Tips for choosing a sunscreen/sunblock for your child.

  • Use a “Broad-spectrum” product. Broad spectrum means that the sunscreen protects agains UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns.

  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and apply 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.

  • Choose a water-resistant sunscreen (reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming, sweating or towel drying)

  • If you have sensitive skin, try to avoid para-aminobenzoic (PABA) and benzophenone based sunscreens.

  • Try to avoid sunscreens with the chemical oxybenzone that may have hormonal properties.

Sunblock vs Sunscreen

(Based on “Sun Safety” handout from Specially For Children Pediatric Dermatology) 

Sunblocks – Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide in sunblocks are physical barriers that reflect, scatter, and absorb both UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the skin. These ingredients rarely cause allergic reactions.

(1) Neutrogena products containing “purescreen”Some “easy to find” examples recommended include the following: 

(2) Aveeno baby with “mineral block”

(3) Mustela High Protection Sun Lotion

(4) Blue Lizard (sensitive, baby or face)

(5) Coppertone (sensitive skin, and water babies pure and simple).

Sunscreens change the sun’s rays after they penetrate the sunscreen. These products need to be labeled as “stable” or “photostable” to be most effective.

Examples of sunscreens include the following:

(1) Neutrogena products containing “Helioplex”

(2) Aveeno products with “Active Photobarrier Complex” (3) Banana Boat with “AvoTriplex

(4) La-Roche Posay products containing “Anthelios”

Call your pediatrician if your child (less than 1 year old) gets a sunburn, or if your child’s sunburn causes blisters, pain or fever.