Babies younger than six months old should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. If you have an activity where it cannot be avoided, it is best to consult your doctor before applying.
For children older than six months, sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes prior to going outside.
Amount to Apply
Sunscreen is one of those things that if you don’t get enough, or spread it thoroughly, it may not be effective. For kids, apply more than you think you need. As a gauge, use at least a golf ball size for their body and a shot glass worth just for their face.
Lotion and stick formulas, as opposed to sprays, are better for kids and babies as they provide more protection.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved two ingredients, which are both minerals to be safe and effective sunscreen blocks. The minerals are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate as these have not been FDA approved.
The Director of the Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab, Birnur Aral, Ph.D. warns that “Some of the active ingredients in sunscreens have raised concerns, and the FDA is currently reevaluating its position on the safety and efficacy of certain chemical sunscreen activities,”
These evaluations are set to reach conclusion in late 2019 and Dr. Aral goes onto say “…we recommend parents use sunscreens with mineral activities such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on their kids.”
Which Sunscreens to Choose
A few of the sunscreens on the market today that meets the recommendations and safety approvals by the FDA include Neutrogena’s SPF 50 Pure and Free Baby sunscreen which is also recommended by the National Eczema Association.
Another more affordable option which is a zinc oxide based sunscreen is the Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Baby Sunscreen. For older children, the SPF 30 Badger Kids Sunscreen lasts up to 40 minutes when swimming and sweating. It is top-rated by product users and is a zinc oxide based sunscreen with a tangerine and vanilla scent.
If you want a clear warning of when sunscreen needs to be applied, check out the Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30 Sunscreen. The bottle that holds the sunscreen is white, but when it is exposed to UV rays, it turns pink. This is a great option to take everywhere you go, and you’ll know exactly when you need to use it.