Finding the Perfect Sunscreen
That Mama Bear instinct has only come out a couple times since baby’s birth six months ago. One time was when an off-leash dog came running at baby. I would have thrown myself in front of that rabid dog if needed. If he had been rabid. Or even a mean dog. Turns out he was neither and just wanted to play. But that’s not the point... It’s instinctive to want to protect your child, and when it happens, it feels completely innate.
One way you definitely want to protect your child that may not feel so instinctive is from the sun. That big, bad, and beautiful sun! If you’re outdoors a lot like us, you need a great sunscreen/sunblock combo.
Wike Baby started wearing sunscreen at 4 months old when we took a trip to sunny Florida. You’ll find a lot of guidance that says not to use sunscreen on your child until s/he is 6 months old. Our pediatrician was fine with using sunscreen earlier, provided it was mineral-based without all the crazy chemicals. That prescription sent me on a hunt for the best sunscreen, which I’d like to recommend to you. Side note: this is not a sponsored post. The opinions and research are my own. That being said, I am an Amazon.com lover and Amazon affiliate, so if you click on an Amazon link to purchase, I might get a small fee; however, the price won't change for you.
I’ve talked to a number of moms about sun protection and read countless articles. I’m no expert, but a mom on a mission can be quite thorough! Turns out that a few bad sunburns in childhood greatly increases your chances for skin cancer later on. Everyone needs sunscreen, no matter your skin tone. My wike baby’s skin is a little bit darker than my own, but she can still burn easily! Even the darkest of skin can burn. While lighter skinned people burn more quickly and have a greater risk of developing skin cancer, all types of skin can develop it. If you have skin, you need to protect it.
You need a sunscreen that combats both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens sold in the USA do both, but you can check that the label says “Broad Spectrum” to be certain. UVA rays essentially cause skin tans and aging, whereas UVB rays essentially cause burns. Both are very harmful to your skin. Contrary to popular belief, a burn does not turn into a tan, and a tan won’t protect you from a burn!
Cream sunscreens are recommended over spray sunscreens. Inhaling the spray can cause its own major issues. Additionally, you might not get the coverage you think you’ve gotten due to wind! That being said, if using a spray increases the chance that you’ll actually use sunscreen, you should do it. Spray sunscreen is better than no sunscreen!
You also need a sunscreen that is mineral-based, especially for your baby. These generally contain only zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide as active ingredients. While some chemicals in sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, these ingredients reflect the sun’s rays. The problem with the other chemical ingredients is that they have a higher risk of causing an allergic reaction. Additionally, some of them may interfere with your child’s endocrine system and hormones—something I find particularly alarming. There’s also concern that some of the ingredients in chemical-based sunscreens could actually be carcinogenic. From what I’ve read, I particularly stay away from oxybenzone.
If you haven’t downloaded the app ThinkDirty, do it now. You can easily scan the barcode or enter the name of a product and find out the app’s “Dirty Meter” rating. 0 is best and 10 is worst, meaning most “dirty” and with the most evil chemicals. The app breaks down each ingredient and gives you a rating for carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergies and immunotoxicities. It’s pretty fascinating and definitely helpful.
Let’s remember than even when you find the perfect sunscreen, you need to apply it properly. Did you know that the typical adult should be using a shot glass size amount of sunscreen per application? Be generous! And reapply frequently.
With all that I’ve learned and shared here, I’d like to recommend ThinkBaby Safe SPF 50+ Sunscreen. We’ve been using it on Wike Baby since she was 4 months old. She’s out in the midday sun almost every day (I know, I know, not recommended). It’s rated “1” on the “Dirty Meter”. She hasn’t had a burn yet, and I don’t feel like I’m putting something on her skin that will harm her. Additionally, the ThinkSport and ThinkBaby company seems like it is well-intentioned, researched, and socially responsible. A lot of people I know use Babyganics thinking it’s the best. I don’t use it simply because it the ThinkDirty app gives it a “5”, and I know I’d be thinking about that all day if I put it on my child’s skin! I’m no expert, so please do your own research, but definitely look into ThinkBaby.
Above all else, don’t let the sun keep you inside with your baby this summer! Find the perfect sunscreen and couple it with a great SPF hat and cool clothing. Then get out there and wike!
What do you look for in a sunscreen for your child? What sunscreen do you use?