Spring break and summer vacation means a lot of time spent outside. Whether your kids are playing on the playground, taking a dip in the pool, or enjoying a beach day with the family, they need to be protected from harmful rays with sunscreen. There are so many types of sunscreens on the market and, as a parent, it is important that you know which type is best for your child. Buying the correct sunscreen has a lot to do with your child's age.
First, it's necessary to discard any of last year's sunscreen. Sunscreens DO expire, making them less effective or causing them to not work at all. It's also important to keep your sunscreen stored in a cool, dry area to maintain its effectiveness.
If your child is less than 6 months old, it is recommended to keep your baby out of the sun completely. Their skin is so very sensitive and has very little melanin, making them more susceptible to sun damage. If you do have to get your infant out in the sun, it is suggested to dress them in lightweight long sleeves and pants, a large hat that will cover their face, and sunglasses to protect them from head to toe.
Once your child is 6 months old, a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF is recommended. There is no scientific evidence showing that higher SPF's offer any more protection than lower numbers. The suggested recommendation is a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 50.
Physical sunscreens made of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which sit on top of the skin and deflect sun rays, are preferred by most dermatologists. The contrary would be a chemical sunscreen, which creates a chemical reaction and works by changing UV rays into heat and then releasing that heat from the skin. Physical sunscreens do require more frequent application, however, they offer great protection against both UVA and UVB rays, are great for sensitive skin, and are naturally broad spectrum. Additionally, these sunscreens protect from the sun as soon as it's applied, meaning no wait is needed, which is great for kids.
Although spray sunscreens are easy to apply, they are often applied incorrectly making them less effective. If possible, opt for a lotion sunscreen. If you use stick sunscreens for face application, be sure to apply at least four layers on each area of skin to have any effect.
Best Sunscreens For Your Kids
Keep your child protected from the sun this summer with one of these effective sunscreen options!
For the best adult sunscreens, read here.