Q. My 7-month-old has very sensitive skin and mild eczema. What sunscreen should I use? Should I use something different on his face?
A. A baby with skin issues such as eczema would be better off using a sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, says Dr. Theodore Daly, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and director of Garden City Dermatology. Those ingredients are micronized -- turned into a clear lotion of metal flakes that offer a "physical block" instead of a "chemical block," Daly says.
That way, the baby isn't exposed to chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin. A baby with eczema has impaired skin, which increases the likelihood of absorption. That, in turn, can increase the risk of an allergic reaction, he says.
In fact, Daly recommends such products for all babies, to keep chemicals off them while they are young and their skin is more prone to absorption. Be sure the product doesn't have added fragrances or perfumes, he says. "Generally I would recommend it across the board, definitely until age 1. Even at 2 or so. After 2, you can be a little bit less concerned about it, especially if they haven't had issues up to that point," Daly says. He also would use the product on the face.
Brands that have such options in their product lines include Neutrogena and Blue Lizard, he says. There's also the option of sun-protective clothing that would limit the amount of areas that need sunscreen.