Whether you’re heading on vacation or just sitting in the backyard with your little one, you might be wondering, when can babies wear sunscreen?
It’s a tricky question, because while babies’ skin is very prone to sunburn, it’s also very sensitive, meaning it can be easily irritated by most sunscreens.
All of this can leave mamas wondering how to take care of their little one’s delicate dermis and what the right baby sunscreen age is.
In this article: 📝
- When can you put sunscreen on a baby?
- How to protect your little one’s skin before they reach the baby sunscreen age
- Why can’t you put sunscreen on babies under 6 months?
- What is the best baby sunscreen?
When can you put sunscreen on a baby?
The American Skin Cancer Foundation recommends skipping sunscreen until your baby is 6 months old.
Before 6 months, baby skin is a little too sensitive for sun creams.
Once your little one reaches their half-year milestone, it’s fine to use sunscreen sparingly on hands, face, tops of feet, and other areas of exposed skin.
As they get older and their skin matures, you can be more liberal with sunscreen.
Choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher — ideally SPF 50.
Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays — both of which can cause sunburn.
Physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide tend to be better for little ones.
They’re less likely to cause irritation, and they don’t need to be absorbed into skin to work.
And if you’re planning on taking baby for a paddle, it’s best to opt for a water-resistant baby-friendly sunscreen.
Can babies wear sunscreen at 3 months?
No, it’s not recommended — before your little one is 6 months old, it’s better to protect their skin in other ways, like staying in the shade, dressing them in sunhats and UV-protective clothing.
Just scroll a little further for our top tips on protecting your newborn’s skin from the sun before they can wear sunscreen.
How to protect your little one’s skin before they reach the baby sunscreen age
Even though you can’t put sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months, it’s still really important to protect their skin from the sun in other ways.
Clothing is the best protection we have against UV rays.
Choose loose and light clothing to block UV rays and keep baby cool.
A wide-brimmed hat is a great form of sun protection.
Not only does it look cute, but it also protects your little one’s face, neck, and ears from the sun.
Using a hat early on lets your little one get used to wearing it, so they develop good skin protection habits to last a lifetime.
Avoid going out during the hottest part of the day — that’s between 10 am and 4 pm.
If you do need to go out, use a shade structure on your stroller.
A simple umbrella, tilted to provide shade, keeps your baby cool and out of the sun.
Shade is the best protection from harmful rays for babies (and adults too).
Using an umbrella or sunshade is essential if you’re out during the day.
If you’re out driving, put a removable sunshade over your little one’s window, since some harmful rays can pass through glass.
Placing a blanket under a tree at the park or creating a shade structure in your yard at home are other ways you can safely get outside with your little one during the warmest part of the day.
Why can’t you put sunscreen on babies under 6 months?
It’s best to put as few products as possible on newborn skin.
A newborn baby’s skin is very thin and soft and is more sensitive to the chemicals in all kinds of lotions, including sunscreens.
Even products labeled as baby lotion can be too much for newborn skin.
What is the best baby sunscreen?
There are lots of great baby sunscreens out there, but our favorite is Thinkbaby. Why? Well…
- It’s SPF 50
- It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
- It offers UVA and UVB protection
- It contains zinc oxide, which is better for baby’s sensitive skin
- It’s pediatric-dermatologist recommended
- It’s hypoallergenic
- It’s cruelty-free
- It’s reef-friendly (it won’t bleach our precious coral reefs)
- It’s hydrating, so it won’t irritate delicate skin
- It absorbs super-fast
- It’s free of potentially harmful chemicals, like parabens, phthalates, BPA, and petroleum
- And, best of all, moms love it, with a 4.7-star rating on Amazon and over 19,000 reviews (and counting!)
Ticks all our boxes!
In a nutshell, baby-safe sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or higher, and it’s best to use a sunscreen that’s been formulated for small children.
These usually have ingredients that are unlikely to cause skin irritations and come in easy-to-apply packaging too.
If your babe gets fussy when you’re slathering them with sunscreen, some have easy-to-apply packaging, like sunscreen sticks and sprays.
Be sure to apply sunscreen sprays in a well-ventilated space, and avoid spraying your babe’s face.
Remember to reapply throughout the day and continue to use other sun protection tactics, too (setting a recurring alarm for 80 minutes can be handy whenever you’re applying sunscreen to baby — and yourself!).
Stick to clothes, hats, and umbrellas for the first six months, and then after that, you’re good to go with sunscreen with other sun protection.
Stay safe in the sun, mama!