Sun protection for children

How to protect the skin of babies and children


Due to the young age, the skin of newborns and children lacks adequate natural protection systems, hence requires to be well protected when in the sun.

Child skin is more delicate than that of adults, because skin is thinner and the hydrolipid layer is less developed. These characteristics indicate that the barrier function of skin, that is its ability to "shield" skin, is weaker, thus child skin is more prone to dryness, irritation and more vulnerable to environmental harsh agents.

Being fragile and immature, child skin requires special care also when exposed to the sun. In newborns especially, the defence system made up by melanocytes, which produce melanin, is not fully functioning yet, thus baby skin is unable to defend itself.

For these reasons, babies and younger children are more sensitive to the damaging effects of sun radiation, both when it is short-term and long-term, delayed damage.

Therefore, preventing damage caused by sun exposure by using sun protection is very important, especially in babies and younger children.

Which protection factor is proper for children?

Avoid direct exposure to the sun with infants and younger children. Even when they are in the shade, it is always better to apply a sunscreen, because ultraviolet rays reflected by sand, for instance, will reach their skin anyway.

Up to six years of age, it is appropriate to choose a very high protection factor, SPF 50+, because sunburn in childhood is particularly harmful as it increase the risk of dermatological consequences, also very serious ones, in the adulthood age.

Older children can apply a lower sun protection factor, though this shouldn’t be below SPF 30.

Hypersensitive and atopy-prone skin should require unscreens formulated solely with mineral filters

Children’s sun protection should be resistant or very resistant to water, bearing in mind that in both cases this indication does not mean that the product is waterproof.

In fact, it certifies that the product has been tested to check if it resists to water and retains part of its protective capacity (at least 50% of the SPF value) even after prolonged immersion in water. If the product resists water for 40 minutes, the it can be defined as "water-resistant", while if it resists for 80 minutes, it is "very water resistant."

Sunscreens for children, in addition to being effective, must also be handy to use, easy to apply and not be sticky, so to prevent sand from sticking on skin. Formulations can be designed to to stay long enough on skin, where filters can perform their protective effect, and can also be tested to be sand-resistant to check that sand doesn’t stick to skin.

Like with adults, sun exposure with children must follow a few basic rules:

  • avoid direct exposure of babies and younger children to the sun
  • avoid sun exposure in the hottest hours of the day (between 11.00 am and 3.00 pm)
  • always protect skin with a product having a proper SPF, using the product in the proper quantity and with the  proper frequency of application.
  • apply protection even when not directly exposed to the sun, because ultraviolet rays reach skin through clouds or parasols as well and are reflected by water, sand or snow
  • seek extra protection by wearing clothes, a hat and sunglasses
  • after exposure to the sun, apply after-sun products 

Like with all other children's products, also sun protection must be designed in a manner that minimises the risk of allergies, thus formulated by excluding those substances that may commonly cause reactions and allergies.


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All BioNike products of the TRIDERM, DEFENCE and PROXERA ranges are developed to reduce the risks of intolerance and are suitable for sensitive skin. Such products are, in fact nickel-tested, preservatives-free, perfume-free (or having an allergen-free perfume), gluten-free and manufactured ​​with carefully selected and controlled ingredients.

In any case, we recommend that you consult your pharmacist and/or dermatologist, who will be able to recommend what is best for your skin.

Did you know it?

The BioNike laboratories have developed Defence Sun - Baby & Kid, a sun protection range for babies and children that provides triple photoprotection:

  • defence against short-term damage through the UVA-UVB filter system
  • defence against free radicals generated by infrared IR radiation
  • defence against long-term, delayed biological damage, thanks to the "PRO-REPAIR Complex" included.

This special complex is based on the synergistic action of niacin, the Beta-Glucan / L-Carnosine patented association and Vitamin E to stimulate the natural biological defences of skin, counter the effects of free radicals and photoimmunosuppression and support the natural cellular DNA protection and repair mechanisms.