Prolonged sun exposure often leads to sunburn and can cause eye disorders, premature wrinkles, skin cancer and other undesirable health issues. These risks make it particularly important to protect newborns from unnecessary sun exposure and to always use sunscreen on babies who are old enough.
Can newborn babies wear sunscreen?
A newborn’s skin is delicate and more prone to absorb the ingredients in sunscreen, which can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. As a result, sunscreen is not recommended for infants less than six months old. However, if sun exposure cannot be avoided, your pediatrician may suggest applying a dab of infant-formulated sunscreen to a small portion of your baby’s skin to see if irritation occurs. If there does not appear to be an adverse reaction, then it should be safe to apply sunscreen to your baby’s skin as needed.
Is it possible to avoid using sunscreen on babies?
The first line of defense against the sun for babies is keeping them indoors. While this seems easy enough, staying indoors to avoid the sun isn’t always practical. Clothing, hats and other coverings such as umbrellas, sunshades or blankets can also be used to reduce sun exposure. So, while using sunscreen on babies can be avoided, it may not be very practical for people who live in warmer climates or for babies who are born during spring and summer months.
Which parts of your child should be covered with sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied to every exposed area of your baby’s skin. During warmer months, pay close attention to body parts that can be difficult to keep covered such as the face, neck and hands.
What type of sunscreen should be used on babies?
Babies should wear sunscreen that protects against short, cancer-causing ultraviolet rays of the sun (UVB) and longer, skin-damaging ultraviolet rays (UVA). Sunscreen for babies should also be water-resistant, free of fragrances and dyes, and should have a sun protection factor of at least 15. Keep in mind that sunscreens with higher SPFs are no more effective than sunscreens with lower SPFs; they just provide protection for a longer period of time. The key to using sunscreen effectively is to reapply it according to the product instructions.
Keep in mind that, even on cloudy days, your baby should be protected from sun exposure. It is also important to apply sunscreen to your baby’s face if you plan to spend time outdoors during snowy winter months because the combination of snow and sun can cause serious burns.
Source: Author’s Personal Experience