Sun Protection for Kids: FAQs and Tips for Parents

Published Date: 05.25.2024

Keeping your skin safe while you have Fun in the Sun!


Should we use sunblock every time we go out? Is there a difference between the cream and the spray? How often do I need to apply sunblock on the skin?

Summer Holidays are here and keeping your children’s skin protected is very important. Protecting your skin when you are young will decrease the risk of cancer when you get older. During the summer we encourage children to stay active by playing outdoors in the garden or swimming in the pool. This often happens during those peak sun times during the day. Remember to use Sunblock at least 30 minutes before heading outside. I also recommend first trying a small amount of sunblock on the skin to make sure there is no allergic reaction – Do a patch test and then apply it all over the exposed skin. I recommend using sunblock that says UVA and UVB and has at least 50 SPF. The sprays tend to be less effective so if you use those put them in your hand and then spread them on the exposed skin. The creams are better as they stick to the skin and offer better protection and moisturize the skin. If children are in the water the sunblock needs to be reapplied every hour and if you are just outside in the sun reapply every 2 hours to maintain that protection. Remember water resistant sunblock needs to be applied every hour but there is no such thing as waterproof sunblock.

Can I use sunblock on my baby? Is there an age limit? How can I protect the skin of my younger baby?

If you have a baby less than 6 months of age and you would like to enjoy time outdoors, for a walk in the neighborhood or park, by the pool, or at the beach then there are things you can do to protect your infant’s skin. Sunblock is not recommended for children less than 6 months old, but I recommend trying to avoid those peak sun hours (between 10 am and 4 pm), using a large brim hat, lightweight sun protectant clothes, and making sure you are hydrating your baby often.

How do I get my Adolescent child to use sunscreen?

Often teenagers have age-related changes in their skin like acne and pigmentation. The skin texture varies from dry to oily and so the type of sunscreen used may need to vary based on the type of skin. Gel sunscreen may be better for oily skin while cream sunscreens for the drier skin type. Children being treated for Acne are often recommended to be even more careful and ensure the use of appropriate sunscreen. I often also recommend lip balm with sunscreen to protect the lips. For those using makeup, the recommendation is to wash your face, then use sunscreen, moisturizer, and then makeup in that order. Remember as children get older, they need to be involved in the type of sunblock they use as it will increase the chances that they will continue to use it even without supervision from the parents.

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