How do I Choose the Best Sunscreen for Babies?

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  • Written By: Laura A.
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2019
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Babies should always wear sunscreen before going out in the sun because their young skin is very sensitive. It’s important to choose sunscreen for babies that offers a high degree of skin protection. A physical sunscreen that sits on top of the skin can be gentler on their skin than a chemical sunscreen that is absorbed. If your baby will be getting wet, a waterproof formula is a good option. Sticks and sprays are easier to apply on active babies.

Infants should avoid the sun as much as possible during the first six months of life. If you can’t avoid bringing your infant outdoors, be sure to apply sunscreen to his face and other exposed areas beforehand. Older babies should always wear skin protection when playing in the sun. Their young skin is very prone to sunburn and other damage from the sun’s rays. Babies also can burn from indirect sunlight such as the light reflected off of sand or pavement.

Skin protection factor (SPF) is another important consideration when it comes to choosing sunscreen for babies. An SPF below 30 does not offer enough protection for a baby’s skin. Sunscreens with an SPF of 30 provide an ideal balance between sun protection and chemical exposure. Many pediatricians feel that an SPF higher than 30 does not offer enough additional protection to warrant introducing the extra chemicals to your baby’s skin. Using a medium level of SPF can reduce the risk of an adverse reaction.


Sunscreen can be classified into two types: physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the skin and must be applied before sun exposure. They also contain ingredients that might irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Physical sunscreen is the best choice for babies because it rests on top of the skin rather than being absorbed and offers immediate protection. Look for ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide when buying sunscreen for babies.

Waterproof sunscreen is important if your baby will spending time in the water or sweating. It is necessary to reapply sunscreen for babies often even if it is labeled as waterproof. You also can find baby-safe sunscreen that is tinted. The coloring enables you to see where you have applied the sunblock so you can be sure not to miss any part of your baby’s body.

Sunscreen for babies comes in several formats that make application easier. Traditional lotion sunscreen is fine if your baby is very calm. If you have a more active baby, you might find baby-safe sunscreen sprays to be easier to apply. Sunscreen in a stick format is very convenient for facial application.



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