Sun-Safe Babies and Kids with Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Physician, Dr. Scott McGregor
By Carly Simmonds
In anticipation of the arrival of our next bundle of joy, Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ (now available!), we sat down with We Are Feel Good Inc. Co-Founder and Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Physician, Dr. Scott McGregor, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding sun-safety for babies and kids.
What sunscreen should I use on my baby?
As babies under six months old have very sensitive skin which is more likely to experience a reaction, the use of sunscreen is not generally recommended. In situations where it can't be avoided, you’re better off using a safe sunscreen occasionally, than having your baby get sunburnt.
An infant's skin possesses little melanin, the pigment that gives colour to skin, hair and eyes and provides some sun protection. Therefore, babies are especially susceptible to the sun's damaging effects. If you are to use sunscreen, use a Broad Spectrum, SPF 50+ (at least), and ALWAYS do a patch test to ensure your baby does not have a reaction to the sunscreen.
Our Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 50+ and our all new Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ are both suitable for babies six months +. If you’d prefer to use a sunscreen with less active ingredients, we recommend using our Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ which is a mineral based, physical sunscreen able to achieve it's SPF 50+ rating due to new micronized zinc oxide technology.
Be sure to check that the sunscreen you use is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Sunscreens with an SPF rating higher than 15 must be approved and licensed by the TGA, as it is considered a medical grade product. The TGA maintains strict guidelines for sunscreen approval and licensing, including rigorous independent testing. They must meet mandatory requirements for labelling, advertising, testing and ingredient requirements.
What else can I do to protect my baby from the sun?
Apply our Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+, which is free from PABAs, parabens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, on your baby 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every hour. But don’t stop there! Ensure your baby’s face, neck and ears are protected with a wide-brimmed hat and cover as much of their skin as possible; choose cool, loose, long-sleeved clothing made from densely woven fabrics. Seek shade and aim to minimise your time outside between 10am-4pm during the summer period when UV levels are their strongest.
Can I use sunscreen on my child if they have eczema?
The exact cause of eczema is still unknown and to date, there is no cure. Triggers differ from person to person, so if you’re not yet sure of what causes your child’s eczema, we recommend starting a two-week diary. Write down what’s changing from day to day, and how your child’s skin reacts based on your child’s surroundings.
Skincare products that contain synthetic fragrances can also cause allergic skin reactions which lead to eczema. There are a number of ingredients in sunscreen that can cause the skin to sting, burn or itch and prompt your child’s eczema. These reactions can be caused by a variety of ingredients including UV filters (mineral & chemical), fragrances or common cosmetic natural ingredients.
We recommend using fragrance-free skincare products. However, it is extremely important you always do a patch test on your child before applying sunscreen (or any skin related products).
What if my child has a reaction?
As mentioned, it’s extremely important to do a patch test on your child before applying sunscreen. Our Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 50+ and Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ are both fragrance free and suitable for sensitive and delicate skin. If a reaction still occurs, it’s best to see your family doctor.
Can I use sunscreen when pregnant?
Sunscreen which has been approved by the TGA is safe to use during pregnancy. If you are worried, it’s advised to speak to your doctor.
During pregnancy, your skin can be more sensitive, so it’s important to cover up. Our Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ provides broad spectrum UVA + UVB protection and is water resistant up to 80 minutes. This fragrance free, gentle formula is paraben, PABA, octinoxate and oxybenzone free. Unlike other physical, zinc only sunscreens, Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is lightweight, non-greasy and rubs on clear!