Common Myths and Misconceptions About Baby Sunscreen

Fear is often used as a marketing tool and this has become a common tactic with baby sunscreen. Sensationalized articles exaggerate facts and figures or just downright lie about the “dangers” of conventional baby sunscreen so that they can influence parents to buy a “natural” sunscreen instead. As a parent, you want to keep your little one safe from any potential threats so you might hesitate to use sunscreen because you’re unsure if there is anything to the claims that are being made. Confronting the myths and misconceptions about baby sunscreen will help you make informed choices that will help keep your child safe and well-protected.


5 Common Misconceptions about Baby Sunscreen


  1. All Baby Sunscreens are the Same

Every sunscreen has a unique formulation with specific ingredients so no two sunscreens are exactly the same. This means that some sunscreens are more effective and less likely to cause a reaction compared to others. Sunscreens are classified into two types – chemical-based sunscreens and mineral-based sunscreens. When you see articles that focus on the dangers of baby sunscreens, you will notice that they are likely to list ingredients like oxybenzone, homosalate, and avobenzone. It’s true that these sunscreen ingredients should not be used on children but what they don’t mention is that these ingredients are used almost exclusively in chemical sunscreens. Baby sunscreens are mineral-based sunscreens that contain minerals that are not absorbed by your baby’s skin; instead, they form a protective barrier on your child’s skin to protect them from the sun’s UV rays. Compare the best baby sunscreens that have been vetted by dermatologists and medical experts to help you choose one that suits your baby’s needs.

  1. There’s no difference between Adult and Baby Sunscreens

Some parents think that sunscreens for babies are a marketing gimmick and that they can simply use their own sunscreen for their babies as well. This is a bad idea because baby sunscreens are specifically formulated for a baby’s delicate skin. Using an adult sunscreen on a baby increases the risk of a skin reaction which will be painful for your little one and can take weeks to completely heal. Furthermore, if your adult sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen, you will expose your baby to chemicals that are known to have endocrine-disrupting potential which could affect your baby’s development, especially if used on a regular basis.

  1. Water Resistant Sunscreens Don’t Wash Off

Do not confuse “water resistant” for “water proof”. Sunscreen manufacturers are not allowed to use the term “water proof” because no sunscreen is entirely impervious to water and all sunscreens will eventually wash off.  A water resistant sunscreen is one that maintains its SPF (Sun Protection Factor) after a certain amount of time in the water. According to FDA regulations, the sunscreen must retain its SPF protection for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. Check the product label of your baby’s sunscreen to see the duration of its water resistance and reapply accordingly.

  1. Sunscreen Causes Vitamin D Deficiency in Babies 

Everyone knows that Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because when our skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D. There are plenty of articles that advise new parents to start sunbathing their babies when they are just a week old so that they get sufficient vitamin D. This is a terrible idea because it will take several months for your baby’s skin to develop an adequate amount of melanin – the pigment in our skin that protects us from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that until babies are 6 months old, they should be kept out of direct sunlight. As for the claim that your baby will become vitamin D deficient if they are not exposed to sunlight – babies get vitamin D through breast milk or formula so you need not worry about that. 

  1. Sunscreen is Only for Summer

Although sunscreen is typically associated with summer, you and your family should use sunscreen throughout the year. In fact, going out on a cold and clear winter day after snowfall can drastically increase your UV exposure. This is because sunlight reflects off the snow which means that you get twice the exposure. Regardless of the season, apply sunscreen to all areas of your baby that are exposed to sunlight and if you are spending the day outdoors, carry your baby’s sunscreen so that you can reapply it every few hours.  

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