If you’re expecting a baby, or have a little one, here’s what you need to think about when it comes to looking after your skin this summer.
Whatever your age and skin type, suncare is vital and we should all incorporate sun protection into our daily routine – especially during the warmer months.
There are, however, a few different requirements to consider for pregnant women and children. We asked experts from Cancer Research UK and Tesco Pharmacy for their top tips to keep your whole family safe in the sunshine this summer.
During pregnancy, you need to be really careful about sun exposure. Your varying hormone levels mean you’re likely to get much hotter than usual, and can become dehydrated very quickly.
Sun exposure and hormones are also linked to the development of patches of dark skin on your face – a common concern in pregnancy known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ or melasma gravidarum. So don’t just rely on your foundation or BB cream to protect your face.
“Even if your make-up label claims to offer sun protection, you’d need to apply several times the normal amount of foundation to get even close to the level of protection needed,” says Fiona Ogsun, Senior Health Information Officer at Cancer Research UK. She recommends applying sunscreen first, then putting your make-up on top and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day as normal.
The golden rules:
- Don’t rely on just foundation to protect your face – apply sun cream too
- Make sure your suncream is suitable for your bump – use a formula that doesn’t contain vitamin A. Tesco Pharmacy recommends: Nivea Sun Spray Pure & Sensitive SPF50.
- Differing hormone levels could leave you prone to acne – an oil-free formula may help.
Babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight altogether, and kept fully clothed and covered to eliminate any risk of sunburn completely.
Even babies over six months should avoid sun wherever possible – read our article for more information about the risks of sun exposure for babies.
The golden rules:
- Keep all babies out of the sun where possible. Make sure they’re wearing loose clothing and sunscreen, and attach a UV sunshade or parasol to prams and pushchairs
- Use a high factor formula, like Ambre Solaire Kids Sun Milk Factor 50+. Your GP can also prescribe a really high factor sunscreen for your little one if you’re particularly worried.
Toddlers and preschoolers
Chances are your active little one is going to want to spend as much time as possible swimming and splashing about this summer! But do remember to re-apply sunscreen regularly, even if it’s water-resistant.
“The sunscreen can be rubbed off by towelling, so reapplying regularly is crucial – especially when your child has just come out of the water,” says Fiona.
The golden rules:
- Re-apply suncream regularly. It’s a good idea for children to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the water for extra protection
- Keep your child in the shade as much as possible – buildings and wooded areas provide shade, and can also be used as a play area too.
- Make applying sunscreen more fun for impatient and wriggly little ones by choosing coloured creams in trigger bottles – Tesco Pharmacy recommends Nivea Children’s Coloured Sun Spray.
The golden rules for the whole family:
- “When choosing sunscreen, look out for the SPF and star rating. Use one with at least SPF15 (but more if you’re pregnant, and for little ones), and four or more stars,” says Fiona.
- Reapply regularly (at least every two hours and always after being in the water) – sunscreen can easily be rubbed, sweated or washed off. This applies to ‘once-a-day’ products too.
- In the UK, the sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm, so seek shade as much as possible between these times.
- Most sunscreens have a shelf life of two to three years, but always check the label for the symbol of a pot and letter M which shows the number of months it will last once opened.
- Store your sunscreen somewhere cool, as extreme heat can damage the protective ingredients it contains.
- “Remember that no sun cream will ever be effective as clothes or staying in the shade, so use a combination of these things for maximum protection,” says Fiona.
Now you’re prepped and protected, go and enjoy some fun in the sun with your little one!