The FDA recently announced concerns over using spray sunscreens on kids. Mainly the worry is the still-inconclusive effects of inadvertent inhalation (I like alliteration). I’ve never liked spray sunscreens, so I’m trying (rather unsuccessfully) not to be smug about this. There are few things that irk me as much as chilling poolside and inhaling a huge cloud of toxic fumes. I mean, have you ever noticed the majority of the spray doesn’t even end up on your kid’s body? What a waste.
Yet, I know this is a quick and easy sunscreen staple for many families. If you’re wondering what the best way is to safely apply sunscreen to your little one, you’ll be relieved to know there are still many options on the market.
When choosing a sunscreen for babies and children, go with something specially formulated for kids like ThinkBaby sunscreen. Usually, these products will be fragrance-free and mineral-based. Use an SPF between 30 and 50, and if you can find one that is water-resistant, that will be a big help when your little one is swimming or sweating. You also want to make sure the lotion you choose is free from PABA, parabens, phthalates, dioxin and petroleum-based toxic chemicals.
I know, getting little ones to hold still for even a nano-second is nearly impossible when the sun and sand is singing its siren song, but a few minutes of whining is far better than a lifetime of sun damage. If your pumpkin is a wiggle worm, invest in SPF clothing like a swim shirt and sun hat. This will mean fewer areas to cover with sunscreen and more consistent coverage for the more vulnerable areas like shoulders, nose and cheeks.
Speaking of cheeks, when you are applying sunscreen to your child’s face, be sure to smooth lotion away from their eyes and avoid their mouth. If you’re concerned about their lips getting sunburned (yes, this happens, if you’re not fair-skinned enough to have experienced it consider yourself lucky), there are great lip balms with SPF that can help protect without any dangerous ingredients.
If you simply can’t imagine getting through the summer without a spray sunscreen, avoid aerosol and opt for the spray lotions like this one from Goddess Garden. You can also check out Environmental Working Group for a list of the worst sunscreens for kids to make sure you don’t have any of the worst offenders on the list.