Babies are oh, so precious. For many parents, showing off their babies is their pride. They usually want everyone to tell them how cute their babies are, and that is understandable. But taking them out for everyone to see, or even for the smallest dose of vitamin D, would mean taking them into the sun. And this could be harmful to their fragile skin. You could cover them up good and proper but it may not be enough. You may still need some sunscreen. So what is the best sunscreen for babies, seeing how delicate they are?
This is the question we are here to answer. But before we go into that, let us be sure that using sunscreen is the first option available for us. And at what age is it appropriate to use sunscreen on babies?
What Sunscreen Is Safe for Babies Under Six Months
The surest way to prevent the delicate skin of babies from harmful sun rays is to keep them away from the sun. We are not just talking about babies under 6 months old; we are talking about all babies.
In fact, the same is a recommendation you should consider even as an adult. Given, the first rays of sunlight are beneficial; they give vitamin D and everyone, including babies, needs it. But when the morning starts wearing on, it is time to get out from under the sun.
If you and your baby absolutely have to go out under the sun, and your baby is not up to 6 months, cover yourselves with protective articles of clothing. Even with the clothes, hat and sunshades for your baby, you should also consider using a stroller with a shade.
When the sun is at its most intense, it is best to not go out with your baby under it at all. This is because your baby’s skin is super delicate and this sensitive skin cannot handle the sun as well as yours can. It also cannot handle baby sunscreen, no matter how mild it is. Even though some experts say it is alright to apply a little on them, it may be wiser not to go that route at all.
How Do You Choose the Best Sunscreen for Babies
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you are going for a baby sunscreen. Chief among them should be the age of your baby. If you must use sunscreen on your baby, be sure they are old enough to have their sensitive skin undergo such.
According to experts, it is best to wait till your baby is 6 months before you can apply any baby sunscreen on their skin. So if your baby is that age or more, and you have to take them out under the sun, make sure to use sunscreen. There are different types you could opt for but many parents tend to veer towards mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens are usually mild and gentle on sensitive skin and contain no chemical filters. This makes them suitable for babies and adults with sensitive skin or skin conditions.
Choose the baby sunscreen, not based on brand name or popularity, but based on important factors like SPF and broad-spectrum protection. Below are some of them for you to consider…
Sun Protection Factor
The value of the sun protection factor (SPF) of the baby sunscreen you choose should not be less than 15. SPF 15 is good enough to keep your baby’s skin from sun damage. You can go as high as SPF 30; in fact, it is ideal to do that. If it is higher than SPF 30, say from SPF 50 and above, the returns will still be good but not necessarily much better than that which an SPF 30 offers.
Broad Spectrum Protection
Look at it this way: you go to the beach on a summer day with every other thing you will need except sunglasses and a towel. You will probably still have a good time but maybe not as good as if you had taken EVERYTHING you do need.
Using sunscreen that offers protection from just UVB rays alone or UVA rays alone serves no full purpose. What your baby needs is one that gives full protection from every harmful ray.
Always keep in mind that your baby has sensitive skin. UV rays will have much more negative effects on it than they would on you. So while you are looking for the best sunscreen for babies, remember this.
You know the best part of this, though? You can use the same sunscreen as your baby. This is especially true if you have really sensitive skin. It will offer the same soothing effect and level of protection as it would to your baby. Jackpot!
Consider the Ingredients
This is probably one of the most important factors to keep in mind. The ingredients that the sunscreen for your baby contains will either make or mar their sunscreen experience. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two of the very important ones to have in it. Oxybenzone and preservatives like dye and phthalate are a no-no.
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide cause both UVB and UVA rays to be reflected away from the skin, instead of absorbing them. Without them, no sunscreen is really effective. The best sunscreens contain them. The same is true for baby sunscreen.
They don’t sink into your baby’s skin but sit on top of it to work their magic. This means they don’t get to disturb the hormone balance of your baby, unlike oxybenzone. While it is good at reflecting harmful sun rays away, it gets absorbed into skin and disrupts hormones. It has the capability to cause long-term negative effects.
There have been reports that zinc oxide could get unstable over time but this has not been fully proven. In fact, a lot of parents would rather go for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide only, instead of both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This is because titanium does not naturally occur in the human body but zinc does. In all of this, it makes broad-spectrum protection what it is, along with titanium dioxide. Besides, they are natural ingredients.
And this brings us to the point of using a sunscreen with naturally-occurring ingredients. Make sure you check labels in order to know the ingredients that the sunscreen contains. Given, it is a baby sunscreen but these things can’t be left to chance. The best sunscreens for babies usually have more natural and mineral ingredients than anything chemical.
According to expert advice, the best sunscreens for kids and for baby continuous protection are lotions or creams. Sunscreen stick or spray may be good for your little ones but we all know that babies and kids usually don’t sit still enough for you to use these options. Children are generally antsy.
Here’s the thing: to use a stick sunscreen, whether it is a mineral sunscreen or not, on a child will take you four times longer than just going for a lotion. You will need to go over different body parts at least four times before the skin can be certified adequately covered.
As for a spray sunscreen, you will need to have the distance between skin and spray nozzle correct, especially for skin as sensitive as a baby’s. You will have to make sure there is a space of about two centimetres between them. When are you going to get this done and head out?
So, your best bet is to go for a lotion or cream sunscreen. This is not because they contain any ingredient that is better than those found in sticks and sprays. They are just easier to apply, to get the best protection.
Resistance to Water
Whatever the reason you are headed out with your baby or kids into the sun or the destination, best to assume that everyone will sweat. It is either this or they get in contact with water. It will help to use a water-resistant sunscreen, just in case.
Any sunscreen that has this ability will be able to hold up for as long as 80 minutes, giving a minimum time of 40 minutes. Every water-resistant sunscreen differs in this capacity. But whatever capacity it has, you will need to reapply it after every two hours. This is only applicable if your stay outdoors is prolonged.
At the End, What Is the Best Sunscreen for Babies
We would like to add that the best sunscreen for your baby does not have to be expensive. What matters is having the right one for your baby, especially one with zinc oxide and with the right broad-spectrum SPF. The matter of having the right amount of SPF cannot be overemphasized.
However, does your baby really need sunscreen, even after they are six months old? You know what is best for your baby but it may be best not to use any till they are much older. For your older kids, you could use some, though.
It may be better to just use protective clothing for your baby, instead of opting for a sunscreen. Baby sunscreens are safe but remember they are still going on your baby’s skin.
Nevertheless, always consult dermatologists before you use any new skincare product on your baby, no matter how gentle on the skin it is said to be. Do the same for yourself, to be on the safe side.