Is it dangerous to put sunscreen on my infant?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

It's best to keep babies who are under six months old out of direct sunlight. Dress them in sun protective clothing if they do have to be outside. Lightweight long-sleeved pants and shirts, plus a wide-brimmed hat, will shield your baby's face and body from the sun. If you don't have protective clothing, you can apply a small amount of SPF 15 sunscreen to small areas of your baby's skin, such as the face and backs of the hands. Once the child is at least six months old, it's safe to use sunscreen on the face and body. Choose broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays. Talk to a dermatologist for more information.


Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
I too have always read and believed that you shouldn't apply sunscreen to an infant's skin before the age of six months. The worry was that a baby's skin will absorb and react to harsh chemical ingredients more readily than an older child's. Now I don't necessarily agree with that thinking. Here's what I recommend (as a dermatologist and a mom): I would use a sunscreen on my baby if he or she were outside in direct sunlight. I'd make sure to use a mineral sunblock such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that is gentler on the skin. But try to avoid micronized or nanosized ingredients. And the formulation should be baby-safe, with more natural than synthetic ingredients. Even better, make sure your infant avoids the direct sun completely. But if you're going to be outside for an extended period of time with your child, you must protect his or her skin. Make sure your baby wears a hat and stays under an umbrella or a sun-protective tent. Remember, your child is still getting sun even in the shade, and a covered baby stroller offers no more protection than an umbrella.
Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.