By Dr. Erin Valente, ND
Summer is finally here and that means it’s time to start talking about sunscreen! When it comes to your little babe, you want to make sure to protect their skin (which is extremely sensitive to the sun!). Since we know that their deliciously soft skin is ultra sensitive, you want to be cautious about what you put onto their skin as well. This means avoiding harsh and unnecessary chemicals/toxic ingredients where possible. Here are some tips on applying sunscreen on your little one.
Tip 1: You can start applying sunscreen on your little one once they reach 6 months of age. Once your babe reaches 6 months old, consider applying sunscreen so they get used to this new sensation sooner than later! If they have sensitive skin, consider starting out by testing a patch on their arm or leg to make sure they don’t react before applying to the rest of their bodies.
Tip 2: Aim to apply sunscreen before going outside. This way you’ll be ready for fun in the sun prior to exposure (and won’t risk accidentally getting sunscreen in their eyes!).
Tip 3: Choose a mineral-based sunscreen rather than a chemical one. The trick will be to find one that doesn’t turn your little one ghostly white (unless you’re into this look!). The ones that I have tried on my little babe and like are Think Sport Baby Lotion, Think Sport Baby Stick and Baby Bum Stick. They rub in nicely and haven’t irritated his skin. Another mineral-based brand (that is on my list but I haven’t had a chance to try yet!) is Green Beaver.
Tip 4: Use a mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50. Remember: higher than 50 SPF doesn’t necessarily translate into extra coverage.
Tip 5: Consider purchasing a face stick along with a cream. The sticks are great to put on their faces and much easier to apply than the cream (let’s be real: it almost always gets in their eyes! And then you’re on soothing-duty until you can get it out. Best to have a cloth handy in case this happens!).
Ultimately, avoid direct sun as much as possible. Cover baby up when you can (without overheating them). Consider a sun outfit, bathing suits that cover their legs and arms, and a brimmed hat. And be sure to enjoy the summer days while they’re here!