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A Dermatologist’s Summer Skincare Tips for Babies & Toddlers

kids playing with blocks wearing pajamas kids playing with blocks wearing pajamas
kids playing with blocks wearing pajamas

Summer is here! The weather is hot, and your family is spending more time outdoors. That means sun, bugs, and plenty of sweat! All that to say, summertime sure is fun, but it can take a toll on your little ones’ sensitive skin. 

We believe in going to the experts to give you the best advice, so we reached out to a double board-certified dermatologist and mother, Dr. Anna Karp. She shared her insights on summer skincare-related issues for babies and toddlers and how to best address them. Here’s what we learned:

Should your skincare routine for your littles be different in the summer?

Definitely! There’s generally more moisture in the air during the summer, so your skin isn’t as dry. The same thing goes for your kids. I always recommend switching to lighter lotions over heavier creams to help with this adjustment.

Does my child need to bathe everyday in the summer?

It’s okay to let your little ones go a little dirty!  Daily baths can dry out your kid’s skin, especially if it's already sensitive. If you can skip some days, it’ll definitely benefit their skin. Use your best judgement!

Is heat rash common for babies and toddlers? What are some ways parents can help avoid it?

Yes, heat rash is very common and comes from sweating.  The most important thing you can do is keep your child cool. Try to avoid long periods out in the sun and seek shade whenever possible.  

What’s the best way to care for their skin after swimming in chlorinated pools?

After chlorine, I think a fresh water rinse is necessary.  Moisturizing with a ceramide rich moisturizer like Cera Ve while their skin is still damp will help their skin recover from chlorine’s drying effects.

Any tips for sunburns or bug bites?

If your child gets a sunburn, I recommend a cool bath or cloths soaked in cool water to help calm their skin. Make sure they drink plenty of extra fluids as well. Oatmeal baths also help soothe the skin. Aveeno makes one that works really well!

Applying Hydrocortisone 1% cream over sunburns and bug bites is helpful and very safe.  I recommend using it three times a day to reduce swelling and pain.  Aloe vera gel also helps!

Talk to us about sunscreen? What should parents look for?

Look for sensitive skin or mineral sunscreen on the label. Common active ingredients in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which offer protection without irritating their sensitive skin like most chemical sunscreens.

I also always recommend avoiding spray sunscreens. While they may seem convenient, it’s tough to get full coverage, and your little one may inhale the spray in the process.

Last but not least, always remember to reapply! 

In addition to sunscreen, how else can we protect their skin from the sun? 

Keep their skin covered when you’re in direct sunlight. Try to dress them in UPF fabrics as these block the majority of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays.  

What types of fabric are best for little ones with sensitive skin to wear when it's hot?

Opt for soft, breathable fabrics that dry quickly when they sweat. Bamboo viscose is an excellent option for little ones to wear when it’s hot because it’ll keep their skin cool! The other benefit to bamboo viscose is that it won’t trap sweat which can irritate a kid’s skin.

I love Little Sleepies’ Shorty Zippies during the day for my daughter, and their PJ sets always keep her cool enough on hot summer nights.  

We love sharing resources to help you on your journey with your littles. Be sure to follow Dr. Anna on Instagram for more skincare advice for babies and toddlers! And remember to connect with us in our VIP Group to meet like-minded parents and caregivers.


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