We recommend “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays damage the skin by prematurely causing wrinkles and age spots and too much exposure to either UVA or UVB may lead to skin cancer. For a great article that describes the differences in sunscreens, we recommend this article from the Mayo Clinic.
In addition to sunscreen, we also recommend that you do the following to help protect yourself and your children from harmful effects of the sun:
- Limit time in the sun
Between 10 am and 4 pm, the sun’s rays are the strongest – so stay in the shade as much as you can.
- Protective clothing
- Don’t forget to reapply
Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, and more often if you or your child is sweating or swimming.
What about sunscreen and infants?
Children under 6 months should be kept out of the sun. We’ll say that again, children under 6 months should be kept out of the sun. Infants and small children may not be able to move or change positions, tell you when they are getting too hot and exposure to the chemicals in sunscreen is not the best thing for their maturing skin. Also, infants and young children do not sweat the way their older siblings or you do. Keep your baby in the shade, under an umbrella or canopy.
Dress your infant appropriately. If there is no other way to keep your infant out of the sun, apply a small amount of sunscreen with a SPF factor of at least 15 to small areas such as cheeks or back of hands. Remember, always test your baby’s sensitivity to sunscreen before heading out into the sun. Test by applying small amount on the inner wrist. For questions, please contact your pediatrician.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and hands that shade the face and neck to prevent sunburn. Regardless of what measures you take, make sure you watch your baby carefully. Look for signs of sunburn or dehydration which include: fussiness, redness or excessive crying.