The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies 6 months of age and younger stay out of the sun. However, if you must be in direct sun for even a short amount of time with your little one, you can apply a small amount of sunscreen to exposed key areas of your baby’s body and face. Infants older than 6 months and toddlers who will be out and about in the sun should have sunscreen applied (and reapplied) liberally to their faces and bodies.
You will want to find a sunscreen that boasts broad-spectrum protection with a sun protection factor (SPF) in the range of 30 to 50. Those with eczema are even more vulnerable in the sun, so it’s doubly important to make sure your little cutie pie is safely slathered.
The simpler, the better. You don’t need or want all sorts of fancy ingredients; less is more when it comes to baby skincare products. The most important must-have ingredient in your SPF should be zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If these mineral-based ingredients sound familiar, it’s because they are frequently found in diaper creams. It makes sense, as these products work to protect the skin and act as a barrier.
You might find that zinc options are a little thicker than lotions you’ve rubbed on your own body, but the hard-to-disappear formula means it is effective and protective. Moreover, you should consider swapping out your own sunscreen for a safer option made with zinc. If it’s good enough for your little love, then it’s definitely good enough for you.
If you see the ingredient “oxybenzone” on an SPF bottle, put it down, walk away, and move on with your shopping search. Many experts believe that this chemical could have hormonal properties. What’s more, it is damaging to coral reefs.
While you’re doing your due diligence, avoid any SPFs that boast alcohol or unnecessary fragrances and dyes that could potentially be drying or irritating.
In addition, stay away from aerosol-spray options. Baby can’t hold their breath on command at this point, and these options are loaded with chemicals that could potentially be inhaled. Better yet, avoid this altogether for all ages.
If you already know that your baby has sensitive skin and is prone to eczema flare-ups, you’ll want to do a patch test before spreading sunscreen all over their vulnerable arms, legs, and face. If possible, plan ahead; apply a small amount and wait a day or two to ensure there is no adverse reaction.
Keep in mind, though, that when you’re in a pinch — stuck outside in the sun unexpectedly — any SPF will do. A negligent amount of exposure to a potentially iffy ingredient is better than a baby sunburn.
Your baby’s sensitive skin deserves the best. You’ll want a sunscreen that is gentle with ample protection to offer. Here are a few highly rated options to consider:
Blue Lizard Baby Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, SPF 50+
Australians know a thing or two about sunscreen. Blue Lizard offers SPF 50+ broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It also makes a sensitive-skin formula that is great for babies, kids, and adults.
Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 50+
A top-rated option from the Environmental Working Group, Thinkbaby offers broad-spectrum sun protection and waterproof confidence. It goes on smoothly, without feeling oily or weighty on the skin.
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive
Formulated to be extra gentle for babies, this sunscreen contains naturally sourced 100% zinc oxide and soothing oat. It’s hypoallergenic and features mild mineral ingredients that nourish the skin and protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.
The best sunscreen for eczema is the one you apply regularly and generously. The point is: It’s most important that you actually put it on your baby — regardless of the brand or type you choose. Of course, it’s even better if your pick features mineral ingredients and is free of harsh and questionable chemicals. That little nugget of yours is going to love prancing about in the summer — playing in the sand, dipping those teeny toes in the water, and soaking up all that the seasonal sunshine has to offer.
As long as you keep your sweetheart’s skin protected, you can enjoy all the fun in the sun to be had.
- 5 fun family activities to do outdoors before it gets too hot
- 6 fun summer activities for preschoolers who love art
- Why you shouldn’t buy an electric vehicle for your family road trip
- Good, better, best: Backyard playhouses your 7-year-old will love
- Are swimming lessons for infants a good idea? What you need to know