With the constant drumbeat of reminders to put sunscreen on your skin, it might be confusing to consider what to do about that especially vulnerable skin of an infant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationrecommends that, generally, babies younger than 6 months old should not have sunscreen put on their skin.
"The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun, and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense." says Hari Cheryl Sachs, a pediatrician at the FDA.
Why shouldn’t babies get sunscreened?
Their skin is thinner, for starters, Sachs says. That means the chemical ingredients in sunscreens are more easily absorbed. They also have more surface area for their weight, compared with older people. That also means a great exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens – and a risk of inflammation or allergic reaction, Sachs says.