Today I’ll tell you how to achieve safe and effective sunscreen protection for infants, toddlers and children.
Not a day goes by in my dermatology practice or on DermTV that I don’t get some form of the question:
“What special sunscreen should I use for my infant?”
The answer may surprise you, but I bet it’ll also please you.
For the most part, and with few exceptions, use the same sunscreen for infants, toddlers and children as… you use on yourself!
I bet you didn’t think it would be that simple!
We, as appropriately protective parents, tend to think of our children’s skin as “sensitive” and therefore with special needs, but the reality is that most children, like most adults, don't have sensitive skin.
Once you get past that, safe and effective sun protection is much more a matter of technique, than technology… It’s more about how you use the sunscreen… especially how much you use and equally important, how often you reapply it… than it is about the actual sunscreen.
So, unless your child, regardless of age, truly has sensitive skin, and fortunately most don’t, just look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to 30 and also labeled as either “with UVA protection” or “with broad spectrum protection.”
Then, to help prevent over-drying children’s skin, which doesn’t have as much oil as adults, use sunscreens in lotions and creams instead of gels, sprays or solutions.
In terms of “technique,” make sure you use enough sunscreen every time you apply it to your child and reapply it immediately after swimming, sweating and every 2-3 hours.
For children with truly sensitive skin, look for “chem free” sunscreens with zinc oxide and / or titanium dioxide instead of traditional carbon based ingredients, and for infants under 6 months old, while sunscreen is safe, it’s best to keep infants in the shade and out of direct sunlight.
Your take away should be that with few exceptions, children of all ages can use adult sunscreen, and adults of all ages can use kid’s sunscreen!
Now for today's skincare trivia! Answer today's question correctly and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free skincare product! Submit your answer at DermTV Dot Com Slash Trivia, within three days of this episode's airing. Today's question is:
How much traditional, carbon-based sunscreen do you need to use to protect the entire body of an adult in order to get the rated SPF protection on the label?
And don't forget. You can find the answer to all questions in past DermTV episodes.