5 things you should know about sun block for kids

August 28, 2017
  • The numbers game
    1 / 5 The numbers game

    When buying sunscreen for Junior, choose one that shields his skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. The former causes sunburn, while the latter can contribute to skin cancer. Also look out for the product’s sun protection factor (SPF) and PA ranking.

    SPF measures how long skin is protected from UVB rays and sunburn, while the PA ranking measures protection against UVA rays. Dermatologist Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic, suggests buying a sunscreen containing an SPF of at least 15.

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  • What formula?
    2 / 5 What formula?

    Kids with sensitive skin may prefer creams, sticks or lotions, as these are generally not as drying as gels, fluids or sprays, says Dr Low. Children’s skin is also more sensitive than adult skin, so lotions or creams may feel more comfortable or irritate their skin less.

    “On young children, sunscreens that remain white after applying – at least for a few minutes – also help you ensure complete coverage,” Dr Low adds. “Obviously, if your child is going to be swimming, sunscreen that does not come off in the water is desirable.

    “For very young kids, choose a formulation with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these are largely inert, non-irritating chemicals that provide good broad-spectrum protection.”

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  • Apply, apply, apply…
    3 / 5 Apply, apply, apply…

    For the best protection, slather on sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect Junior’s ears, nose, lips and the tops of his feet. If using a spray, Dr Low recommends generous applications. Then use your hands to spread the formulation all over his skin.

    On the face, she recommends spraying the sunscreen onto your fingers and smoothing it on, rather than spraying directly – he may inhale it or get it in his eyes.

    Related: You forgot the sunblock for baby! How to treat sunburn now

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  • … and apply again
    4 / 5 … and apply again

    Sunscreen – even the waterproof and water-resistant kinds – should be reapplied throughout the day, especially after your child swims or exercises, Dr Low advises. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean kids are then able to stay out longer in the sun than they would otherwise.

    If Junior is going to be spending a substantial amount of time outdoors – for instance, during a sports competition – then you should apply sunscreen to exposed areas of his skin, and reapply the product every couple of hours.

    “Even if it looks cloudy, children still need protection when they’re outdoors,” says Dr Low. “It’s the UV rays, not the temperature, that do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays; they filter them – and sometimes only slightly.”

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  • Wear protection, too
    5 / 5 Wear protection, too

    For optimal coverage, Dr Low suggests putting your little one in sun-protective clothing on top of the sunscreen. They’re designed for use outdoors, and made from fabric that is rated for its level of UV protection.

    Related: 4 ways to beat the heat with baby

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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