Which Sunscreen is Best for Baby

As the weather is warming up… you need to get ready to slip, slop, slap but which sunscreen is best for baby?

The best sunscreen for a baby is a barrier. So where possible keep them in the shade, under a tent, in light cotton clothes with long sleeves, and a wide brimmed hat or bonnet. But when it calls for the use of sunscreen and your baby reaches 6 months, you should apply sunscreen whenever they’re exposed to the sun’s harsh rays.

Can I use Sunscreen on my Newborn?

It depends which expert you ask.  The Australasian College of Dermatologists does not recommend using sunscreen on babies under six months of age because babies’ skin absorbs more chemicals than older children’s or adults’. However, The Cancer Council says that sunscreen can be used occasionally on very small patches of skin on babies under 6 months but stresses that keeping babies out of the sun or using shade or clothing is preferential.

Barrier vs Chemical creams – Which are the best for Children?

There are two different types of sunscreens: those that sit on top of the skin and provide a physical barrier to the sun and those which use chemicals to absorb the sun’s rays like a sponge.

There are pros and cons to both but dermatologists generally recommend barrier sunscreens for young children as they work as soon as they are applied and are less irritating to the skin.  Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are natural, broad-spectrum barriers so look for them on your sunscreen’s ingredients list.

What does “Broad Spectrum” mean and Why’s it so Important?

The sun’s light is made up of different kinds of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  UVA rays are long wave and penetrate deeper into the skin causing skin aging and wrinkling.  UVB rays are short wave and the chief cause of sunburn.  However, both rays cause skin damage and cancer so it’s important that the sunscreen you choose is broad spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB rays).

SPF 30 vs SPF 50

The SPF (sun protection factor) refers to the amount of UVB rays that a product filters.
SPF 30 blocks around 97% of UVB rays whereas SPF 50 blocks an estimated 98%.  Experts recommend an SPF of at least 30 but, most importantly, that you apply enough sunscreen so that the product can do its job and fulfill its rating.

Our Top Sunscreen Tips:

  • Choose a sunscreen that is broad spectrum (filters UVA and UVB rays), water resistant and SPF 30 or above.
  • Test sunscreen on a small patch of your child’s skin for reactions before full application.
  • Apply liberally – most people don’t use enough.  You need at least a teaspoon per limb, front and back of body and half a teaspoon for face, neck and ears.
  • Apply every 2 hours or more after swimming, toweling or sweating.
  • If possible try to stay indoors between 10am and 4pm

Try these Recommended Sunscreens for Children:

  • Invisible Zinc Junior SPF 30
  • Wotnot Natural Baby Sunscreen SPF 30
  • SunSense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50
  • MooGoo Natural Sunscreen SPF 40
  • For eczema sufferers – Eco Sunscreen SPF 30

Make sure you check out our sunscreen guide with the latest information for babies and children to help you choose the best product for your family.

Read more on Summer sun and bug protection for babies here

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