Choosing the Right Sun Protection
Sunscreen is one of those products that can offer your body so much protection, and yet many people either forego its use or don’t use it properly. Sometimes there’s confusion on the safety and efficacy of any given sunscreen product. How long will one application last? How will it hold up to water and perspiration? Stick, spray or lotion? Are harmful ingredients included in the product? These are just some of the considerations when choosing a sunscreen for you and your family. While the FDA is working on some big changes to address the safety concerns of sunscreen products, it continues to remain necessary to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled their list of the best kids’ sunscreens currently available. The products marketed specifically for use on babies and children were rated applying a number of criteria, including if the product would pass the FDA’s 2019 proposed standards. Product packaging was also looked at to learn whether or not it raised concern about product contamination. EWG cautions that parents should know the FDA does not set special criteria or additional requirements for sunscreen and body care products marketed to children. The group did not identify any systematic differences between the types of products marketed to children and to the general population.
Protecting Baby’s Delicate Skin
When it comes to protecting a baby’s delicate skin against the sun’s damaging rays, sunscreen is a must for babies over the age of six months. If your baby is under six months, keeping her out of direct sun is best, especially avoiding the midday sun, as her skin is not yet protected by melanin. Dress your infant in protective clothing, light weight long sleeves and pants, as well as a brimmed hat. For more information about applying sunscreen to your baby, check out this Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny video.
When choosing a sunscreen product for your family, look for the words broad-spectrum on the label and one that has a sun protection factor, or SFP, of at least 30, blocking out both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously! A general rule of thumb is to use a golf ball size amount to apply to a kid’s body and a shot glass full for his face. It’s also best to apply it about 20 minutes or so before going out into the sun. While the kids are running around, swimming and enjoying a sunshine-y day, it can be easy to forget to reapply. However, it is crucial to do so about every two hours, and more often if your child is spending time in the water. To avoid irritation to skin and eyes, choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.