"For babies six months and older."
It's the recommendation you see on all sunscreen labels, but what does it really mean? Is your baby a tiny vampire you have to keep completely out of the sun? That seems highly impractical, but how about it?
When can babies use sunscreen??
Up until just last year, the common medical knowledge was that babies should not wear sunscreen before six months of age. We were advised to just cover the little bundles up and keep them out of the sun – which is still good guidance!
But inevitably some precious baby parts will be exposed to everyday rays, and in 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics said when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents CAN apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF on infants under six months to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands.
However, the FDA hasn't caught up with this new recommendation and still requires all sunscreen labels to state that it is only safe for babies over six months. So, you’ll notice that warning on all sunscreen labels.
You should also know the distinction between chemical and mineral sunscreens – which is basically just how it sounds. Mineral sunscreens use minerals like zinc oxide as their active protective ingredient, while chemical formulations usually use a chemical called Oxybenzone (ranked as a high health concern hazard by EWG). Reputable sources like The Mayo Clinic advise using mineral sunscreens on babies, as chemical sunscreens are more likely to irritate your baby’s skin.
Hello Bello’s Sunscreen uses broad-spectrum UVA + UVB mineral protection non-nano zinc oxide. Our formula is water-resistant up to 80 minutes with an SPF of 50. Fun fact: Zinc Oxide is the only FDA-approved sunscreen ingredient that protects against all 3 types of UV rays (UVB, UVA2, and UVA1) all by itself.
It’s also important to note that our sunscreen is reef-friendly, meaning it does not contain harmful chemicals which have negative effects on the ocean’s coral reefs. And it's a legit concerning issue. In fact, in 2018 the state of Hawaii passed a bill banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.
The best way to protect babies from the sun is to keep them in the shade as much as possible, dress them in protective clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses. But you also want to make sure baby doesn’t get overheated, so you may consider providing shade with an umbrella or pop up tent.
But if your little one is going to show a little skin on a sunny day, be sure to provide protection with a gentle mineral sunscreen. And, of course, always check with your family doctor!
(P.S. For the rest of the family, this is a friendly reminder to apply an adequate amount. Did you know most people apply less than half the sunscreen they need? Read more about that here.)