Applying suitable sunscreen to your children is necessary to stop them getting sunburnt and provide them with excellent sun protection. A baby’s fair skin can suffer sun exposure damage in as little as 10 – 15 minutes. When we established Little Urchin, we found little available on the market that fit suitably with our environmental priorities related to using chemicals so we created at Little Urchin a natural* sunscreen that is suitable for use on babies (six months and older) as well as small children and adults alike.
When you’re planning a trip to the beach, or even if you’re going outside for a quiet BBQ, it’s very easy to get sunburnt from even a small amount of exposure. Recent recommendations are that we wear sunscreen every time we go outside to help protect us from the sun’s harsh rays. But what about babies? Is it suitable for them to have sunscreen applied every day?
In following the guidelines set out by the Cancer Council, any child over 12 months should have sunscreen applied to exposed areas of skin. For babies between six and 12 months of age, sunscreen should only be used as a last defence. For best results when using a sunscreen, one should be used that is specifically designated as suitable for young children like our Little Urchin Natural* Sunscreen. Sunscreen should not be used on babies under the age of six months and they should be kept out of both direct and reflective sunlight. When using a baby sunscreen on babies six months of age and older, it is best to first test it on a small patch of the baby’s skin and check for any reactions.
While it’s best to avoid the sun for babies, it just isn’t possible at all times. This is where using a baby sunscreen such as our natural* sunscreen can provide essential protection.
To apply the sunscreen, take a small amount and rub it directly onto your baby’s exposed areas of skin. As they have sensitive skin, apply it gently and keep going until you cannot see the sunscreen anymore. After the sunscreen is applied, you shouldn’t see any residue or shiny marks. This is how you’ll know that it has been applied properly. For best results, you should reapply after every two hours of sun exposure (the perfect time to use the timer on your phone!) or more often when taking the baby into the water.
While limiting exposure to harmful UV radiation is essential, full avoidance is often difficult to achieve. Babies under six months have very sensitive skin and should be covered with loose fitting clothing and hats so that as much skin as possible is covered and any not covered is shaded. Even wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection that meets the Australian Standard requirements for sunglasses should be used if possible. Babies between six and twelve months also have sensitive skin and suitable sunscreen should be used as a last resort.
Dermatologists disagree over whether to avoid using sunscreen on babies under six months of age, with some saying that a young baby’s skin is no different to babies over six months or young children. So you may wish to check with your dermatologist before deciding how best to protect your baby from the sun’s harsh rays.
Some sunscreens contain ingredients that may not be suited to a baby’s sensitive skin and these should be avoided. Choosing a suitable sunscreen can be challenging as sunscreen manufacturers in Australia are not actually required to list all the ingredients in their sunscreens. Only the ‘active ingredients’ must be listed – so this can make choosing the correct sunscreen for your child difficult.
At Little Urchin, we started developing sunscreen out of concern for what we and our children put on our skin in way of sun protection. We wanted to avoid synthetic chemicals, especially those that have been proven to destroy ocean life (such as, oxybenzone and octinoxate). We dedicated our efforts to finding the best way to protect ourselves and our children from harmful UV radiation while, at the same time, ensuring a suitable method of sun protection for sensitive skin. The result was our Natural* Sunscreen, a mineral-based sunscreen using non-nano zinc oxide as the active ingredient and which can be used as a baby sunscreen (for babies six months and older).
Importantly, always apply a small amount on the forearm of your child and check for any reaction. If you start to see any reddening of the skin, you should not use the product any further.
We strongly suggest that, when going outside with your child, you should be a role model for them and use plenty of sunscreen, such as our Natural Sunscreen which is also a Reef Safe Sunscreen. This will demonstrate to your child what they need to be doing later in life when they go outside. Our products are Australian made and are made with natural* ingredients that do not harm our environment.
*We use the term ‘natural’ because over 99.9% of the ingredients in our products are ones found in nature that are unharmful to the body and used in their natural form or are refined, purified or transformed in the laboratory from sources in nature. The refinement, purification and transformation processes of certain ingredients are chemical processes required to make the underlying, natural ingredients suitable for use in a sunscreen or moisturiser product. These processes do not involve the use of synthetic chemicals.