Yesterday marked the hottest day of the year for the fourth day in a row, according to The Mirror. Meanwhile, temperatures this weekend are set to soar to 33 degrees C. As a parent, it can be tricky applying sunscreen to little arms and legs, but with the sun capable of burning a child’s skin in a matter minutes, it’s essential parents slather their little ones in the stuff. But, when your having fun in the sun with the kids, do you know the dos and don’ts of sun cream application?
Avoid using sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months
The NHS is against the use of sun protection products on infants aged under 6 months. Instead, they advocate keeping newborns in shaded areas and away from direct sunlight. Once your child hits 6 months, they should stay out of the sun as much as possible. However, when they are out in it, dress them in loose, lightweight clothing and ensure they wear a hat. To protect their skin, choose a sun cream which is designed especially for young skin and which offers the ultimate protection.
Know your SPFs
Sunscreens come in a variety of factors and it can be difficult to know which is best for your baby’s skin. Baby Centre advises that SPF is the minimum factor you should use on a child. Although, if you can go higher, it’s always best to do so as higher factors offer more protection from UVB rays, as below:
- SPF 15 blocks 93%
- SPF 30 blocks 97%
- SPF 50 blocks 98%
UVA is important too
It’s important to note that you also need to carefully review the UVA star score on sunscreen. The British Association for Dermatoligists state that UVA exposure is associated with skin ageing. This exposure affects the elastin in the skin and leads to wrinkles, premature ageing and skin cancer. Most worryingly, UVA can penetrate through windows, therefore UVA protection is vital when selecting sunscreen for your child.
In the UK, sunscreen contains a 0 to 5 UVA star rating. A rating of 4 or 5 offers good protection, so avoid choosing products with fewer stars. The great news is that budget sunscreens tend to come out on top for UVA protection. Asda, Morrisons and Aldi’s own brand sunscreens offer 5 stars and beat the likes of Garnier.
Apply liberally & re-apply
It’s best to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to your child heading outdoors. The Skin Cancer Foundation has revealed most people apply far too little sunscreen. Therefore, be sure to use the equivalent of a shot glass full. Always re-apply after being in water, too.
Sunscreen is a summer essential when you’ve got a youngster in tow. Remember to keep little ones out of the sun as much as possible and when they reach 6 months of age, ensure you cover them in sunscreen. Carefully consider the SPF and UVA rating of the product you choose and re-apply regularly.
What are your top sunscreen tips?