Should I Put Sunscreen on My Child Every Day? Sun Safety Tips
Yes, you should put sunscreen on your child every day, as long as they are going to be under the sun.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that children wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours for optimal protection.
Making sunscreen a daily step for your child is a simple yet vital step for their skin health. To learn more sun safety tips and the importance of wearing sunscreen for kids, keep reading.
Is Wearing Sunscreen Daily Necessary for Kids?
Children need daily sun protection just like adults. After all, they are exposed to the sun during outdoor activities in and out of school — and cumulative sun damage can harm their skin.
Kids need to wear sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days, since UV rays can cause sunburn and skin damage.
School activities like recess, PE classes, and field trips directly expose your child to the sun. Likewise, outdoor play, such as going to the park or playing sports, can also result in prolonged UV exposure.
Therefore, let them wear SPF 30+ sunscreen, limit their sun exposure, and teach them good sun habits.
Choose a full-coverage, water-resistant sunscreen, apply generously, and reapply every two hours for maximum protection.
Risks of Cumulative Sun Damage
When children get sunburned, they experience pain, which feels hot on the affected area. This discomfort worsens after sunlight exposure and dries out the skin.
However, sunburns are not just painful and itchy — they can also have long-term consequences.
Daily UV exposure, even a little, causes cumulative skin damage, which can manifest as sunburn, premature aging, and other issues.
Research from the Skin Cancer Foundation has also linked sunburn during childhood with an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
UV protection for your children is crucial as skin cancer is becoming more common among young people.
Sunscreen Protection for Kids
Daily sunscreen use is essential for all skin types. It helps maintain essential skin proteins like keratin, elastin, and collagen to stay healthy.
Applying an SPF 30+ sunscreen regularly helps protect the skin from both types of UV rays. On top of that, seek shade and cover all exposed body parts for enough protection.
You might then be wondering, "What age should you start wearing sunscreen daily?" Babies can wear sunscreen at six months. If your baby is younger than 6 months, follow FDA recommendations and keep them out of the sun.
Note that dark skin tans easily due to more melanin — but tanning indicates damaged skin, so dark-skinned kids can still experience painful sunburns.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Kids
Applying sunscreen is important for your kids. With so many available options, it can be hard to select one that will effectively protect against UV rays.
Consider the five factors below when choosing a sunscreen for your baby.
- Broad Spectrum Coverage: UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, while UVA rays can prematurely age the skin. To protect against both, ensure your sunscreen has broad coverage.
- Appropriate SPF Levels: Select a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, especially for kids who spend more time outdoors.
- Water-Resistance: For active kids, use water-resistant sunscreen for long-lasting protection, even when swimming or sweating.
- Child-Friendly Ingredients: Choose mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as they are gentler on sensitive skin. Avoid chemical sunscreens with harmful ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate.
- Non-irritating Formulas: Select hypoallergenic, fragrance-free formulas to avoid potential irritation caused by fragrances, dyes, and other additives.
PRO TIP: Choose mineral sunscreens over chemical ones. Chemical sunscreens can be absorbed by the skin and may cause problems for children with sensitive skin.
Sunscreen Application GuidelinesShop Now
UV damage from the sun's rays can be dangerous, and proper sunscreen application is key to healthy skin, even during the summer.
Below are some simple steps for applying sunscreen, whether you are bringing your baby to the beach or enjoying sunny days in the backyard.
First, teach your kids to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out or after a shower. Make this part of their routine.
Ensure you cover all exposed parts of your child, including their nose, ears, neck, arms, legs, and lips. Avoid putting sunscreen on their eyes and mouth.
Finally, reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours, especially if your kid is sweating or swimming at the beach. No sunscreen is entirely waterproof, making reapplication a necessity.
Note that older children who use makeup should apply sunscreen before their makeup.
Sunscreen Concerns and Myths
Several myths regarding sunscreen may lead parents to make incorrect decisions about protecting their babies from harmful rays.
Join us as we dispel concerns that parents have when it comes to applying sunscreen daily.
- Sunscreen can cause skin sensitivity
Experts recommend using any type of sunscreen for your baby, as it is better than not having sun protection.
However, parents who worry, "Is chemical sunscreen bad?" should avoid them to minimize the risk of skin problems.
If you are worried about chemicals, a zinc oxide sunscreen is safe for your child.
- Sunscreen causes Vitamin D deficiency
Sunscreen lotion does not cause Vitamin D deficiency. In reality, daily use allows you to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient the body produces when under sunlight. It is crucial since it helps kids absorb calcium and phosphorus.
REMEMBER: The best shield for babies younger than 6 months is to stay in the shade and avoid sunscreen at this stage. Protect them from the sunlight with lightweight clothes, hats, and umbrellas.
Additional Sun Protection Measures
Sunscreen is important in protecting kids from the harmful rays of the sun. However, there are other ways to keep your child safe from painful sunburns.
Clouds do not entirely prevent a UV burn, so put a hat on your baby. Also, cover arms, legs, and neck with lightweight clothing.
UV radiation from the sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. During these times, seek shade whenever possible, whether under a tree, umbrella, or beach tent.
Prioritize using the best sunscreen for your kids and make it a part of their daily routine.
Key Takeaways on Putting Sunscreen on Kids Every Day
We strongly recommend applying kids sunscreen daily to your kids to keep them safe from sun exposure.
It is essential not only during the summer season but also throughout the year, as radiation can harm the skin, even when your kids are in the shade or wearing a hat.
Parents should also consider the skin type of their children, as this can help them decide which sunscreen is best. You can also make applying sunscreen fun and routine for the benefit of your child.