When Should You Start Putting Sunscreen on Your Baby?
As parents, we know how important it is to protect our little ones from all harmful elements, especially the sun’s harsh rays. But when exactly do you start putting sunscreen on your baby? It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out the best approach for protecting your infant’s delicate skin from the sun.
To help keep your baby safe in the sun, we’ll explore all things related to sun protection, from when to how to apply sunscreen lotion for infants, so that you can feel confident engaging in outdoor fun with peace of mind.
When Should I Start Putting Sunscreen On My Baby?
While you may be tempted to put sunscreen lotion for infants on your baby before you walk out the door, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends waiting until your baby is at least 6 months old before applying sunscreen. Since baby skin is incredibly delicate and can be very sensitive, they have a higher chance of reacting to lotions and creams.
But not to worry! So while infant and sunscreen may not go together until your baby reaches 6 months, there are steps you can take to protect your baby from the harsh sun.
Tips to Help Your Baby Beat the Sun
Stay in the Shade
To keep your little one safe from the heat of the sun, the best bet is always to keep your baby in the shade, particularly during the afternoons when UV rays are strongest. When you’re out and about, use a sun-protective cover over your stroller and window shields while in the car.
And always be prepared so you can easily create your own shade!
Keep your diaper bag stashed with a hat or two and your car loaded with a pop-up tent or canopy and umbrella. This way, you’ve always got your baby (and yourself) covered when you’re on the go.
Wear UV-Protective Clothing
Although it may sound daunting at first, outfitting your little one for the outdoors will do wonders to keep their precious skin safe. And if you think this means no cute outfits to match the bright sun, think again.
These days, you can easily find adorable sun-protective clothing specially made to keep your baby protected and stylish. Look for lightweight, breathable clothing such as long-sleeve shirts and comfy bottoms. You can also find stylish swimwear with UV protection -- perfect for splashing around in the summertime.
And don't forget a wide-brimmed hat to cover your baby’s head and face as an added layer of protection.
Keep Sun Time Short and Sweet
Getting some sun exposure is necessary for everyone including babies - for healthy bones and vitamin D - but too much of a good thing can be harmful. To ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s best to keep sun time short and sweet. Doing this helps create the perfect balance between time in the fresh air and staying safe from over-exposure to harmful UV rays.
Time outside should be scheduled before 11 am or after 4 pm if possible, so you can make the most of your precious family moments while avoiding the risk of sun damage. Enjoying warm morning walks or late afternoon outings are both great ways to put this into practice and give your family hours of sunshine-filled fun with no worries!
Be Wary of Cloudy Days
Don’t be fooled by overcast days. Even where the sun is out of sight, harmful UV rays still shine down. On cloudy days, expect anywhere from 70-80% of UV rays to be present.
Always dress your baby accordingly to the weather (and hidden UV rays) outside with breathable sun-protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
Once your baby reaches 6 months old, you can start looking for the best all-natural sunscreen for babies.
What Type of Sunscreen Should I Use?
It’s important to use an all-natural mineral-based sunscreen lotion for infants and babies. Unlike chemical based sunscreens, mineral-based sunscreens are made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed into the skin (which is what you want). This means that there is less of a chance that your baby’s delicate skin will react negatively to it.
When choosing a sunscreen lotion for infants, look for mineral-based sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection from both harmful UVA and UVB rays like our Baby Sunscreen SPF50. Made with hyaluronic acid and avocado oil for an easy application, our natural baby sunscreen has no synthetic fillers or fragrance making it the perfect sunscreen for all babies.
How Do I Apply Sunscreen On My Baby?
When applying sunscreen on your baby, avoid applying sunscreen around their eyes as this area of their skin tends to be the most sensitive. Apply sunscreen gently on their cheeks, forehead, and nose. For babies with very sensitive skin, you can avoid their face entirely and instead opt for a hat or visor as your first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays.
For the rest of their body, use sunscreen and apply liberally to exposed skin such as shoulders, backs, legs, and arms. Be careful not to apply too much, though. The sunscreen lotion for infants should be barely visible on your baby’s skin after application and not like they’ve been through a blizzard.
But don’t forget - sunscreen is not an apply once and forget about it. Nor it is only for the summer.
If your baby will often be exposed to the outdoors, even in the wintertime, sunscreen application is a must. Sunscreen during winter is just as important as during the summer. Any time your baby goes outside or by a window, they’re exposed to UV rays.
Remember to reapply sunscreen on your baby every two hours or after swimming, as needed – especially during peak sun hours.
The Bottom Line
If your baby is under 6 months of age, protect their delicate skin by staying under the shade with UV-protective clothing and accessories such as a wide-brimmed hat. Limit time in the sun and watch out for those overcast days. Once your baby reaches 6 months of age or older, choose an all-natural mineral-based formula like our Baby Sunscreen SPF50 designed specifically for your little one’s delicate skin. Use sunscreen and apply liberally to exposed areas, careful not to overdo it.
Taking these simple steps will help ensure that you and your baby enjoys many safe days in the sun!