Looking for the best sunscreen for your baby? Check out our complete guide on different kinds of sunscreens and how to choose the Best Sunscreen For Kids.
[UPDATE] This post was updated on 31 March 2019.
Children’s skin is more susceptible to sunburn than adults and using sunscreen is an absolute necessity for them. Especially when you consider how hot Indian summers can get, with temperatures going up to 40 degrees Celsius. Exposure to such extreme heat can cause sunburn, which makes the skin red and angry, or even causing fever and headache in severe cases. Applying a sunscreen with adequate SPF helps combat this to a great extent, preventing the skin from turning red and angry, and even avoiding potential fever and headache in severe cases. When considering how to choose sunscreen SPF, prioritize products that provide broad-spectrum protection, specifically designed for the needs of children. Choosing sunscreen SPF for kids requires selecting broad-spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays. Understand how to choose sunscreen SPF for children, ensuring their safety outdoors. Prioritize their protection, preventing sunburn and discomfort. Find the best sunscreen for your child’s delicate skin and prioritize sun protection.
Can I use sunscreen for my Baby?
Sunscreen plays a crucial role in protecting our skin, especially during the summer months when sun exposure is at its peak. However, it’s important to understand the process of selecting the right sunscreen SPF based on age and specific needs, particularly for infants under 6 months, babies over 6 months, and kids.
For infants under 6 months, adhering to the guidelines is crucial. Although it was previously recommended to keep them away from direct sunlight and rely on protective clothing and shade, understanding how to choose sunscreen SPF becomes important. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests applying a minimal amount of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on small areas, such as the face and back of the hands, when adequate clothing and shade are not available. Opting for sunscreens specifically formulated for infants and babies, containing gentle and non-irritating ingredients, ensures their safety outdoors.
Once babies reach 6 months and older, sunscreen can be used more generously and applied to all exposed parts of the body. It’s better to err on the side of caution and apply a slightly larger amount of sunscreen than you may think is necessary to ensure sufficient protection. Understanding how to choose sunscreen SPF for kids becomes crucial in order to prevent sunburn and discomfort. When selecting sunscreen for children, prioritize broad-spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA rays. This helps avoid potential fever and headaches in severe cases.
One common concern is the potential impact of sunscreen on Vitamin D levels. The majority of our Vitamin D, around 90-95%, is produced in the skin through exposure to sunlight, while only a small amount comes from dietary sources. However, when considering how to choose sunscreen SPF, it’s important to remember that maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels requires a balanced approach. Alongside sun exposure, fortified foods and Vitamin D supplements can contribute to meeting your Vitamin D needs. Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide valuable insights and guidance on choosing a sunscreen that offers adequate protection while considering the potential impact on Vitamin D levels.
In summary, understanding how to choose sunscreen SPF is crucial for different age groups. For infants under 6 months, minimal sunscreen on small areas is recommended when necessary. For babies over 6 months and kids, sunscreen should be applied generously. Prioritize sunscreens formulated for infants and babies, providing broad-spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays to ensure effective sun protection. While sunscreen may have some impact on Vitamin D levels, maintaining adequate levels can be achieved through a balanced approach including sun exposure during specific times, fortified foods, and supplements. By considering these factors and adopting a holistic approach, you can ensure sun safety and promote optimal health and well-being for yourself and your family.
What is SPF?
SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor and is a term that’s tossed around a lot when it comes to sunscreens. It can take anything between 5-30 minutes of sun exposure to get sunburnt without sunscreen. In extreme heat, we are exposed to both UV A and UV B rays, and SPF is a measure of how much protection the sunscreen offers against UV B rays.
More specifically, SPF tells us how long it’ll take for UV B rays to penetrate through the sunscreen and cause sunburn, compared to if there is no sunscreen. This means that if it takes 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to get sunburn, a sunscreen of SPF 30 will extend this time to 30 times more, i.e. 300 minutes or 5 hours.
SPF ranges from 1-90, dividing sunscreens into four levels:
- SPF 4, 6, 8, 10 – Low
- SPF 15, 20, 25 – Medium (Blocks 93% UV B rays)
- SPF 30, 40, 50 – High (Blocks 97% UV B rays)
- SPF 50+ – Very High (Blocks 98% UV B rays)
An SPF of 15-50 is ideal, offering significant protection against UVB rays. However, sunscreens with an SPF over 50 provide only slightly better protection and may be less effective. To ensure proper sun protection and learn how to choose sunscreen SPF, it’s crucial to apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin and reapply it every two hours or more frequently when sweating or swimming. Seeking shade during peak sunlight hours and wearing protective clothing like hats and sunglasses are also important practices. By following these measures, you can safeguard your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and enjoy outdoor activities safely.
