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Sun cream for babies & toddlers

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 295 views

Sunlight attacks sensitive children’s skin particularly badly. A special sunscreen is therefore important, even in the shade. Babies and toddlers need well-tolerated creams with a high sun protection factor. Here you can find out which sunscreen is suitable for babies and small children and how you can best protect your child from sunburn.

Which sunscreen is suitable for babies and toddlers?

Babies and small children are best protected with mineral sunscreens. They contain the micro-pigments zinc oxide and titanium dioxide . These form a film on the skin and reflect the UV light . They do not penetrate the skin and are therefore less problematic for sensitive children’s skin.

Chemical protective filters, on the other hand, are not recommended for children. For example, skin irritations and allergies are possible side effects of a sun cream equipped with it.

Baby and newborn skin is more stressed than adult skin by the active ingredients it contains. Some chemical filters also act like hormones and are therefore even more problematic as sun protection for babies and children.

When choosing sunscreen, also pay attention to the following things:

  • Only use sunscreen that is specifically designed for children.
  • The sunscreen should block both UV-A and UV-B rays with a sun protection factor of at least 30.
  • Apply cream to all uncovered parts of the body when you leave the house with your child. Preferably 30 minutes beforehand.
  • Apply enough sunscreen.
  • If you are outside for a long time, apply cream regularly. Movement and sweating often causes the sunscreen to come off. However, the duration of the protection is not repeated by reapplying the cream.

Sun protection in the first year of life

Some experts even recommend not applying sunscreen to children under the age of one so as not to expose them to sunscreen ingredients. Instead, you should consistently keep the little ones in the shade and protected by appropriate clothing. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide what they think is best for their child.

Sunscreen from the first year of life

After the first birthday, always apply sunscreen to the child as soon as it is outside in the sun. The sun protection factor should be at least 30. For very light-skinned children with blue eyes and light-colored hair, even a sun protection factor of 50 is advisable. Playing in the fresh air remains a pleasure.

Some sunscreens contain mineral filters such as titanium dioxide. They provide physical protection from UV rays. On the other hand, organic filters such as benzophenones offer chemical sun protection.

You can find out more about the differences between chemical and mineral UV filters in the article sun protection factor .

Additional sun protection through textiles

The German Cancer Society advises that parents should wear suitable clothing to protect babies and children from the sun in addition to sunscreen. Don’t forget to bring sunglasses and hats for your little one. With a wide brim, a hat casts enough shade over the entire face, ears, and neck. Also pay attention to the following things:

  • Ideally, the clothing covers as much of the body as possible, but is airy and light. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers that are as long as possible are well suited.
  • There are textiles that offer special UV protection due to special weaving techniques or impregnations. They can be recognized by the “UV standard 801”. The appropriate UV protection factor (UPF) is at least 30.
  • Make sure the shoes cover both the heel and the top of the foot.

That’s why children’s skin is so sensitive

Children enjoy being outdoors, which is good for them in many ways. As a result, people in our culture receive half of the sun’s rays throughout their life before they are 18 years old. Good sun protection with a suitable sun cream is therefore particularly important in childhood and adolescence.

However, children lack the so-called UV self-protection at the beginning of their lives. Their skin hardly produces any pigments (melanin), and the so-called calluses, to which the skin thickens when exposed to sunlight, are not yet formed by them.

In addition, the repair mechanisms of their skin cells are not yet working properly – in contrast to adults: With them, the cells can repair most of the UV-related damage in the genetic material (DNA) before they cause greater damage (in the form of skin cancer).

Sunburns in childhood and adolescence are therefore particularly dangerous. They significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later.

Orientation through the UV index

The UV index provides an indication of how well you should protect your child and yourself from the sun. It provides information about the current intensity of solar radiation (UV component). A UV index of 1 or 2 is considered harmless, from 3 and 4 it is important to protect the skin from the sun.

Be the best role model for your child

Sometimes it can be quite annoying, the constant handling of the sunscreen. Putting lotion on babies and toddlers regularly and always looking for shade requires some perseverance. The more naturally you practice consistent sun protection yourself, the faster your children will get used to it.

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