We all know how damaging a sunburn can be to our skin, now imagine how damaging it can be to our children’s skin. Kids have very delicate skin and they rely on us to keep them protected from the dangers of sun exposure. To put it into perspective, just ONE blistering sunburn nearly doubles a child’s risk of developing melanoma later in life (the most deadly form of skin cancer). The good news is that sun damage is completely preventable and with the proper knowledge and awareness, we can help you keep your children safe and healthy.
Baby skin is ultra-sensitive, so the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends infants under six months to completely avoid both the sun’s rays and sunscreen itself. Keep them in the shade, covered in Tutublue UPF50+ clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection. When you can’t avoid sun exposure, it’s okay to apply a minimal amount of sunscreen every 2 hours.
Which kind of sunscreen?
The AAD states that every person above the age of 6 months should apply a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 daily. There are two kinds of broad-spectrum sunscreen: chemical & mineral (you can probably guess that mineral sunscreens are the way to go). Mineral sunscreens are made with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which act as a physical block against UV rays and are less irritating than chemical ingredients found in other SPF options. Children’s skin is extremely sensitive and it’s important to put quality ingredients on their bodies to protect them.
Researchers are also sharing that some chemical sunscreen ingredients (like oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene) have been shown to absorb into the bloodstream after just one application. Plus, if you’ve ever had chemical sunscreen run into your eyes, you know how badly that stings.
Another great option is to put your children in UPF50+ clothing and swimsuits which will automatically block out 98% of UV rays without any reapplications. It’s the easiest option for sun protection, as well as the most protective.
How do you apply sunscreen?
You’ll want to give the product enough time to bind to their skin, so start at least 30 minutes before you or your child plan to be outside. The best practice is to apply sunscreen to the entire body (even the portions covered by clothing) since skin might be exposed later in the day if clothing shifts or is removed. Don’t forget about the parts that are easily skipped over: the tops of the feet, ears, the backs of the neck and knees. In terms of the quantity you should use on your child, aim for half an ounce for the whole body.
How often do you apply sunscreen?
A common myth is “waterproof” sunscreen. It doesn’t exist, and as soon as your child comes out of the pool or if they’ve been running around and sweating heavily, their sunscreen needs to be reapplied. If you’re not spending a day at the beach or pool, every 2 hours is a good timeline for reapplications.