Choosing a sunscreen for your baby can be difficult, because there are so many products on the market to choose from. You have to consider what level of SPF to purchase, and rather to get it in a cream or spray. You also have to remember that your infant’s skin is gentle, and cannot be introduced to harsh chemicals. There will be specialty sunscreen for babies that is formulated for their skin types. You want to protect your baby’s skin, so it is important that you know what products can do that without causing irritation or damage.
Here is everything you will need to know about choosing a sunscreen for your baby.
What is SPF?
Sun Protector Factor (SPF) is a scale rating system that tells you the level of protection that a sunscreen provides. SPF is used to protect against the UVB rays from the sun. These types of rays are the ones that cause the skin to burn, and contribute to skin cancer. The range of SPF can be as low as 2 and as high as 100. These numbers simply tell you the sunscreen’s ability to block harmful rays from causing burning.
What Should Parents Look For When Purchasing A Sunscreen?
It is recommended that a parent use a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or more. The sunscreen also needs to be a broad spectrum product, which means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. You will want a sunscreen that is waterproof if you are going on an outing that includes water. The coverage will be longer, which means you will not have to reapply as often. Check out the ingredients and take note if the product includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These two ingredients are easy on the eyes, are broad spectrum products, and come highly recommended.
UVA and UVB
Be careful when choosing a sunscreen because not all of them protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburns. UVA rays do not cause burns, but they cause deeper damage to the skin. These rays are responsible for wrinkles, and can be responsible for causing skin cancer. Choosing a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays will help with short and long term damage that can be caused by the sun.
Adult Versus Infant Sunscreen
There are some misconceptions when it comes to infant sunscreen. Many sunscreens have the exact same ingredients that a specified infant sunscreen has, but is not labelled an infant sunscreen. As long as the ingredients are the same, it is safe to use on your baby. You do not have to buy a sunscreen that has cute art and says infant for it to be used on your baby. As long as the ingredients are the same you are safe to use it.
Sun Block and Sunscreen
There is a difference between sunblock and sunscreen that you may not be aware of. You will find zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sun blocks. These ingredients are designed to block the sun’s rays while dispersing ultraviolet radiation when it comes in contact with it. Sunscreen, on the other hand, are chemicals that soak up ultraviolet radiation. You will get a broader protection with a sunblock.
What is PA ranking?
The number of SPF only applies for UVB rays, which are the rays that cause the skin to burn. However, UVA rays cause long term damage, and are equally important to protect your skin against them. These rays are responsible for causing skin cancer, wrinkles, leathering of the skin, and so much more. When a product protects you against UVA rays, there will be a PA ranking on the label. Ranking PA levels will be displayed like PA+, PA++, or PA +++. The more addition signs that there are, the more protections that the product contains.
How Much Sunscreen Should Be Applied?
Of Course, your baby is small and you are dealing with small amounts of skin. Therefore, you will only need to apply about an ounce or sunscreen. Apply the sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours while in the sun. If you are engaging in an activity that involves water or is causing your child to sweat more, than you will want to apply sunscreen more often. In this case, you will want to dry the skin off with a towel before applying sunscreen.
How Long Will Sunscreen Last?
Sunscreen that is waterproof typically last for 80 minutes. Sunscreens that are not waterproof will last about 40 minutes. It is so important that you apply the sunscreen evenly over the skin, and apply an ample amount. If you do not do this, you are lowering the SPF coverage.
Other Sun Tips:
- Dress your baby for a day in the sun. Use a hat that has a brim so it shades their face, and dress them in long sleeves and tightly woven cotton clothing. Also, go for lighter colors, because dark colors will hold heat in.
- Some brands of sunscreen make their product tinted. This helps you see what areas you have applied sunscreen to and which ones you have not. This type of sunscreen is very useful when wanting to ensure that your children’s sunscreen is applied evenly.
- Try to avoid going outdoors when the suns rays are at their hottest points, between 10 am and 3 pm. The sun’s rays are hottest at noon, and the temperature will be at its peak at 3 pm.
- Products using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are best to use with children because these ingredients do not irritate the eyes.
- Always check your sunscreen expiration date before applying it to your baby. Outdated sunscreen will lose its ability to protect your skin from the sun.
- Always conduct a small test on your baby’s skin before applying sunscreen to larger areas. You want to make sure that your baby is not allergic to the product.