Choosing a Safe Sunscreen for Your Little
Invest in your skin. It’s going to be with you for a lifetime! When the sun starts to shine we can’t wait to get outdoors and take in the rays, but are all those rays good for our Littles? Research shows that sun exposure as a baby can increase the chances of developing skin cancer later in life. However, when choosing the best sunscreen for you little one, it can prove to be a challenge. I know this first hand as we took our daughter at 7 months old to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a family vacation. As I packed the beach bag I began to investigate just what sunscreen I should be using on my daughter. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed on my findings.
First and foremost, if your little one is 6 months or younger, the use of sunscreen is not suggested. Specialists suggest keeping them well covered with UV protective gear, like rash guard shirts and sun hats and to in shady areas instead (of course, rash guards like Beau and Belle Littles swim shirts are available for kids up to 5T and offer UPF 50 protection). Also keep in mind that babies are still working on their internal cooling systems, so they don’t sweat like you or I. Therefore they do not cool down well when in the sun. Please be extra safe when taking a baby 6 months old or younger outside in the heat and sun.
If your little is over 6 months of age and your pediatrician deems it safe for you to use sunscreen, here are a few things to keep in mind. Stick with a sunscreen that covers the broad spectrum. In other words, use sunscreen that covers both UVA & UVB sun rays. Go with a sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30, but no higher than 50. An SPF higher than 50 doesn’t necessary mean longer lasting better protection; in fact it can mean higher concentrations of harsh chemicals that don’t provide any better sun protection than lower SPF. On the subject of chemicals, when looking for the best sunscreen, look for ones containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Theses 2 chemicals are considered hypoallergenic as they sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed into the skin. A good app that I like to use when I shop to determine if a sunscreen has any harsh chemicals is the Think Dirty app. This app is great! They give a rating from 0 to 10 (0 meaning its great and 10 it should not even touch your skin) on product safety and a breakdown of the chemicals that are in the product, so you can clearly see what chemicals are safe and what aren’t. Lastly, remember to choose unscented sunscreens when possible. A good rule of thumb is if it smells good it is probably loaded with harsh chemicals.
After some research and trying many different baby sunscreens, below are my top 3 go-to sunscreens.
Badger Natural Mineral Sunscreen- This is by far my favorite sunscreen for my little one and in general for my family. Badger gets a 0 rating on the Think Dirty app, so it is one of the best hypoallergenic sunscreens on the market. It is a fairly thick sunscreen so it covers well and a little goes a long way when applying. The one negative I have found is the cost, which is about 15 dollars for 2.9 ounces.
Thinkbaby Sunscreen- This was the sunscreen I chose when we went on our first beach vacation with our Little. It gets a rating 4 on the app so it is slightly better than middle of the road when it comes to chemicals. In my experience, this sunscreen is slightly more watery than the Badger, which leaves a lighter feel on the skin. It cost around 12 dollars for a 3 ounce bottle.
Goddess Garden Sunscreen- The nice thing about this brand it that it comes in both a spray and a lotion form. It gets a 4, the same rating as Thinkbaby, on the Think Dirty app. I have tried the spray and the one negative I have found is it goes on really white and must be rubbed in after spraying it on. Also, be sure to spray it in an area like the grass and not on your sidewalk, as it will stain it a white color. The spray form cost 17 dollars for a 6 ounces and 14 dollars for 3.4 ounces for the lotion formula.
I sincerely hope that these suggestions help you when it comes to buying sunscreen for your Little ones. Keep in mind these last few tips. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or after getting wet. All sunscreens have an expiration date; don’t use expired sunscreen since it will not protect you against those harsh rays. Try to stay out of the sun during the peak heat hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when possible. Finally, don’t be afraid to invest in your little one’s skin. They will have it for a lifetime!
Author: Karissa Sargent Photo credits: Karissa Sargent and Angie Carter