These days, sunscreen is considered to be very important as it protects our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. It is the best way of preventing sunburn, dark spots and other skin problems. Though adults have been asked to use the cream every time they go out in the sun, for many years, it was not something that was recommended for babies below six months. This was mainly because most of the sunblock creams were made of chemicals which could have a negative effect on the sensitive skin of the babies. However, in recent years, this belief is changing and many pediatricians are of the belief that sunscreen should be applied on babies, when they are taken out in the sun. Nevertheless, there are some important steps that parents should remember while selecting the right cream.
Before we discuss the details of sunscreen for babies, I would like to say that the best way of protecting the baby's skin from the sun's UV rays is by not exposing the baby to the sun at all. In other words, it is best to avoid taking the baby out in the sun at least for the first six months. However, this is not always possible. During such rare situations, it is important to protect the baby's skin by applying sunscreen lotion or cream. However, not many people know about the kind of sunblock cream that they should buy for the babies. Here are a few things that you have to know before buying a sun blocker for babies.
The sunscreen meant for a little baby should be something that is free of chemicals. The creams that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are safe for the baby's skin and hence, check the label for "board spectrum" before you make your purchase. Moreover, sunscreen containing these ingredients help in protecting the skin both from the sun's UVA as well as UVB rays. The SPF factor of these lotions should be between 15 and 30. Though people choose a sun blocker which has SPF more than 15 for better protection, experts are of the opinion that using an SPF 30 is enough as even a cream which has very high SPF factor cannot give 100% protection from the sun's UV rays.
Once you have got hold of a chemical free sunscreen, the next thing you have to know is how to apply it on your baby. To ensure that the lotion does not cause any allergic reaction to the baby, get a patch test done by applying it on a small area of the baby's skin. If you do not find any negative reaction within 24 hours, you can continue with the same cream. One should remember that the sun blocker should be applied to the baby's skin at least thirty minutes before taking her out in the sun. Also, remember to reapply it after every two hours for continuous protection. It is also important to remember that the sunscreen should be applied to the baby's skin even when the climate is cloudy. This is because the clouds do not have the ability to shield the skin from the UV rays of the sun and damage to the skin is also possible on a cloudy day.
According to expert opinion, the best thing would be to cover the baby's body with protective clothing and apply the sunscreen only on the face and the back of the hands. Parents should make sure to dress their infants in lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirt, booties and a 3 inch brim hat while going out in the sun. Also, while applying it on the baby's face, make sure that you do not apply it around their eyes or even eyebrows. However, if the sunscreen accidentally goes inside the baby's eyes, clean her eyes by wiping it with a damp cloth or by splashing some water into her eyes. Another important thing that parents have to remember is not to overuse the sunblock cream. This is because too much of sunscreen can hamper the baby's ability to cool herself, due to which the chance of dehydration may also increase.
Though it is fine to use sunscreen for little babies, it would be best not to take the baby out in the sun, at least from ten in the morning to four in the evening. Also, even if you have to apply it, you need not invest on any special pediatric lotion. Rather, there is not much difference between a sunblock cream for adults and children. Just make sure that the sunscreen agrees to the guidelines given above and does not give rise to any allergic reaction in the baby.