By | 2017-06-22T15:25:05+00:00 June 22, 2017 |0-1 yr, 1-3 yrs, 3-5 yrs, 5+ yrs, Latest Posts, Sun & Outdoors|

With the summer season fast approaching and parents wondering if they need sunscreen for their babies and children, we’ve put together a simple sun care guide. You’ll find answers to the top questions parents are asking and our recommendations for the safest and most effective sunscreens.

We are all aware that too much sun exposure, leading to repeated sunburns can be harmful, and may increase the risk of skin cancer in some people. However we also have to keep in mind the importance of sunshine: sunshine is life giving, stimulates all sorts of metabolic processes within the human body, including the all important synthesis of Vitamin D3.

Just like most aspects of life, balance is the key word with sunshine – the right amount to receive all the life giving benefits without overdoing it and risking sunburn.

The following suggestions and recommendations are made based on this understanding.

Does sunscreen alone provide enough protection from UV rays? No. In fact, sunscreens are shown to only be able to provide partial protection. According to the EWG, “limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing are more important.”

What are the best ways to protect babies under 6 months from sun damage?

  • Sun avoidance.
  • If you are planning to be outside with your baby, make sure to put a wide brim hat on their head, clothing that covers all of their skin and sunglasses. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • If there are areas of skin that are going to be exposed to the sun and you have no other way of covering it, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that a sunscreen should be applied. But, choose a safe sunscreen.

What are the best ways to protect babies over 6 months of age and children?

  • Keep babies and children in the shade as much as possible.
  • Put tightly woven clothing on your baby or child to provide protection.
  • Make sure they wear a hat with a wide brim (at least 3 inches). To keep hats on, choose one with a chin strap. Older children may want to wear baseball style hats, but the back of their necks will need to be covered or sunscreen applied.
  • Use a safe sunscreen and apply to all exposed skin. Reapply as needed.
  • Be aware that surfaces can reflect UV rays and cause sunburn. These surfaces can include sand, cement sidewalks, snow, lightly-colored outside walls and being near or in water.
  • Avoid being in the sun between 10am and 4pm.
  • If your child is in daycare, check if personnel apply sunscreen. Request that they use the one you provide to make sure it is safe and effective.

What is the safest and most effective sunscreen?

We recommend only using a “physical” block sunscreen – one that doesn’t allow UV rays to penetrate the skin. In this category, the choice is between zinc oxide and titanium oxide. However, the safest and most effective physical block sunscreen is zinc oxide because it provides better UVA protection than titanium oxide.

If you choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide, you are on the way to avoiding all the other chemicals and ingredients that can cause harm rather than protect. This includes chemical sunscreens using oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and all spray sunscreens. Never use spray sunscreens even if they have zinc oxide. There are inhalation risks, concerns about their coverage and the FDA has yet to make a determination about their safety.

SafBaby’s Recommended Sunscreens:

keys solar rxKeys Solar Rx – This sunscreen has been rated #1 by Consumer Reports and offers UVA and UVB protection with 20.5% uncoated nano zinc oxide as its active ingredient (~25 nm). (See information on nanoparticles below). It is vegan, gluten-free, chemical-free, not tested on animals and made in the USA. This is not a product for extreme hot weather, sports or swimming but daily use.

Other ingredients are: organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil and sunflower vitamin E. They do not test on animals. Inactive ingredients are shea butter, avocado fruit oil, black seed oil, carrot seed oil, vegetable glycerin USP, red palm vegetable wax, aloe vera, blood orange essential oil, clary sage essential oil, rosemary essential oil.

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) rates products from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best score and 10 the worst. Keys Solar Rx has a 1 rating.

SafBaby favicon 32Recommended by Mary Cordaro, SafBaby’s Healthy Building, Indoor Environmental and Product Expert and Certified Baubiologist.

 

 

 

badger sport sunscreen

Badger Sport Sunscreen – This sunscreen is water and sweat resistant. It offers UVA and UVB protection using non-nano uncoated zinc oxide 22.5%. Other ingredients are: organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, organic jojoba oil and sunflower vitamin E. They do not test on animals. Inactive ingredients are shea butter, avocado fruit oil, black seed oil, carrot seed oil, vegetable glycerin USP, red palm vegetable wax, aloe vera, blood orange essential oil, clary sage essential oil, rosemary essential oil.

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) rates products from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best score and 10 the worst. Badger Sport Sunscreen has a rating of 1.

SafBaby favicon 32Recommended by Mary Cordaro, SafBaby’s Healthy Building, Indoor Environmental and Product Expert and Certified Baubiologist.

 

 

 

I’ve read that Nanoparticles are not safe.  Is that true?

There is a lot of misinformation about nanoparticles. First, it is important to understand that all nanoparticles are not alike. For example, nano zinc oxide is a very different material than nano silica. We’re limiting the research referenced here to nano zinc oxide and nano titanium oxide.

There are now over 500 research studies that have not been able to produce any evidence that zinc oxide or titanium oxide nanoparticles are being absorbed. (SCCS 2013) (Nanoderm 2013) (Sadrieh 2010).

In 2012, Europe’s SCCS (European Committee on Consumer Safety) approved the use of nano zinc in European suncreens.  Note that they do not allow its use in sprays or powders. The Australian Government Department of Health also approved its use. (TGA 2013).

After reviewing all of the research, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) states that “at present, all available evidence suggests that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be safely used in sunscreen lotions applied to healthy skin. Unlike other consumer products with nanomaterials, sunscreens play an important role in cancer prevention.”

How can I protect my baby and children in the water?

The first step would be to have your baby or child wear darker, tightly woven clothing that provides a block as well as a broad-rimmed hat.

Sun protection swimwear with UVA and UVB coverage is available, but many companies add chemicals to the clothing. The EWG recommends rash guards (sun protection shirts) because of research findings that a water resistant sunscreen will not provide enough coverage.

Ecostinger is a company that makes sun protection swimwear for babies, boys, girls and adults. The fabric does not have chemicals, is made in Italy and is lightweight. It is a polyester/PBT fabric. While this will provide protection for most of the body, a water resistant sunscreen is a must for the face as the UV rays that are reflected from the water are of great concern.

pink ecostinger

blue ecostinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about high SPF’s?  Don’t sunscreens with the highest SPF provide the best and longest protection?

This is the most misunderstood issue about sunscreens. Unfortunately, it leads people to believe that they are protected. In fact, it led the FDA to create new regulations for sunscreens and they are considering ending the marketing claims of SPF’s above 50+.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and only relates to UVB radiation which causes the top layers of the skin to get burned. Of greater concern are UVA rays which penetrate much deeper, are known to compromise the immune system and linked to serious skin cancers.

Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage that will protects against both UVA and UVB. Those with SPF factors above 50 are not recommended.

See For Yourself

Watch this surprising video as an ultraviolet camera reveals sun-damaged skin and how sunscreens create a barrier to the sun.