The effect of sun on babies and children – And how to protect their skin

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Freckled skin needs careful sun protection

Certain skin conditions, such as Atopic Dermatitis, can also make children’s skin more sensitive to the sun. You can find out more in Sensitive skin: why does it need daily sun protection?

Much of the visible sun damage that we see on our skin when we’re older, for example photoaging (premature skin aging caused by the sun) and issues of hyperpigmentation is a result of over exposure to the sun in our younger years. And, of course, over exposure to the sun can lead to skin diseases such as cancer. Studies indicate that sunburn during childhood can double a person’s risk of skin cancer1.

A sensible attitude to how much sun your child’s skin is exposed to, and the use of sun protections products that support and strengthen skin’s own defenses, will help you to keep their skin healthy. 


  1. JID 2003, Jun 120(6):1087-1093

How can I protect my baby/child’s skin from the sun?

A sensible attitude to the sun will help you to minimize the risk of sun damage to young skin:

  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight.
  • All children should stay out of the sun at peak hours between 11 am and 3 pm. This is when UVA and UVB rays travel a much shorter path through the earth’s atmosphere, and so are considerably stronger in intensity. Even sunscreens with high SPFs don’t filter 100% of the sun’s rays.
  • Cover your child’s skin with protective clothing and/or create shade where there isn’t any by using a sun protection tent.
  • Use a very high factor sun protection product to protect their delicate skin. Look out for products that offer UVA and UVB protection and HEVIS light defense.
  • Apply sun protection thoroughly and re-apply regularly to ensure you maintain the level of coverage.
  • Be mindful of the fact that sun-induced skin damage can occur even before sunburn is visible.
  • Remember that, even on cloudy days, UV levels can be high and HEVIS light is present.
  • Apply an After Sun after exposure to help care for your child’s skin.

For advice on how to care for adult skin in the sun read Why do I need daily sun protection for my face? and How should I protect my body from the sun?


If you baby or child burns their skin in the sun, or if you are in any way concerned about moles on their skin, consult your doctor.

All Eucerin Kids sun products have been specially formulated to protect sensitive young skin from sunburn and sun-induced skin damage. They’re unperfumed, to reduce the risk of skin irritation, and can be used on both face and body. Eucerin Kids products are clinically and dermatologically proven to be effective on, and well tolerated by, sensitive skin.

Eucerin Kids Sun Lotion Sensitive Protect SPF 50+ is suitable for babies of three months and older.  Eucerin Kids Sun Spray Sensitive Protect SPF 50+ is suitable for use on children of three years and older.

Four of the Eucerin Kids Sun products include Eucerin’s innovative Advanced Spectral Technology which combines broadband and photostable UVA/UVB filters1 for outstanding UV protection with antioxidant Licochalcone A, a powerful anti-oxidant that works to neutralize free radicals caused by UV and HEVIS light. They also include Glycyrrhetinic Acid which supports skin’s own DNA repair mechanism.

Atopic Dermatitis is the most common skin disease in childhood3 and young skin benefits from a sun protection product that is suitable for atopic skin such as Eucerin Kids Sun Fluid Sensitive Protect SPF 50+. You can find out more about how to care for your child’s atopic skin in Atopic Dermatitis in babies and children: How to calm and care for young skin.

3.New insights into the epidemiology of childhood atopic dermatitis. Flohr C, Mann J. Allergy. 2014 Jan; 69(1):3-16. Epub 2013 Nov 21

Eucerin Kids sun products give children the sun protection they need

Eucerin Kids sun products come in a range of different formats and sizes making them easy to apply and take with you wherever you go so they’re always to hand. And, because we know how much children can wriggle when you’re applying sun protection, they come with our new ‘Anti-Stain After Wash` technology which helps to reduce the intensity of sunscreen stains after washing.4 You can find out more about it in Sunscreen stains: how can I protect clothes from yellow marks?

All our children’s sun protection products are extra water-resistant so they can keep up with your child’s active lifestyle.

4 In the following children’s products:  Eucerin Kids Sun Lotion Sensitive Protect SPF 50+, Eucerin Kids Sun Spray Sensitive Protect SPF 50+.

It’s important to apply sun protection generously. A recent Eucerin study5 revealed that 88% of parents use less than the recommended amount of product on their children. The right amount obviously depends on their size, the number of areas that need covering and on the format of the product:

Lotion or fluid

Use your palm to measure how much to apply: a thick line of product the length of your middle finger counts as one measure. As a general rule, we recommend:

  • Age 3-5: Use a measure to a measure and a half of product for each of the areas (2-11) on the diagram below. Use twice the amount for the face and neck (area 1)
  • Age 6+: Use two measures of product for each of the areas (1-11) on the diagram below.

Rub the product in to ensure all areas are full covered.

Pump spray

For each of the numbered areas on the body diagram below we recommend you vary the number of sprays according to age: 

  • Age 3-5: Approximately 5 pumps per area
  • Age 6-10: Between 7 and 10 pumps per area
  • Age 10+: Between 10 and 15 pumps per area

 The pump can be held quite close to the body. When applying product to the face, first spray it into the palm of your hand and then gently apply to your child’s face.

Trigger spray
Again, for each of the numbered areas on the body diagram below we recommend you vary the amount of spray according to age: 

  • Age 3-5: Approximately 3 sprays of product per area
  • Age 6-10: Between 3 and 5 sprays per area
  • Age 10+: Between 4 and 7 sprays per area

The can be held quite close to the body. When applying product to the face, first spray it into the palm of your hand and then gently apply to your child’s face.

Some parts are easy to miss and then burn quickly. Don’t forget behind the ears, the back of the neck, the back and shoulders as well as hands and feet, the backs of the arms and the areas at the edges of your child’s swimwear.

The results of Eucerin research5 into how effectively sun cream is applied to children were mapped onto an avatar. The research found that, on average, 6.6% of a child’s total body was insufficiently protected in the sun. The red in the diagram below indicates the areas least well covered with sunscreen, and the intensity of redness varies depending on the number of children who were not properly protected in that area.

Even though Eucerin Kids sun products are extra water-resistant, we recommend that you reapply at least every two hours (and more if they’re in and out of the water) to maintain the initial levels of protection.

5 Beiersdorf study `Sunscreen application routine and UV protective behavior of parents’, D. Roggencamp et al, published at 27th EADV Congress 2018 Paris, France. Poster No. P1684. Sample of 17 children and 17 adults who applied the product to their child.

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