Raise your hand if you think babies younger than 6 months should be wearing sunscreen. Everyone should wear sunscreen if they’re out in the sun, right? Well actually, NO!
Hear us out. Pick up a bottle of any sunscreen and read the label on the back. Most warning labels will include advice against liberally applying sunscreen to babies under 6 months. That’s right, even sunscreens marketed for infants warn against liberal use.
Dermatologists and skin cancer bodies actually recommend against generous application of sunscreen on babies because their skins are more sensitive and have the capacity to absorb more through their skin than us older humans. Therefore, chemical-based sunscreens that contain ingredients such as oxybenzone (a known hormone disruptor), can have greater potential to get stuck in where they’re not invited.
So what is a new parent to do? As if you don’t have enough to worry about already, here are a few simple tips approved by the American Skin Cancer Foundation* on how to keep your baby sun safe:
- For babies under 6 months, the first method of protection should always be to cover up with clothing and shade (thankfully tiny burritos don’t move around too much)
- Use sunscreen on any remaining exposed areas such as the tops of feet and necks, sparingly
- When you do need to be out in the sun, try to limit exposure to as little time as possible
- Choose a mineral sunscreen over a chemical one as it’s less likely to cause skin sensitivity (be sure to patch test first)
Link in case you need: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/children/infants