In addition to the SPF rating, it’s important to consider other factors when choosing a sunscreen. One such factor is the formulation of the sunscreen, which can vary from lotions and creams to gels and sprays. Each formulation has its own advantages and may suit different preferences and skin types.
Lotions and creams are popular choices as they provide better coverage and are suitable for dry skin. They offer moisturizing benefits and can help keep the skin hydrated. These formulations are often rich and creamy, making them easier to apply and ensuring a smooth and even distribution of the product. For individuals with dry or sensitive skin, lotions and creams can provide a comforting and soothing experience while offering sun protection.
On the other hand, gels have a lighter texture and are ideal for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin. Gels are lightweight and non-greasy, which can be beneficial for those who prefer a mattifying effect or are concerned about clogged pores. They absorb quickly into the skin, leaving a weightless and refreshing feel. Additionally, gels can be an excellent option for individuals living in humid climates or engaging in outdoor activities that may cause excessive sweating.
Sprays are another formulation that offers convenience and ease of application. They come in aerosol or pump bottles and allow for quick and even distribution of the sunscreen. Sprays are particularly useful for covering large areas of the body or applying sunscreen to hard-to-reach areas, such as the back. However, it’s important to note that sprays should be applied generously and rubbed into the skin to ensure proper coverage. Additionally, it’s recommended to avoid inhaling the spray and to apply it in a well-ventilated area.
Moreover, when selecting a sunscreen, it’s essential to read the label and check for additional features such as water resistance. If you’ll be spending time in the water or engaging in activities that cause sweating, opting for a water-resistant sunscreen is crucial. Water-resistant formulations can provide some degree of protection even when exposed to moisture, but it’s important to remember that they still need to be reapplied as directed to maintain their effectiveness.
By considering the formulation and additional features of a sunscreen, including water resistance, you can make an informed decision on how to choose sunscreen SPF that best suits your specific needs and preferences.
Myths about Sunscreens
1. A smaller quantity of a higher SPF product is enough.
Most people tend to use only half or a quarter of the required amount of sunscreen. To ensure adequate protection, it’s better to go for a little extra sunscreen. An ounce of sunscreen is recommended for the average adult, regardless of SPF
2. Applying sunscreen in the morning offers day long protection when considering how to choose sunscreen SPF.
Whatever the SPF of your sunscreen is, the fact is that it loses its effectiveness after two hours. This is why experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours or sooner if swimming or sweating a lot.
3. Sunscreen offers complete protection from sunburn.
While sunscreen certainly offers a degree of protection, it is by no means complete. In fact, other measures like staying in the shade and covering exposed skin may be more important in protecting the skin from sunburn.
4. A higher SPF means more time in the sun.
While higher SPF sunscreens do offer more protection, it does not enable a person to spend more time in the sun. In any case, it is best to minimize sun exposure, especially between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
When considering how to choose sunscreen SPF, it’s important to remember that sunscreen is just one part of a comprehensive sun protection strategy. Along with applying sunscreen, it’s recommended to seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use accessories like hats and sunglasses to minimize sun exposure. These additional measures, combined with selecting a sunscreen with an appropriate SPF, play a crucial role in reducing the risk of sunburn and protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. By adopting a holistic approach and understanding how to choose sunscreen SPF, you can ensure that your sun protection routine is effective and provides the necessary defense for your skin. Remember to prioritize broad-spectrum protection and follow the application and reapplication guidelines for optimal results.
Types of Sunscreens
Physical sunscreens, also known as barrier creams, sunblocks, or mineral sunscreens, offer unique advantages when it comes to sun protection. These sunscreens create a physical barrier on the surface of the skin, reflecting and scattering the sun’s rays. They contain minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, which provide broad-spectrum protection without penetrating the skin or bloodstream. When considering how to choose sunscreen SPF, it’s important to understand the benefits of physical sunscreens.
