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How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Your Baby

Snuggle Bugz | | Comments 0

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When summertime rolls around, we all know what that means — outdoor adventures and endless fun for our little bundles of joy!  

From splashing in the kiddie pool to building sandcastles at the beach, or simply playing at the park, our tots are ready to embrace sunny days with excitement.  

But before you dive headfirst into outdoor fun, there's one must-have item that should top your summertime toolkit — sunscreen  

This magical potion not only protects your little one's delicate skin from harmful rays but also ensures their summer escapades are all about smiles and giggles — free of any sunburn worries!  

With so much conflicting health information these days, we understand you may be apprehensive about putting sunscreen on your child’s skin. In this article, we’ll decode everything for you so you better understand sunscreen, and give you some recommendations of which ones to use (and which not to use!). 
 

How Important Is Sunscreen 

For babies 6 months and up, sunscreen is a helpful tool to protect their sensitive skin. Harmful UV rays can cause sunburns, premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Applying sunscreen regularly provides a protective shield, allowing your little one to explore the world while staying safe from the sun's harsh effects. So, slather it on, so your kids can enjoy the great outdoors with no worries! 

 

Sunscreen Decoded 

First things first — you should always reapply sunscreen throughout the day. It's not natural to put something on your skin that stays on (or claims to) until you scrub it off using soap and water.  

If the sunscreen says you don't have to reapply it after going in the water, that's because it contains a chemical that allows it to become "waterproof." By the way, the terms "waterproof" and "sweatproof" are banned on all SPF products in the US — we may be a different country, but skin is skin! 

 

What to Look For in a Sunscreen 

So now that you know a bit more about sunscreen, let’s take a look at the things you should pay attention to when reading the bottle: 

  1. SPF Rating 

While you might think you're getting two or three times the protection with a seriously high SPF number, an SPF of 50 should be just as sufficient. So if you’ve bought an SPF 90, it doesn’t last longer and should be reapplied just as often as any other SPF rating (more on that, here). 

  1. UVA / UVB / Broad Spectrum

Have you seen either of those things on the label and had no clue what it meant? Join the club! Just think of "A" as 'age' and "B" as 'burn' — which is what those two types of rays do. You need a sunscreen that either claims "broad spectrum" or that mentions it protects against both UVA and UVB.  

 

What to Avoid in a Sunscreen 

In Canada, all sunscreens are regulated the same way that prescription drugs are to ensure they’re “safe” for topical use. However, not everyone agrees with this line of thinking and would prefer to use sunscreen with more natural ingredients. Keep in mind that you’ll also be forking over a bit more money for a sunscreen without the following ingredients:  

  • Vitamin A: Also known as retinyl palmitate, this is safe in many lotions that are applied indoors (or at night) but can be harmful in sunscreens that are typically applied in direct sunlight. While it's not a horrific thing by any means, some experts advise avoiding it, while others claim that it's perfectly safe. 
     
  • Oxybenzone: It’s best to steer clear of oxybenzone. In a nutshell, it pretends it's estrogen in women and alters sperm production in men. It is also quite common for people to be allergic to it. I think we’ll pass on the oxybenzone, thanks! You can read more on hormones and sunscreen, here 

Now that we’ve completely freaked you out, rest assured, there are sunscreens that don't contain these ingredients, and we carry them! It’s also important to note that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, every time.   

Sunburns are harmful to your skin every time they happen. Always ensure you and your children are covered appropriately at the beach with either a parasol, hat, or SPF-blocking sunwear. 

 

Other Things to Consider 

Let's talk about user-friendly packaging. We all know how tricky it can be to apply sunscreen on a squirming baby, so easy-to-use packaging can be a lifesaver! Sunscreen bottles with a pump or a flip cap make application a whole lot easier. 

Next up, fragrance. Babies have delicate skin and strong scents may cause irritation. So, stick with something gentle for their sensitive skin by opting for sunscreen with a mild or fragrance-free formula. 

You should also think about how quickly the sunscreen gets absorbed into the skin, as well as its longevity during activities. Quick absorption means less time spent waiting for it to dry, (though it’s still best to wait 15 to 20 minutes before heading into the sun) and one that stays put for roughly 2 hours is also important. 

Of course, how it feels on your child's skin is crucial too. Lightweight and non-greasy sunscreen ensures it's comfortable for them to wear throughout the day — because no one likes that sticky feeling! 

Last but not least, consider whether the sunscreen leaves behind that pesky white residue. While some sunscreens may have this issue, many brands now offer clear formulations that blend in easily without leaving any white cast. 

 

Our Favourite Brands 

We carry a few different sunscreens here at Snuggle Bugz. Here are our favourites for you and your little one to use when playing in the sun: 

Green Beaver: This natural mineral Organic SPF 40 Kids Sunscreen from Green Beaver is everything a parent could ask for in a sunscreen! A generous SPF rating, broad-spectrum, biodegradable, gluten-free, water-resistant, and light and fragrance-free for easy application and protection. 

ThinkBaby: ThinkBaby has two sunscreens we love. First is their Baby Sunscreen SPF 50+ which is free of harmful chemicals, is broad-spectrum, non-oily, has 80-minute water resistance, comes in a TSA-compliant tube for travel, and is a top-rated sunscreen by the Environmental Working Group. Additionally, they also offer it in a 30 SPF Sunscreen Stick, which kids can help apply like a big chapstick for their little face! 

 

Fun in the Sun 

Sunscreen is a must for protecting your child from the harmful effects of the sun. With sensitive skin that’s more susceptible to sun damage, applying sunscreen regularly protects them from sunburns, premature aging, and the increased risk of skin cancer. Remember to look for an appropriate SPF rating, broad-spectrum protection, and user-friendly packaging to make it easy to apply. Avoid sunscreens with problematic ingredients like vitamin A and oxybenzone and opt for safer alternatives.

Above all, remember that any sunscreen is better than none, so prioritize sun protection to ensure your little one can safely enjoy their outdoor adventures!