Spring is in full swing and summer is coming! You are ready for those days outside in the sun either in the yard or poolside or beachside. As you are out shopping for a sunscreen for your baby or kids, you may be wondering what the best sunscreens are for babies and kids. Dr. Amy and the Baby Pibu team share 3 simple tips on what makes a sunscreen the best to use on your babies and kids.
Sunscreen tip #1: What the label says
- The best sunscreen for babies and kids have a label saying, “Broad spectrum, SPF 30+.”
- Broad spectrum means both UVA and UVB coverage while SPF means UVB coverage. SPF 30 means 97% coverage so that is why higher SPFs beyond SPF 30 are not so necessary. Instead of focusing on a higher SPF, focus on re-slathering on the sunscreen every 1 ½ to 2 hours and after water exposure. Re-slathering the sunscreen is key! Know this- both UVA and UVB contribute to sunburns, which ultimately increase your risk of skin cancers.
Sunscreen Tip #2: Active ingredients
- The best sunscreen for babies and kids are chemical-free sunscreens. A chemical-free sunscreen is one in which the active ingredients are not chemicals but minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are physical blockers of both UVA and UVB rays. Since they are not chemicals, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are non-irritating to baby’s skin and gentler on the eyes. Keep using these best sunscreens for babies from baby to toddler years because of this low irritation. For the years past babyhood and toddlerhood, these products are great to use on the face while using a different type of sunscreen on the rest of the body. Watch out for nanoparticle-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide because of the concern of absorption through the skin to the rest of the body. Rather, micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are best. The micronized versions will leave a whitish residue on the skin after application, and that is a good thing to see. Read more on titanium dioxide in sunscreen.
Sunscreen tip #3: Inactive ingredients
- Inactive ingredients give the sunscreen product the “feel” of the product. These ingredients are what make the product become a lotion versus a foam versus a spray. Even though natural seems better, be cautious of sunscreens with “natural” ingredients. Some natural ingredients can actually be photoallergic or phototoxic. What that means is that a certain ingredient in combination with the sun rays may lead to an allergic reaction (photoallergic) or sunburn (phototoxic). Examples of plant-based ingredients leading to a photoallergic or phototoxic reaction are lime, lemon oil, orange oils, parsnip, parsley, and celery. Note these as you’re browsing through the ingredients on the label because the best sunscreen for babies and kids will stay away from using these ingredients.
- Some inactive ingredients that can be found in some of the best sunscreens for babies and kids give some added SPF through their natural SPF characteristics. These ingredients include shea butter, coconut oil, carrot extract, and jojoba seed oil.
Next time, as you’re looking for the best sunscreen for your baby and kids, consider these simple 3 tips: look out for the label, the active ingredients and the inactive ingredients.