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Is it safe to use sunscreen on babies?

Sunscreen and Babies

Grahams Natural Alternatives is based out of the Gold Coast in Australia which is one of the sunniest parts of the world. We take extra care when developing our products to ensure the skin is protected when subjected to the harsher environments that come with living in a sunny area like sand, salt, and chlorine. This is especially important with the products in our baby range as those bubs who have sensitive skin or suffer from skin conditions like eczema are extra susceptible to serious burns.

The Gold Coast is known as “the epicenter of skin cancer in the world”, with Queensland having the highest rate of melanoma in Australia, while the country has the highest melanoma diagnosis in the world.

The problem being Australia has the higher UV radiation levels than other countries who also get a lot of sun. The ozone layer is a region in Earths stratosphere that absorbs most of the suns UV radiation. Since the 1970s, a gradual depletion in the ozone layer has been noticed by scientists. This happens especially near the North and South Poles. As the ozone layer depletes, the atmosphere loses its protective filter and more of the dangerous UV radiation reaches the surface of our planet.

The depletion is directly related to the growing number of skin cancer cases. Protection against UV radiation is individual responsibility as the main factors making people susceptible to developing melanoma are associated with sun exposure and a history of sunburn.

The best form of sun protection (particularly with bubs!) is prevention, so try to stay inside or in the shade when the sun is at its strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you do need to be outside in the sun during those times, be sure to take extra precautions, including applying sunscreen.

Here's some advice about when babies can start wearing sunscreen and how to choose one that’s safe.

When can babies wear sunscreen?

Sunscreen recommendations are different for all brands! Grahams Natural Alternatives recommend using our SunClear (sunscreen) on babies aged 3months or older, although babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. For babies 6 months and older, you should apply sunscreen to all areas of the body.

Although our SunClear is naturally formulated, free from chemicals or preservatives and developed for children with sensitive skin, it is important to test the sunscreen before use. Apply a small amount of the sunscreen on a patch of your babies’ skin 48 hours before you go out to test for potential irritation.

It is important to note that sunscreen should be used all year round! Even in winter, the snows glare and the sun’s rays can combine to cause serious burns. Also, clouds don’t block UV rays, they just filter them so sunscreen is a must anytime your baby is outside!

How much sunscreen can a baby wear?

For babies over 6 months, apply liberally over any exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside. Don’t skimp – in this case, more is better! If going in the water be sure to apply 30 mins to let the skin absorb the sunscreen, otherwise it will just wash off.

For babies under 6 months old, a small amount on exposed areas is the recommendation. Pay special attention to the nose, ears and use a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher to protect the lips.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours and more often if you’re outside for long periods of time. Keep in mind that if doing physical activity like swimming or sweating, even if its waterproof it can take up to 30 minutes to be effective after its applied.

What kind of sunscreen is safe for babies?

Try a natural formula to ensure your bubs skin doesn’t react to the product. Our SunClear product is free from chemicals and preservatives and it is vegan! It is also particularly important to ensure the sunscreen is “broad-spectrum”, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Experts recommend against products that contain and SPF above 50 as they may not be any more effective than lower SPFs and could lead parents to believe they don’t have to reapply as often.

Tips for protecting babies

When applying sunscreen, distract your bub with a toy or wait until they are calm, so you don’t miss a spot!

Stay inside during peak hours (10am-3pm) as much as possible. If you go out during these times stay in a shaded area whenever you can and cover as much skin as possible with loose clothing. Don’t forget a wide brimmed hat for your bub and sunglasses that also provide protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Try to avoid draping a blanket over top of the stroller as it poses the risk of suffocation and overheating. Instead use the strollers shade to shield your baby.

Finally, be smart about spending time in the hot summer sun. Watch for signs of dehydration (fussiness, redness, excessive crying) and signs of sunburn. If your child’s skin does get red or burned, move her to the shade right away and apply a cold compress to the pink patches as soon as you can.