Best Sunscreens for Kids
July 23, 2019 by Kaitlin Balram


Camp Walden

Recent data released by NASA showed that this past June was globally the hottest ever recorded. With kids out of school for the summer months, many are enjoying the nice weather by attending camp, but given the recent climate trends, they should be careful while having fun in the sun.

Remembering to apply sunscreen is very important because it decreases your chances of melanoma, sunburns and heat stroke. Sunburns that end up blistering increase chances of melanoma by 50 percent. Sunscreen also prevents signs of aging such as brown spots.

The first step in being sun safe is making sure kids wear sunscreen. But with so many brands and types of sunscreen on the market it can be hard to know which one to choose. Firstly, if you’re deciding between a lotion or spray formula, experts say ditch the spray immediately. Although the spray formula is convenient and fast it has some flaws.

SPF is measured by quantity and spray sunscreens can’t properly be tested for the amount SPF protection they have, explains Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, medical director of The Bay Dermatology Centre in Toronto, Ont.

The second step is knowing how much SPF protection one needs. For Dr. Skotnicki, 50+ SPF is the best because most people under apply so even if it says SPF 50 they are probably only getting SPF 30 coverage.

The amount of SPF protection is a big part of choosing a sunscreen and is commonly what most people look at when deciding on one, but it is also important to make sure the sunscreen used is 100% mineral based. Mineral-based sunscreen, often referred to as physical sunscreen, is the choice for many specialists because it actually physically blocks UV rays instead of using chemicals to absorb rays.

There’s also a good chance that your kids have complained about sunscreen being too greasy, or it dripping in their eyes while playing sports; and although these problems can be annoying that doesn’t mean you should give up and not wear any.

Dr. Skotnicki recommends trying a few different brands of sunscreen until you find one that works well with your skin type and daily activities. She recommends using a stick sunscreen for areas of the face, like around the eyes so that it doesn’t drip and sting them. She also says that gel sunscreens are great for camp because they aren’t as greasy and heavy as lotions. She recommends Ombrelle gel sunscreen. Finding a sunscreen that works for you is important because it needs to be reapplied every two hours and more often when in water, so find one that works for your child’s needs.

A problem that many teenagers face when it comes to wearing sunscreen is acne. Sunscreen can make skin greasy and clog pores, Dr. Skotnicki says many of her patients who have had this problem use Neutrogena Clear Face sunscreen.

As for sunscreens in general that are good for kids, La Roche-Posay, Bioderma and Vichy are brands that have put the science into their formulas and provide good coverage for this hot summer, says Dr. Skotnicki. Sunscreen is important for all ages as for kids under the age of eight she recommends Avène, which she has used on her own kids.

It’s important to know the best sunscreens but it’s also important to know what ones to stay away from. Experts, including Dr. Skotnicki, say stay away from natural and scented sunscreens because you don’t need botanical scents added to sunscreen and they can be photosynthesizing.

Other than wearing sunscreen you can also protect yourself this summer by wearing UPF clothing and hats with brims, especially for campers outside all day!

Enjoy your summer….and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!



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