One of the advantages of physical sunscreens is their longer-lasting protection. Due to their formulation and ability to sit on top of the skin, they can provide extended coverage compared to chemical sunscreens. This makes them particularly suitable for individuals with sensitive skin, babies, and young children who require gentle and non-irritating sun protection. However, it’s worth noting that physical sunscreens can be thicker in texture, so it’s important to apply them carefully and evenly to ensure comprehensive coverage for every exposed area.
When considering how to choose sunscreen SPF, considering physical sunscreens and their characteristics is essential. By understanding the benefits they offer and how to choose sunscreen SPF that includes physical options, you can make an informed decision to protect your skin effectively. Remember to look for products specifically formulated for the needs of your skin type and consider factors such as water resistance and broad-spectrum protection. By prioritizing sun safety and selecting the right sunscreen, you can enjoy the outdoors with confidence while keeping your skin shielded from harmful UV rays.
Chemical sunscreens or non-mineral sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. On encountering the sun’s rays, the compounds in the sunscreen convert it to heat and release it from the skin. Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
Due to their being absorbed into the skin, chemical sunscreens are not advised for infants. Besides, they can clog pores and irritate sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens lose their effectiveness faster and need more frequent reapplication. Consider these factors when choosing between physical and chemical sunscreens and deciding on the appropriate sunscreen SPF and how to choose sunscreen SPF.
In recent years, there has been growing concern about the potential impact of chemical sunscreens on the environment. Studies have shown that certain chemical sunscreen ingredients can have adverse effects on ecosystems, including coral reefs and aquatic life. These ingredients may contribute to coral bleaching, disrupt marine ecosystems, and harm aquatic organisms. As a result, many individuals are now opting for eco-friendly or reef-safe sunscreens that use alternative ingredients and formulations that are less harmful to the environment. By considering the environmental implications of our sunscreen choices and understanding how to choose sunscreen SPF, we can make more sustainable decisions that protect our skin and the planet.
How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Kids ?
When it comes to protecting your child’s delicate skin from the sun, choosing the right sunscreen SPF is crucial. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, indicates the level of protection the sunscreen offers. It’s important to select a sunscreen with the appropriate SPF to ensure adequate protection. SPF 15 is ideal for babies and young kids, as it can block about 93% of UVB rays. For enhanced protection, you can opt for higher SPFs like 30 or 50, which block 97% and 98% of UVB rays, respectively. Keep in mind that sunscreens with SPF over 50 offer only slightly better protection while providing unbalanced protection against UVB and UVA rays. Therefore, it’s best to choose a sunscreen with a balanced and appropriate SPF for your child’s needs.
In addition to SPF, opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen. These sunscreens protect the skin from both UVB and UVA rays, offering all-around protection. Avoid using sunscreen sprays or aerosols, as they may pose inhalation risks and do not provide a thick and even coating. Instead, choose mineral sunscreens, also known as barrier sunscreens, which contain ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide. These ingredients sit on top of the skin and do not penetrate it, making them safe for babies and young children. If you prefer a non-mineral or chemical sunscreen, look for one with Avobenzone as the active ingredient, as it reduces UVB and UVA damage that can lead to skin cancer.
When selecting a sunscreen, carefully read the ingredient list. Avoid sunscreens containing Oxybenzone or Retinyl palmitate, as well as those with fragrance listed at the bottom of the ingredient list. It’s also advisable to skip sunscreens that include insect repellents, as they can decrease the effectiveness of the SPF. Instead, apply a separate insect repellent or use repellents that can be applied to clothing rather than directly on the skin. By following these tips on how to choose sunscreen SPF, you can effectively protect your child’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
With numerous sunscreen brands available in the market, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. Remember to carefully read the labels and make an informed decision based on your child’s needs and skin sensitivity. Prioritize their sun protection and ensure they enjoy outdoor activities with the necessary safeguards in place. Check out our post on the best sunscreens for babies and kids to help you choose the right one for your child.
is moisturizer with sunscreen good for kids? I got Olay brand.does that help?
Dr Hemapriya says
I am not usre about Olay, but yes moisturizer with sunscreen can be used
Kindly name the lotion for my 7 year kid and 1year kid
Are there sunscreens available only for kids? or do i apply my sunscreen lotion to my 2 yr old
Dr Hemapriya says
Hi Manjiri, Yes there are sunscreens available for children like Banana Boat, Mothercare
Thanks fo sharing..
Dr Hemapriya says