Summer is heating up, and so are fun outdoor activities like splashing in the pool or playing soccer at the park. The more time your littles spend outside, the more they’re exposed to the sun’s powerful rays.
To get some advice on protecting your child’s skin from the sun, we connected with Dr. Anna Karp, a double-board-certified dermatologist practicing at the Skin Institute of New York. Anna shared her tips on sun safety in this interview:
Sunscreen is the biggest priority for caring for our skin in the summer. How are kids' and babies' skin different from ours in terms of sun exposure?
Babies and kids have sensitive skin that can burn easily. Their skin is thinner and has less melanin than adults. For babies six months old and younger, it’s best to keep them in the shade and avoid using too much sunscreen.
What can we do to make sure that our little one's skin is safe from the sun while they’re swimming, at the beach, and playing outside?
Applying a good base layer of sunscreen at home and re-applying throughout the day is essential. I also love hats, UPF clothing (like Play by Little Sleepies), and bathing suits with extra coverage. If you can avoid being out in the bright sun when it’s strongest, between 10 am-2 pm, that is best.
How often should we be reapplying sunscreen?
Every two hours is a best practice!
What tips do you have for parents/caregivers applying sunscreen when their kids are squirmy or resistant to sunscreen?
Making it a routine is helpful! Nobody goes out before applying sunscreen. If they see you using it, they’re more likely to put it on. As they get older, you can also talk about avoiding painful sunburns!
One of my favorite tricks is to use a makeup brush or a small two-inch paint roller to make it fun to apply. There are also sunscreen sticks that are easier to apply on their face.
What do you look out for when buying sunscreen?
I avoid sprays because getting an even application is hard, and you run out quicker than with cream. Make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 but SPF 50 is even better; there is not much of a difference after that.
What’s in your beach bag?
Sunglasses, SPF lip balm, snacks, my Kindle for reading, and multiple sunscreens.
Any recommendations for a more gentle sunscreen?
We hope this interview helped give you some tips to keep your littles’ skin safe this summer. For more skincare advice for babies and toddlers, give Dr. Anna a follow on Instagram!