Do babies and kids need sunscreen? Are sunscreens safe for babies and kids?
How can I choose the perfect sunscreen for my baby? Which are the best sunscreen brands for babies and kids available in India?
Read through this post to know about sunscreen for babies and find out how to protect your baby from sunburns.
Sun is always there. Sunrays too. So are the harmful ultraviolet rays.
Worried about how to protect your baby’s sensitive skin from ultraviolet rays and sunburns? Read on.
What is a sunburn?
Sunburns are caused as a result of overexposing the skin to sun’s ultraviolet radiations.
The two types of ultra violet radiations, UVA and UVB, are the ones responsible for causing sunburns and tanning.
Sun burns causes reddening and inflammation of the skin. In extreme cases sunburns can result in development of a blister in your skin or can cause peeling of the skin.
Why is it important to protect babies and kids from sunburns?
Sunburns are always mistaken as temporary skin problems. But the actual fact is that these temporary irritations or reddening caused due to sunburns can actually lead to long-lasting skin damages.
Sunburns in babies and kids can increase the chance of developing skin cancer later in life.
Researches say that if a person has more than five sunburns at any age then his chance of getting melanoma (a serious skin cancer) doubles.
So it is always good to protect your kids from the harmful ultra violet rays that can cause skin damage, premature skin aging and skin cancer.
How to protect babies and kids from sunburns?
To protect your young ones from sunburns it is always advised to avoid outdoor activities between 10 am and 4 pm, as this is the time when sun rays are most intense.
Babies below 6 months of age should never be exposed to strong sun rays.
Always dress baby properly to avoid sun rays from hitting the body directly. Use hats, umbrella, sunglasses, scarfs etc. to protect your baby and yourself from direct sun rays.
And most importantly use sunscreens when going outdoors.
What is a sunscreen or sun block?
A sunscreen or sunblock is a chemical composition in the form of cream/lotion or gel and is applied on to the skin to protect the skin cells from harmful UVA and UVB radiations.
Sunscreens are available in the form of lotions, creams, sprays and disposable wipes.
Why is it important to apply sunscreens while outdoors?
Sunburns are mainly caused by exposure to UVB rays. Wrinkling, sagging and photo aging (aging caused by sun rays) are a result of prolonged exposure to UVA rays that can penetrate into the skin more deeply.
As said earlier, sunburns can be a reason for skin cancer. So it is really important to avoid getting sunburned especially during childhood days as it can double the risk of getting melanoma.
To keep our skin healthy and young, it is important to protect our skin from UVA and UVB rays. Since young children have very sensitive skin they should be given special sun protection.
Sunscreens are an effective way to reduce the effect of UVA and UVB rays on your baby’s skin. Using a sunscreen with SPF higher than 15 can be a way to protect your baby from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Now you might be wondering what SPF is, isn’t?
What is SPF in sunscreens?
SPF is the Sun Protection Factor. SPF is an indication of how long and effectively the sunscreen can prevent UVB rays from damaging our skin.
For example – If without sunscreens it takes 10 minutes for you to redden due to UVB rays, then applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 can delay this reddening by a factor of 15 times longer, that is 10 * 15 = 150 minutes. So by applying sunscreen with SPF 15 you can be under the sun without getting sunburned for approximately 150 minutes.
A SPF 15 sunscreen can block 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 can block 97% and SPF 50 can block 98% of UVB rays from reaching our skin.
Most of the dermatologist recommends using a sunscreen with SPF 15 or 30.
Note that SPF is not associated with UVA rays and so does not give an idea about protection against UVA rays.
PA (Protection Grade of UVA) rating is used to indicate the level of protection from UVA rays.
What all to look for while buying sunscreen for babies and kids?
So all set to buy sunscreen for your baby? Wait!
Here are the things to be taken care of while buying sunscreen lotions for babies and kids.
- While buying sunscreen for your baby it would be best to buy ones with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. The skin does not absorb these chemicals. When applied on skin they act as a wall between the skin and the sun rays and block the UV rays. So such sunscreens are considered safer to use on kid’s sensitive skin.
- Buy sunscreens that have an SPF of 15 or higher.
- Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens so that you get protection from both UVB and UVA rays.
- If spending time in water, beach or swimming pool, a water resistant sunscreen can be chosen.
- Avoid products that act as both sunscreen and insect repellent.
How to apply sunscreen on your baby?
Please don’t use sunscreen on babies less than 6 months of age. For babies more than 6 months of age you can use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
Always do a patch test first to ensure that your baby is not allergic to the sunscreen brand you have bought.
If not allergic, apply generously all over the body to form a thick coating. Apply specially to face, hands and legs as they are more exposed to sun rays.
Reapply the sunscreen after every two hours if your baby is outdoors for more than 2 hours. Reapply often if your baby is playing in water or any other medium that can wash off the sunscreen, even sweat.
Best brands of sunscreen for babies and kids:
Here are some of the best sunscreen brands for babies and kids available in India.
#1. Banana Boat Kids Broad Spectrum Sunblock – SPF 30 PA+
This sunblock provides broad-spectrum protection and costs Rs.1099 for 236ml tube.
#2. Coppertone Kids Spf 50 Pure Simple Sunscreen Lotion
Coppertone kids is a tear free, water-resistant broad-spectrum lotion which has an SPF of 50.
#3. Neutrogena Wet Skin beach and pool sunscreen Kids Spray – SPF 70+
Neutrogena is known for its sunscreen range for both kids and adults. This wet skin beach and pool sunscreen is water resistant and provides broad spectrum sun protection.
It has 2 sunscreen sprays of 5 ounce each and a sunscreen stick.
#4. California baby SPF 30 sunscreen
California baby sunscreen is fragrance free and has an SPF of 30. It is water resistant making it apt for beach or intense sunny exposure for your baby or kids.
#5. Babysafe sunscreen towelettes
Babysafe sunscreen towelettes provide broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Its hypoallergenic and water resistant too.
If you are looking for disposable non messy sunscreen solution, then babysafe sunscreen towelettes are a must.
Imported from US, Babyganics is fragrance free with an SPF of 50+. It is water resistant and provides protection against sunburn.
#7. Aveeno baby natural sunscreen lotion
Aveeno sunscreen offers an SPF of 50 and is made from 100% natural ingredients. It is fragrance free and water resistant.
#8. Badger baby
Badger Baby is again water resistant and made from USDA certified organic ingredients. It has mild fragrances of calendula and chamomile. A face stick is also available which makes the whole process of reapplication easier.
Let your kids play safe under the sun – Use a sunscreen 🙂
Hope this article on sunscreen for babies and kids was informative.
Do you use sunscreen for your child? How do you protect your tiny tot from harsh sunlight? Do share with me in comments.
You can also read the earlier post on whether Vitamin D is adequate for your little one.
Do share this article with your loved ones. Remember sharing is caring 🙂
Image credit: Erin Stevenson O’Connor