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Gestes protection soleil peau bébé.

What are the right actions to protect a baby's skin from the sun?

While the beautiful summer days may inspire you to wander and take your baby for a stroll, it's important to remember that the UV rays emitted by the sun are not without risks. To enjoy the fine weather while protecting your child's delicate skin, it's crucial to adopt the right practices. Continue reading to learn all our advice.

Published March 4, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 6 min read

The dangers of the sun on a baby's skin.

The skin of a newborn differs from that of an adult and is thinner and more fragile. Indeed, the skin barrier gradually develops after birth and will not be able to fully perform its protective function until the age of six. The physiology of baby's skin is thus different before this age. Moreover, the melanin synthesis process is only partially developed in children under three years old, making them more vulnerable to the dangers of the sun.

Indeed, when exposed to sunlight, the epidermal cells undergo the attack of UVA and UVB rays, which can lead to metabolic defects, the degradation of cellular constituents and the development of melanomas. To protect itself from the damage caused by UV rays, the body initiates a defence mechanism and promotes melanogenesis. The produced melanin clusters around the nucleus of the keratinocytes to form a veil with the aim of protecting the DNA from the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet rays. However, the concentration of melanin is lower in young children, thus the risks posed by sun exposure are greatly increased. Several studies have indeed shown the existence of a link between children's UV exposure and the development of melanoma in adulthood.

How to protect your baby's skin from the sun?

Still delicate and vulnerable, a baby's skin must absolutely avoid direct exposure to the sun's rays. Studies have indeed established that there is a strong correlation between thesun exposure of young children and the development of melanoma once they become adults. Therefore, to prevent these risks, it is advisable to adopt certain practices during family outings.

Limit outings between 12pm and 4pm.

During particularly sunny days, it is advised to avoid taking the baby out for walks between 12pm and 4pm, the time of day when the sun's ultraviolet rays are at their most intense and therefore most harmful, even in the shade. Indeed, it's worth noting that UV rays can be reflected by various surfaces (water, sand, snow, tarmac...). It's also important to be wary of the shade created by clouds as a mid-altitude cloud layer only stops 30 to 60% of the sun's rays.

Opt for clothing that covers your skin.

To protect your child, it is also recommended to dress them in covering clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, trousers that cover the legs, and a wide-brimmed hat. Choose loose and easy-to-wear clothing. For colour, we advise you to avoid dark colours which tend to retain heat and promote perspiration. There are also anti-UV clothes designed to combat ultraviolet rays: these have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UV protection index) which indicates their degree of protection. For example, an anti-UV t-shirt with a UPF 50 only allows 1/50th of the UV rays to pass through. Finally, don't forget to give your baby sunglasses to protect their delicate eyes.

Do not neglect the sunscreen.

Even if the baby stays in the shade, which is highly recommended, it is advised to apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 50 to the parts of their skin that are not covered. Opt for sun care products that are free from fragrances, allergens, or alcohol derivatives, which could potentially irritate the baby's skin. Furthermore, it is preferable to use only mineral filters for children under two years of age, due to the high permeability of their skin and the risk of allergies.

To ensure the effectiveness of sunscreens, the application of the sunscreen should be done approximately 20 minutes before going outside and should be renewed every two hours in case of prolonged exposure. To facilitate its application, there are spray sun care products for children. Make sure to apply enough to achieve the protection factor value indicated on the label, which is 2 mg per cm2 of skin, corresponding to 12 to 15 sprays with spray sunscreens. Finally, don't forget to apply it to the back of the neck and behind the ears, areas often overlooked.

Regularly hydrate your baby.

Even when avoiding the hottest hours of the day, it is crucial to ensure your baby is well hydrated, especially during summer when the sun brings both UV rays and high temperatures. Their formula milk bottle or breastfeeding helps to keep them hydrated, but, when it's very hot, it's also important to offer them water. In addition to keeping them hydrated, this willprevent heatstroke. A spray mister can also help to cool them down.


  • PUGLIESE P. The skin, free radicals, and oxidative stress. Dermatology Nursing (1995).

  • KOLLIAS N. & al. Infant skin physiology and development during the first years of life: a review of recent findings based on in vivo studies. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2010).


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