Skincare for Baby
Suncare For Baby’s Sensitive Skin: 4 Facts Every Parent Needs to Know
Baby’s skin is delicate and new —and very susceptible to burning in the sun. Fortunately, taking sun protection measures can help to protect your little one from the sun’s harmful rays while you enjoy the great outdoors.
What You Need to Know
Your baby’s skin is not like adult skin. One major difference: baby’s protective skin barrier is thinner and continues to develop and strengthen during the first four years of life.2 Plus, your baby’s melanin, the natural pigment that helps protect the skin from ultraviolet light, is not yet fully established.3 Because of these factors, your little one is uniquely vulnerable to sunburn. Talk to your pediatrician before using any sunscreen on your baby and take other sun protection measures.
Tips to Help Protect Baby’s Skin From the Sun
- Babies younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct and indirect sunlight (for instance, light streaming through a window).4
- Limit your baby’s outdoor time to when damaging ultraviolet rays are less intense, usually before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m.5
- If you plan on being in the sun, dress your baby in a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight sun-protective clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 30 or higher. (UPF indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach the skin.)6
- If your baby is at least 6 months old, talk to your pediatrician before generously applying a sunscreen designed for sensitive baby skin.7
Sun-Safety Tip: Shield baby’s skin from the start
When you’re out and about, dress baby in lightweight, sun-protective clothing that covers their arms and legs. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat and use a breathable, fabric stroller cover with UV protection. In the car, secure a mesh UV window shield to the window. (While glass keeps most UVB rays out, babies can be exposed to DNA-damaging UVA rays.8)
When it comes to sunscreen, the use of sunscreen in babies younger than six months old isn’t always the answer (the risk of sunscreen side effects, such as a baby rash, is higher for infants.)9 and you should consult with your baby’s doctor before applying sunscreen to your baby.10 Try to keep baby in the shade or under protective cover.11 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that you should apply sunscreen to small areas, like baby’s face and ears if they are over six months of age12, but it’s important to check with your pediatrician first and do a sensitivity test on your baby’s inner wrist to check for any skin reactions.13
Sun-Safety Tip 2: Use sunscreen designed for baby
If your baby’s doctor advises it’s safe to use sunscreen on your baby, we recommend using one that is fragrance-free, water-resistant, broad-spectrum with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. (Broad-spectrum sunscreen helps to protect skin from the sun’s harmful UVB and UVA rays.) 14 The AAP, Food and Drug Administration, and The Society of Pediatric Dermatology encourage parents to use a mineral sunscreen made for babies that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.15 Unlike chemical sunscreens that penetrate into deep layers of the skin, mineral sunscreens deflect UV rays and remain on the surface of the skin, which may be less irritating for baby’s sensitive skin.16 Our paraben-free Hydrating Baby Sunscreen Lotion With SPF 45 is formulated with three essential ceramides, lipid molecules naturally found in the skin. Formulas containing these ceramides are designed to help maintain the important protective barrier of baby’s skin.17
Sun-Safety Tip 3: Apply the right amount of sunscreen
Don’t skimp when it comes to applying sunscreen to help protect baby’s vulnerable skin. Studies show that most people apply a mere 25% to 50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen that’s needed.18 Fifteen minutes prior to sun exposure, generously apply about one ounce of sunscreen (enough to fill a plastic medicine cup) to all would-be exposed skin.19 Reapply at least every two hours, as well as after a dip in the water.20 Set a timer on your phone as a reminder.
Sun-Safety Tip 4: Use sunscreen all year-round
Sunscreen isn’t just for summer: Dermatologists recommend using it daily no matter the season or the weather.21 In fact, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays get through even on cloudy days.22 While it’s true that one severe sunburn as a child more than doubles one’s chances of developing melanoma,23 even moderate sun exposure during childhood contributes to skin toughening, freckling, and skin cancer.24So make sun protection part of your little one’s daily routine, for healthy looking skin now and in the years to come.
- Schachner LA, Andriessen A, Benjamin L, et al. A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2020 Aug;19(8):769-776. DOI: 10.36849/jdd.2020.5252. https://europepmc.org/article/med/32845590
- Schachner LA, Andriessen A, Benjamin L, Bree AF, Lechman PA, Pinera-Llano AA, Kircik L. A Consensus About the Importance of Ceramide Containing Skincare for Normal and Sensitive Skin Conditions in Neonates and Infants. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020 Aug 1;19(8):769-776. doi: 10.36849/JDD.2020.5252. PMID: 32845590. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32845590/
- Neale R, Williams G, Green A. Application patterns among participants randomized to daily sunscreen use in a skin cancer prevention trial. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Oct;138(10):1319-25. doi: 10.1001/archderm.138.10.1319. PMID: 12374537. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12374537/
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