Safe fun in the summer sun!
It’s official, mamas – the Hong Kong summer is almost here and the rising temperatures have us all reaching for the air con. But if you’d rather get out and about, it’s time to make sure you’re clued up on all things sun-care. Sunscreen-savvy mamas ahoy!
The Centres For Disease Control And Prevention in the US recommend that when children are outside (even if it’s not that sunny!) they should always be well protected with:
- A hat (with a 3-inch brim to shield the face, ears and back of the neck)
- Sunglasses (with at least 99% UV protection, try the wrap around the head version for babies)
- Are kept within shaded areas
- Avoid going out in direct sunlight when the sun is at its most dangerous (10am to 4pm)
- Use lightweight, breathable fabrics to cover-up
- And invest in a good, safe, suncream suitable for babies and children
Not only are you protecting your little ones from burning, but you’ve also got to be mindful of sunstroke and overheating as well; your little munchkin can’t tell you if they’re too hot or in pain. For babies, invest in a sun umbrella for the stroller, but for those under six months old the Skin Cancer Foundation advises that it’s actually better to shield them from the sun rather than use any suncream (as their skin is too sensitive and delicate). However, the American Academy of Paediatrics has said that it’s ok to use a little suncream if you must, but only a small amount and make sure to do a skin patch test first (to make sure they are not allergic or have a reaction to the cream).
What To Look For In A Sunscreen For Children
So just what do you need to look for in a good suncream for babies and children? Used as protection (not as an excuse to stay in the sun longer, you little monkeys!), you can safely apply suncream all over babies and children over the age of six months old. Make sure to avoid their eyes when applying and use a damp clean cloth to wipe their eyes if any gets in there. Here are some pointers to look out for when choosing your go-to cream or spray:
- For sensitive skin and delicate areas (think tops of the ears, nose, cheeks, back of the neck etc.) reach for a suncream with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in the ingredients. They stay visible on the skin so you know these areas are well protected.
- Opt for a cream that has “broad-spectrum” on the label. This means that you’re covered for both UVB and UVA rays.
- It’s recommended that you go for a suncream that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. While most mamas will still reach for one that’s 20, 30 or even factor 50+, keep in mind that there’s actually not enough research yet to tell if that will keep your little ones better protected (this mama still has an SPF factor 50 for her daughter though…just in case!).
- And try to avoid creams with oxybenzone, due to concerns about mild hormone properties.
Make sure the whole family slather on the sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to going outside (not forgetting about those delicate areas; feet, ears, lips, hands, back of the neck and around the eyes – but very careful), and even if the cream says that it’s waterproof, reapply every two hours (especially after swimming, sweating or using a towel).
Read more: Where To Buy Swimwear For Kids In Hong Kong
Top Suncream Picks For Babies And Kids
Without further ado, here are some suncream options for kids that you can get either right here in Hong Kong, or elsewhere with delivery to your door:
Cancer Council Australia, Kids Sunscreen SPF50+ (110ml), $139
Babyganics, SPF50+ Baby Sunscreen Spray 6oz (177ml), $143.10
Mustela Very High Protection Sun Lotion SPF50+ (200ml), $360
Kiss My Face, Kids Sunscreen Lotion SPF30 (100ml), $115
Key Sun Zinke Babies & Toddlers SPF50+ Sunscreen Lotion (100g), $95
thinkbaby, Waterproof Sunscreen SPF 50+ (89ml), $84
Aveeno Baby, Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion, Zinc Oxide SPF 50 Sunscreen (88ml), $149
Neutrogena, Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunscreen Stick SPF 70+ (13 g), $79.07
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, Mineral-Based Sunscreen SPF30+ (148 ml), $155.06
Earth Mama Organics, Baby Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick, £19.29
Stores In Hong Kong That Sell Sunscreen
If you don’t want to shop online you can head along to the following stores in Hong Kong for a selection of these and other sunscreen brands as well:
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2020 and updated in May 2021.