone-11, Propylene Carbonate, Raspberry Ketone, Silica, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Triethyl Citrate, Vanillin *Certified Organic Ingredients
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.4%, Zinc Oxide 6.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, caprylic/capric triglyceride (coconut oil), caprylhydroxamic acid, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil*, glycerin, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl stearate citrate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, polyhydroxystearic acid, sorbitan oleate, stearic acid, tocopherol (vitamin E), xanthan gum *Certified Organic
Active Ingredient: 25% non-nano, uncoated Zinc Oxide
Ingredient: Spring Water, Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Vegetable Vitamin E (from non-GMO sunflower seeds), Vitamin D3
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (non-nano) 18.9%
Inactive Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Stearyl Alcohol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-3 Ricinoleate, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Helionori, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Plantago Lanceolata (Plantain) Leaf Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Ethylhexylglycerin
(The sunscreens featured below are not recommended by EWG, but we’ve included them since they’re more affordable than the others and they’re the safest we found in the Indian market.)
Active Ingredients: Aqua, Octocrylene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Titanium Dioxide (Nano), Glyceryl Oleate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Sulfate, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone, Cera alba, Inulin, Lecithin, Bisabolol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Silica, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Parfum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water,Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Wheatgerm Oil, Calendula Extracts, Aloevera Extract, Vitamin E, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate & Lavender Essential Oil
Disclaimer: Sunscreen manufacturers frequently reformulate their ingredients and packaging. We have sourced this information from the EWG website and websites of major retailers selling these products. When purchasing a sunscreen, you should check the ingredients yourself to make sure they match those for the product listed in the database.
Best Sunscreen for Babies with Eczema
Eczema is a common skin condition among babies, and such babies are often prone to more sensitivity to the summer sun. Here are the best sunscreen recommendations for babies with eczema or sensitive skin.
The CeraVe sunscreen is, hands down, the best sunscreen for babies with eczema, even endorsed by the National Eczema Association (NEA). It is one of the very few sunscreens that ticks all the right boxes – hypoallergenic, chemical-free and fragrance-free.
This sunscreen is biodegradable and made with natural ingredients. The only downside to it is that it includes fragrance, although it is from natural sources.
Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies
Many people choose essential oils and butters to provide sun protection, although their effectiveness is yet to be proven. Even those that do have sun protection have an SPF which is too low for adequate cover. However, they can be used when no other option is available or when recovering from any particular skin condition. They can also be used along with regular sunscreens for extra antioxidant protection.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil – SPF 3
Coconut Oil – SPF 4-6
Shea Butter – SPF 4-6
Jojoba Oil – SPF 4
Lavender Essential Oil – SPF 6
Olive Oil – SPF 2-8
Almond Oil – SPF 5
Avocado Oil -SPF 4-15
Red Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF 25-50
Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 35-40
Always do a patch test when trying out any new product for your baby, and wait for at least 24 hours before reapplying. If your baby is already prone to allergies or has sensitive skin, consult your pediatrician before choosing a sunscreen. With the right sunscreen, enough fluids and proper care, you can have an enjoyable summer with your little one.
- National association of Eczema