Summer is in full-swing and that means you're probably slathering sunscreen on your tiny human constantly. All I have to do is look at my 17-month-old's precious milky white skin to go into application overdrive. Yet, what we know about sunscreens these days makes the task of choosing the right one a bit harder than it used to be. Gone are the days of just being concerned about SPF; now you need to scrutinize the ingredient list too. It can be anxiety-inducing, so here's a great list of natural sunscreens for kids that are dermatologist-approved.
If your baby is older than 6 months, you'll want to vigilantly apply an SPF of at least 30 every two hours, according to the Mayo Clinic. But before you smear on the 'screen, you'll want to scour the label. "I prefer natural sunscreens that are mineral-based, using non-nanotized zinc or titanium. Although such preparations are more whitening and don't rub in as easily, they are less likely to be absorbed into the skin and felt to pose less harm overall," explains Dr. Sarina Elmariah, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology Massachusetts General Hospital.
You'll also want to avoid chemical sunscreens that are made of synthetic ingredients that can cause irritation and sensitive skin reactions, according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, an expert in the field of cosmetic dermatology as well as medical dermatology. "Look for sunscreens with no Paba, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, nano-particles or retinyl palmitate," advises Dr. Jaliman.
It's also a good idea to remain vigilant about sunscreen even if your child is covered up, since clothing isn't necessarily a barrier for the sun's strong rays. "You should wear sunscreen under clothes that aren't UPF clothing. UV rays can penetrate many fabrics. Most fabrics let small amounts of sunlight pass through, especially fabrics that are loosely woven such as a lightweight cotton t-shirt," explains Dr. Jaliman.
To make your sunscreen selection a bit easier, here's a list of dermatologist-recommended sunscreens that you can use with confidence.