Most Frequently Asked Questions About Sunscreen for Kids

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 29, 2023
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Here are some of the most common questions that are asked by parents online about kid's sunscreen.

Is sunscreen bad for kids?

No, the best rated sunscreen for kids isn’t bad for them. The purpose of sunscreen is to protect the skin from sunburn and to help prevent skin cancer. You certainly don’t want your child to swallow a bunch of sunscreen, but applying a generous amount to their exposed skin at least 15 minutes before they head out to play is good parenting.

How old do kids have to be to use sunscreen?

The Mayo Clinic recommends children be six months of age or older.

What does broad-spectrum sunscreen mean?

Broad-spectrum means protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which are found in what is called UV light. You may also see sunscreens called full-spectrum. Full-spectrum is another way of saying broad-spectrum.

What SPF should I choose?

Make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum with an SPF of at least 15.

How often do I need to reapply sunscreen to my child?

At least every two hours, but more frequently if your child is sweating or swimming. Many dermatologist recommends reapplying sunscreen after 40 minutes of swimming or heavy activity.

What ingredients should I look for in a sunscreen?

Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are mineral compounds that provide the most protection against UVA and UVB rays.

What about natural or organic sunscreens?

There are organic or natural options on the market; however, they are more prone to causing skin irritation than traditional, mineral-based sunscreens.

How can I tell if my child is allergic to sunscreen?

Allergies to mineral-based sunscreens are from the chemical formulation of the product rather than the specific sun-protecting elements of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Signs one of the compounds in the sunscreen is an allergen to your child include red skin, hives, itching or blisters where the sunscreen was applied. Please consult a dermatologist or allergist if you suspect your child’s skin is reacting to sunscreen.

Is spray sunscreen good for kids?

Spray sunscreen can be a good alternative to having to constantly reload your hand to slather your child from head to toe. However, spray sunscreen still needs to be rubbed in. So, if you’re choosing spray to reduce the amount of sunscreen on your hands, I hate to break it to you, but it isn’t effective until wiped in. Also, you shouldn’t apply spray sunscreen directly to your child’s face or anywhere near an open flame. The propellants in the product are eye irritants and are often flammable. Safety first!

Now that you have the most commonly questions answered, check out our reviews for the top-rated sunscreens for kids.

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