It can be a mind field when it comes to buying sun cream for children and even more so if your child has sensitive skin, so we thought we would share our tried and tested favourite ones with you.
Really everyone should protect their skin from the sun all year round and a lot of people don’t think of this during the winter months.
Here in the UK the most harmful months of the year is between March and October, so if you don’t protect your skin in the winter you should definitely look to cover up during these months.
The thing is for Parents nowadays, it can be a bit overwhelming when you go to the shops to get some Sun Cream for your family, as there is so much information to take in as each bottle seems to promise a difference thing.
So, to help you get your head around it here is some of the basics
It is important to look for a sunscreen that filters both UVA and UVB rays, this is known as broad spectrum.
UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn, however they also play the greatest role in causing skin cancers, including the deadly black mole form of skin cancer.
UVA rays also play a role in skin cancer formation, but these rays also penetrate deeper into the skin and play a greater role in premature skin aging and cause things like early wrinkle formation.
On sun cream the amount of protection you have against UVB rays is measured in SPF. So, the higher SPF number you buy the higher the protection you have against these rays, as long as you use the cream correctly.
For example, Sunscreens with SPF 50 protects against 98% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 15 sunscreens only filters 93% of UVB rays, so the higher SPF will lower your chances of sunburn.
On sun cream the amount of protection you have against UVA rays is displayed differently on each sun cream bottle.
The chemist Boots developed the UVA star rating system to show on their sun cream bottles how much protection you have against these rays, which includes 1 to 5 stars, so the more stars you have the more protection you have.
Now it’s important to remember is that is a Boots system and whilst they have allowed companies like Nivea, Ambre Solaire and Piz Buin to use it, they have also stopped other brands from using it.
So, it’s important to remember that just because a sun cream does not show these stars on its bottle does not mean that it has poor UVA protection, it’s just mean they have not been allowed to use this system.
It is not an EU requirement to have a UVA star rating, it’s a company branding system from Boots.
The Boots UVA star rating system is handy though, as it measures the ratio of UVA protection vs. UVB protection, so if a product has a low SPF it may still have a high level of stars, not because it is providing lots of UVA protection, but because the ratio between the UVA and UVB protection is about the same.
It can get a bit confusing but obviously you just need to try and get the highest protection as you can in both.
Cancer Research UK advice is to have at least SPF 15, High star rating with 4 or 5 stars or the letters ‘UVA’ in a circle which indicates that it meets the EU standard.
There are two types of sun creams, one is a mineral sunscreen and the other is a chemical sunscreen.
Each type uses different ways to filtering UV rays and protect the skin from damage.
Chemical Sun Creams are absorbed into the skin layers and they work by absorbing the UV rays and change them into heat, then release the heat from the skin.
As chemical sun cream has to be absorbed into the skin it does mean that it can take up to 20 minutes before it works and offers protection, but it does tend to last longer.
Mineral Sun Cream forms a protective screen on the skin to absorb and scatter harmful UVA / UVB rays before they even have a chance to touch the skin.
As mineral sun cream sits on the skin it offers instance protection, however it does mean you need to apply new layers more often.
The easiest way to tell if a sun cream is a mineral or chemical one, is that Mineral ones usually containing titanium dioxide as that’s what reflects the UV rays.
Dermatologists often recommend 100% mineral sunscreen for people with eczema, sensitive skin and for babies, as they are gentler on the skin.
Its also worth trying to get an un-fragranced option that uses no parabens.
Having kids that suffer from eczema and allergies we have tried out many different sun creams over the years and these are our Top options that we would happily recommend to other families.
Even if your little one doesn’t suffer with sensitive skin, these options are good for younger kids as baby’s skin is ten times more sensitive and therefore really need options like these to keep them safe as well as not irritated.
This is a Mineral Sun Cream and you can get it in a little stick at SPF 60, which is water resistant so great for kids at the beach or in and out of paddling pools, for just under £5 Or in a tube of cream at SPF 50+ for around £12
We found this one works well for all our kids with not reaction from any of them. It can be a bit hard to find in the shops and when you do its pricey but would definitely recommend as one to try and its even had the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
The only way we have found this Ladival sun cream is in large bottles with a spray gun, I’m sure they do sell it other ways but we tend to just buy the big bottles.
It’s has a good protection against UVA and UVB rays, its not greasy free of all the nasty parabens, its water resistant so again great for the kids at the beach and all their summer water play. The other neat thing about this sun cream is it even protects against prickly heat and sun allergy.
We loved this sun cream, worked find no reaction for any of the kids, downfall for sure is it is expensive, we tend to buy it online when special offers are on and its can be a bit tricky to find in the high street stores.
This has our top spot, Childs Farm Sun Cream is our absolute go to for sun cream these days.
It has good protection for both UVA and UVB rays and even gentle enough for new-borns, with no nasty parabens and is fragrance free.
It is vegan friendly, Cruelty Free and Water resistant at the same time as keeping the kid’s skin moisturised.
We love this sun cream especially the roll on version as we find it last longer when the kids take it to school as they cant squeeze the whole tube out in one go! Although you can buy it in a tube if you prefer.
This sun cream is a lot easier to find to buy places as the likes of Boots and Tesco always tend to have them in stock, however we quite often buy it from Amazon as it cheaper, like now it usually sells at £10 a bottle but Amazon are selling it for £7 so we have already bought our lots ready for school going back.
That is the only thing we would say about this sun cream is it has turned some of the kids white school t-shirts a yellow / green colour, mainly around the neck and arms, but then so has many others we have used.
it’s down to the ingredients because ideally you want the sun cream to dry before you put it near clothes but when kids do it themselves in school that rarely happens, so just be prepared for that. To be honest I can replace a few t-shirt easily, but a whole layer of my child’s skin not so easy, so happy to run with a few stains.
We have spent many years trying out various sun creams to finally get to this stage where we know what works and what doesn’t.
And that’s something to be mindful about, if your child suffers from eczema or sensitive skin then remember what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
Like many things its going to be trial and error and expect to experience some fails along the way. With sun cream its always a good idea to test it on a small patch in the inner arm for a few days before going mad and putting it all over the body. We have learnt from this mistake.
But hopefully by sharing our top three favourites it might highlight ones you have not heard of before and give you some new options to try If your stuck.
And don’t forget keeping the kids safe from the sun includes way more than just a Sun Cream, but getting a good one is definitely a great place to start.