We all know that UV damage can be incredibly harmful to your skin and to your overall health. Babies and children have much thinner and more delicate skin than adults do, so it’s particularly important that you protect them from sunburn and skin damage in those early years. Discover how best to keep your little ones protected throughout the whole year for healthy and happy skin.
What Is a Safe Age for Sunscreen?
When we think of UV protection, we instantly reach for our favourite sunscreen. But the Cancer Council actually recommends not to put sunscreen on babies under six months old, as their skin is highly absorptive. Instead, the council recommends creating physical barriers of clothing, wraps, and hats to protect your baby’s skin and avoiding direct sunlight exposure. After six months, babies, toddlers, and children can wear sunscreen. We recommend looking for mild formulas that won’t cause irritation or discomfort.
What Is the UV Index?
The Cancer Council says the best way to protect your little ones from sun damage is to check and follow the UV index on a daily basis. Don’t expose any children under the age of 12 to direct sunlight when UV levels are 3 and above. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Cover your children with physical barriers such as hats and wraps. And keep them out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in daylight savings periods).
The Bureau of Meteorology’s UV Index is a measure of how high the ultraviolet radiation is on a specific day and is included in your local weather forecast. You can find out more about the BoM UV Index on its website.
Find out more about keeping your skin protected from harmful UV rays in our Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen.
How Does Sunscreen Work?
Sunscreens come in two forms: chemical and physical. Physical sunblocks work by creating a barrier between your skin and the sun, remaining on the surface to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
The most common sunblock ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, which are suitable for all skin types and sensitive skin. However, physical sunscreens can feel heavy on the skin and can be difficult to remove. Discover more about removing even the most stubborn sunscreen in our guide, What's the Best Way to Remove Sunscreen at Night?.
Chemical sunscreens don’t just sit on the surface of your skin. They’re absorbed into the dermis to absorb the sun’s rays before they can cause damage. Chemical sunscreens typically include ingredients such as Avobenzone and Homosalate, but they mostly use compound formulas to provide full broad-spectrum protection against harmful rays. Sunscreens are generally sheerer and more lightweight on the skin. But, as they contain a fair few chemicals, these sunscreens are more likely to cause irritation and sensitivity.
If you want to look into the different types of sunscreen, we recommend reading Chemical vs Physical Sunscreen: What's the Difference?.
What Is the Best Sunscreen for Babies and Toddlers?
If you’re looking for a sunscreen for toddlers, children, and babies over six months old, peruse our top recommendations for looking after your little one’s skin.
Effective enough for adults yet gentle enough for a baby sunscreen, this high-performance skin protector has a lightweight water resistant formula. It's super hydrating and keeps the skin soft and smooth. Simply reapply every 2 hours after water exposure to keep your little one’s skin free from damage.
This La Roche-Posay sunscreen is the perfect option for active toddlers and young children. The water-resistant formula lasts for up to 2 hours and offers the highest UVA/UVB sun protection against harmful UV rays. This sunscreen for kids provides long-lasting SPF 50+, which won’t cause irritation, sensitivity, or dryness. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Wet Skin SPF50+ Body Sunscreen 250ml is Infused with Glycerine to lock in moisture, Vitamin E to fight free radical damage, and Thermal Spring Water to soothe irritation. This is the best waterproof sunscreen for kids on the go.
Free of chemical filters that can cause irritation and dryness, Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen is the best sunscreen for babies with sensitive skin. It provides long-lasting SPF 50 protection against both UVA and UVB rays and delivers 4 hours of water-resistant sunblock.
If you prefer a natural sunscreen for kids, toddlers, and babies, we recommend Edible Beauty Basking Beauty Natural Sunscreen. This hydrating cream isn’t only an organic sunscreen that’s kind to your skin; it’s also kind to the planet too. Boosted with botanicals such as Kakadu Plum, Vitamin E, Rosehip Seed Oil, and Beta-Carotene, this nourishing physical sunscreen is perfect for all members of the family and is a safe natural sunscreen for babies.
This fragrance-free mattifying formula is lightweight and offers extemely high SPF protection. Its easy to apply, and can be used on the face and body. Suitable to use from 6 months and can be used on sensitive skin types.
This easy-to-apply formula is perfect for kids that hate the greasy feel of sunscreen. Instead, this lightweight and mattifying texture sinks in easily and can be dispersed with a simple spritz. It's the perfect water resistant formula for kids with sensitive skin, being completely fragrance free. Put this SPF 50+ formula in your beach bag for sunscreen application on-the-go.
How to Protect Babies, Toddlers, and Kids from the Sun
We always recommend carrying one of these amazing sunscreens in your everyday handbag in case you get caught up. But the best way to keep your babies, toddlers, and kids protected is to keep them out of the sun during peak UV times and shield them with protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
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