You’re at the beach, slathered in sunscreen. Your 5-month-old baby is there, too. Should you put sunscreen on her? Not usually, according to Hari Cheryl Sachs, M.D., a pediatrician at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun,” Sachs says, “and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense.”
Sunscreens are recommended for children and adults. What makes babies so different?
For one thing, babies’ skin is much thinner than that of adults, and it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily, explains Sachs. For another, infants have a high surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults. Both these factors mean that an infant’s exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens is much greater, increasing the risk of allergic reaction or inflammation.
The best protection is to keep your baby in the shade, if possible, Sachs says. If there’s no natural shade, create your own with an umbrella or the canopy of the stroller.
If there’s no way to keep an infant out of the sun, you can apply a small amount of sunscreen—with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15—to small areas such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Sachs suggests testing your baby’s sensitivity to sunscreen by first trying a small amount on the inner wrist.
Product Recommendation for Moms:
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- A good rule of thumb: Adults should use about one ounce of sunscreen to liberally coat all exposed areas and reapply at least every two hours. A single 4 fl.oz. tube of Mary Kay® Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30* can protect your skin for an 8-hour day at the beach!
Get the expert facts on sun care. Click here.
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Product Recommendation for Babies:
Uses: Gentle face and body lotion with UVA/UVB protection
Benefits: Comforting, balancing and transparent
Safety: Doctor recommended, EWG top rated for safety, reef safe, water resistant for up to 80 minutes
Smells Like: Unscented, Like fresh air
Feels Like: Cooling, safe and hydrating
Actively Healthy(™) ingredients: Organic, transparent zinc, green tea
This broad spectrum, lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer is water resistant for up to 80 minutes of sprinkler –proof fun! Safe minerals work to protect the skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays, while aloe and green tea extract keep skin cool and protected from IR damage.
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