Contrary to what has been widely believed and reported for many years, sunscreens are safe in children and can even be used on infants under 6 months.
At the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) meeting this summer, Dr. Mercedes Gonzalez from the University of Miami covered this topic specifically. She explained that while infant skin is certainly different than that of an adult, there is “nothing magical that happens” after 6 months of age that would make sunscreen any safer. The risk of absorbing any products on the skin is very minimal, even in babies younger than 6 months.
This news should not be taken as full license to leave baby out in the sun every weekend. Standard sun-exposure recommendations apply to everyone headed outdoors. Efforts should be made to stay in shaded areas whenever possible, especially from the strongest sun hours between 10am and 2pm. Sun-protective clothing – hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves – are always more effective than sunblock. Sunscreen should be a last layer of protection for your child, but it can and should be used.
When choosing a product, a water-resistant block with an SPF of 30 or higher is suggested. But like any product, the best one for your family is one that you will use.
“So the overall answer to the parents’ question, ‘Are sunscreens safe?’… the overwhelming answer here is yes, and the weight of the evidence shows there is no proven harm from sunscreen use”, concluded Dr. Gonzalez.
For more answers to your questions about sunscreens, call or stop by our office anytime.
Image from ParentMap.