Babies are as much at risk of developing sunburn as adults when exposed to excessive UV rays from the sun. This article will give you a thorough rundown on baby sunburn. We’ll not only explain how to prevent sunburn in babies but also highlight some natural home remedies you can use to treat this skin problem.
Baby Sunburn on Face
Babies are more prone to sunburn than adults and if taken out or allowed to go out without necessary and/or adequate protection from the UV rays from the sun can leave them sunburned.
Being the part of the body that is most exposed to the sun, the face is most vulnerable to sunburn. As in adults, baby sunburn on face – or any other part of the body for that matter – will mainly make her skin appear reddened and feel warm to touch. The skin may also appear to be swollen and sore (you will know if touching it makes your baby look uncomfortable or even cry.
In more severe cases facial burn, the skin may blister and your little angel may develop fever.
Sunburn is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and is more often than not associated with the hot weather even though it can as well happen in cloudy condition when 77 percent of UV radiation still gets through according to Dr. Val Jones, MD, the author of the “Dr. Val and the Voice of Reason” blog.
Reflection of light off snowy and sea surfaces can also cause sunburn in babies as well as adults.
How to prevent baby sunburn on face
Here is a general guideline for preventing baby sunburn, be it on the face or any other part of the body:
Protect your baby: It is absolutely important to protect your baby from the sun’s UV rays by dressing her in pants, hats and long-sleeved upper clothing. For children aged below 6 months, keep them under the shade at all times.
Apply sunscreen: For children aged above 6 months, apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when going outdoors. Allow some 15 minutes for the sunscreen to get absorbed and reapply every couple hours or so when you are out in the sun. When shopping for your baby’s sunscreen, chose a product that is specifically designed for use in children.
Limit your baby’s exposure: Keep your baby away from the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is typically hottest.
Apply Baby Lotion on Sunburn?
You are probably wondering if you can apply baby lotion on sunburn. Well, applying a water-based alcohol free lotion is generally beneficial to sunburns. This helps to keep the skin moisturized and there is no harm in using most of the baby lotion products available on the market today.
Baby Oil on Sunburn
What about baby oil you ask. Well, a general rule goes: Don’t ever use petroleum based products on sunburns and that includes baby oil and Vaseline.
That baby oil is moisturizing to baby skin and is a great way to keep your little angel’s skin supple, healthy and smooth, but not when sunburned. It will only clog the pores, trap in heat, and make the sunburn more intense and that is the last thing you want for your baby.
Baby Sunburn Treatment
If the unfortunate has already happened and are wondering how to treat sunburn afflicting your baby, then here is a list of baby sunburn treatment options that you may want to consider:
Keep your baby adequately moisturized: Sunburn is often accompanied by dehydration and drinking plenty of fluids is greatly recommended. In that context, give your baby plenty of water and breast milk (or formula). Other fluids e.g. soup can as well provide extra water.
Give a cool bath: Allowing your baby to soak in lukewarm water bath can help to soothe her sunburned skin. You could add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water to make it more soothing. You can also get an oatmeal bath treatment formulation from your local drugstore to relieve your baby of itching.
After washing your baby, pat her skin dry and avoid rubbing the towel across.
Apply cool soaks: This is an ideal option for cases where only small areas of skin have been affected. Soak a clean washcloth in cool water (never iced water or ice) and then wring the water out before placing it onto the sunburned area of your baby’s skin for 10-15 minutes 2 to 3 times every day. You should however ensure that your child doesn’t get chilled.
Moisturize the sunburned skin: Your next course of treatment of baby sunburn is to apply a good water-based and alcohol-free lotion on your little angel’s skin.
Aloe vera gel: Applying an aloe vera gel to your baby’s skin after cleaning her up is as well effective in soothing the skin while relieving her of the itching that often get worse when the sunburned skin starts peeling.
Use appropriate clothing: It is important that you dress your baby in loose clothing in order to avoid irritating her sunburned skin.
Give your baby some pain relievers: To ease pain, you can use over-the-counter pain relieving medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Ensure that you give the correct does of medicine and if your baby is aged below 1 year, ask your doctor if it is okay to give her a pain relieving medicine.
As a general guideline, ibuprofen may be given to children aged above 6 months, but aspirin should never be given to children as it can increase the risk of a fatal but rare condition known as Reye’s syndrome.
Best Baby Sunburn Remedies – Natural and Home Remedies
“What are some of the best baby sunburn remedies that I can use to relieve the symptoms of sunburn?” This is a question sent to as in an email from one of our valued readers.
Well, a combination of cool baths and skin moisturizing (with a water-based lotion) would be your best bet. This is typically very effective approach and the sunburn will, in most cases, clear in as low as 3 days.
As for the lovers of natural remedies for baby sunburn, you will probably delight in knowing that aloe vera gel is just as effective a strategy. You can buy one in your local drugstore. Just ensure that the product you use is 100 percent aloe vera.
What to Do For Baby Sunburn or What to Put on Baby Sunburn
“What to do for baby sunburn” or “what to put on baby sunburn” if you like is a common concern in online forums targeted at parenting and baby care.
Treating baby sunburn is generally speaking a matter of keeping the sunburned skin cool (cool baths and soaks followed by moisturizing), and relieving any pain (anti-inflammatory medications) and itching (moisturizing, aloe vera and oatmeal bath).
All these have been covered in another section of this article.
In addition, you will also want to adhere to the following guideline:
- Keep your baby away from sun to avoid further damage until the skin has completely healed. You don’t want to end up with second sunburn to take care of or more severe sunburn (e.g. one that is blistering)
- Protect your baby in the future using a good broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15. You should however not use sunscreen for babies aged below 6 months.
- Do not use petroleum based moisturizers such as Vaseline as they can clog the pores and worsen the burn.
- Avoid Lidocaine and Benzocaine containing lotions and aloe vera gels as they are often irritating to the skin
- In case of blistering, don’t pop them out. If they break however, apply an antibacterial cream and a non-stick dressing.
When to call your doctor
You should seek medical attention if a child aged below 1 year suffers sunburn no matter how mild it seems.
As for children aged over 1 year, you don’t necessarily have to seek the attention of your doctor if the sunburn is just mild with symptoms such as skin redness, tenderness, and warmth. If your child however develops fever, you should talk to your doctor or pediatrician immediately.