Babies and Sunscreen | Dermatologist-Recommended Sunblock for Infants

Babies and Sunscreen | Dermatologist-Recommended Sunblock for Infants

Christopher Schmidt, MD

Christopher Schmidt, MD

Co-Founder & Dermatologist


“What is the best sunscreen or sunblock for babies?”

This is one of the most common questions patients who are expecting or have young kids ask me. I always appreciate this question because parents need to be very careful when choosing a good sunscreen for their babies and young children.

Generally, babies and young children have more permeable and sensitive skin than adults. Several factors contribute to this, including:

1. Skin Thickness: Babies have thinner skin compared to adults, which means that chemicals may penetrate more easily through their skin barrier.

2. Higher Surface Area to Volume Ratio: Babies' skin has a relatively larger surface area compared to their body weight, which increases the potential for substances to be absorbed through their skin.

3. Less Developed Barrier Function: The skin barrier in babies is still developing, making it less effective at preventing the absorption of substances from the environment.

4. Increased Sensitivity: Babies' skin is more sensitive and prone to irritation compared to adult skin. Chemicals absorbed through their skin may increase the risk of allergic reactions or adverse effects. 

What to look for in baby sunscreen?

1. Mineral-Based Sunscreen: Opt for mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. These ingredients are not absorbed through the skin like the ingredients in chemical sunscreens can be. They also create a physical barrier on the skin's surface, effectively blocking both UVA and UVB rays.

2. SPF 30 or Higher Sunscreen: Select a sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher to provide adequate protection against the sun's harmful rays. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98% of UVB rays.

3. Fragrance-Free Sunscreen: Look for fragrance-free sunscreens that are hypoallergenic to minimize the risk of irritation or allergic reactions, especially for babies with sensitive skin. Typically, hypoallergenic sunscreens will undergo dermatologist testing to be deemed safe for sensitive skin.

4. Water-Resistant Sunscreen: Choose a water-resistant sunscreen, especially if your baby will be in the water or sweating. Water-resistant formulas provide longer-lasting protection.

Dermatologist-recommended sunscreen for babies

The best sunscreen for babies is the same sunblock I recommend for all my patients: Dermasport’s SPF 50 Facial Sunscreen. It checks all the boxes as a fragrance-free mineral sunscreen with SPF 50 protection. We originally formulated Dermasport’s sunscreen for swimmers and aquatic athletes, which makes it very water resistant.

Best of all, it’s a more affordable baby sunscreen than many popular brands.

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