A recent study published in Medical Journal JAMA says that the chemicals in sunscreen enter the body just one day after use. Does that make sunscreen unsafe for children? Not until we have more facts.
“When we put these sunscreens on, they must be absorbed. There are not many studies showing how much absorption is done, or how much damage it does,” Dr. Rahul Nagpal, pediatric surgeon, Fortis Hospital, tells Parentology. “There has to be a longitudinal set of studies to assess that. As of now, the longitudinal studies say that it is desirable [to use sunscreen] on children.”
So using sunscreen is a must. But what are the top sunscreens for 2019 that are good for babies, toddlers, and children of all ages? We asked the experts.
First, Some Facts: What Is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor and is a measure of the amount of sunlight blocked by the product. Experts say that sunscreen must be at least SPF 15+ because it protects you from 90% of the sunlight. As SPF increases, protection percentage increases, but it can never reach 100%. Therefore, you must apply sunscreen as directed by doctors, industry regulators, and skin care experts.
How to Use Sunscreen
- Sunscreen must be applied at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun.
- Apply on all the exposed parts of your body, including feet, ears, neck, and top of the head.
- Creams provide better coverage than lotions because they spread more evenly.
- Reapply every 2 hours to continue being protected.
Some special notes for kids and sunscreen.
- Any sunscreen should be water resistant for kids who are playing (and sweating) or going in the water.
- No sunscreen is waterproof; you still need to reapply every 2 hours — maybe more frequently if they’re spending a lot of time in the water.
- Sunscreen sticks are on our list because they’re good for applying around the eyes.
- Higher SPF does not mean it offers more protection, just longer protection in the sun.
Dr. Apeksha Pathak, pediatrician, tells Parentology, “Chemical sunscreens are more effective than the mineral ones, especially if your child has to be out in the sun regularly. The mineral sunscreen is more like an umbrella protection that can be used for one-off or irregular activities like swimming or sea bathing.”
The doctors we spoke with stressed that all chemical products must be used on a risk-benefit analysis approach. Right now, the benefits of using sunscreen regularly far outweigh any potential risks associated with its use.
Top Sunscreens 2019 for Children
Doctors warn against using a product simply because it claims to be a sunscreen. Users must read the labels carefully to see they contain the essential components, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that activate to provide protection against the sun’s rays.
Here is our list of top 10 sunscreens for children in 2019.
- Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
- If you’re looking for an organic version: Thinkbaby – SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Organic Sunscreen
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Water Resistant Sunscreen Stick for Face and Body SPF 70+
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, Water-Resistant and Oil-Free, Broad Spectrum SPF 70+
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick with Broad Spectrum SPF 60 & Zinc Oxide, Water-Resistant, Hypoallergenic, Oil- & PABA-Free Baby Sunscreen
- Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Spray SPF 50
- Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 + Natural Insect repellent — The added insect repellent offers great 2-in-1 protection depending on where you’re using the sunscreen.
- For sensitive skin: Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 50 – UVA/UVB Face and Body Protection
- For sensitive skin: Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick – SPF 50 – UVA/UVB Face and Body Protection
- Great for the whole family — and the environment! Two Peas Organics SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen for Women, Men, Kids & Baby Friendly, Coral Reef Safe