Here I am, trying to look chic in my Maison Michel hat whilst applying sun protection to a one year old. I’ll tell you something: it’s not easy. It’s like trying to have poise whilst riding a Bucking Bronco.
You need to have six hands to apply anything to a one year old – two to hold the legs, two to hold the arms and then two to hold the bottle and rub in whatever it is that you’re putting on. I reckon, also, just to add to the difficulty factor, that you have a window of approximately fifteen seconds in which to complete your task before the wriggling starts in earnest and things get tricky.
Unfortunately, most of us have just the two hands, and so we have to employ other – very wily – tactics to hold our charges still. I like to use the “between knees pincer grip” combined with advanced distraction techniques – pulling ridiculous faces that make me look as though I’ve had a large part of my brain removed, emitting loud chirruping noises, placing various objects on the top of my head and shouting “MUMMY’S HAT! MUMMY’S HAT!” like some kind of deranged TV presenter.
Thankfully, the sun protection I’ve been using, Eucerin’s Sun Kids Spray SPF50+, is so fast to spray on and rub in that Octopus Baby Angelica barely knows what’s hit her by the time I’ve covered arms, legs, back and tummy. Head and face have to be tackled separately – I do her face by spraying the product into the palms of my hands first and then pressing into her skin – but overall it’s a far (and easy) cry from my first couple of baby sun protection experiences!
The first ever baby SPF I tried was so thick and claggy that Angelica started to cry before I’d even rubbed it into her arms. It was like spreading PVA glue. I was surprised, because it had come very highly recommended (it was quite a niche brand) and I had expected it to be lightweight and quick to absorb. I tried again the following day, employing my pincer grip and distraction tactics, but the baby ended up looking as though I’d sprayed her with white pearlescent car paint. There were many tears.
So a fast-absorbing, non-claggy, non-greasy SPF is vital, I think, when you’re dealing with babies and kids. The Eucerin Sun Kids Spray SPF50+ I’ve been using has the same sort of premium feel you’d want from an adult sun protection product but is perfume, colourant and paraben free and suitable for even sensitive skin. It’s extra water-resistant, so great for kids who are constantly in and out of the water (though you must remember to reapply after towelling them dry!) and suitable from the age of six months.
I’ve tested Eucerin’s core sun protection range with my “beauty hat” on and it’s excellent. Eucerin specialise in formulating skincare for specific (often quite tricky) skin concerns, so there’s sun protection for sensitive skin, very dry skin, very oily skin and even skin that’s sun allergic. I’ve been using the Transparent Sun Spray SPF50+ on my own body, which I love for its weightless feel and quick-to-absorb formula. On my face, the SPF30+ Sun Creme for Dry Skin, which keeps everything feeling very moisturised and plump.
I wear SPF on my face year-round if I’m going to be outside and I think it’s an important habit to get into with kids, too, especially since they’re even more likely to be spending time playing outdoors. I’m hoping that by starting our little SPF-applying routine early on, the baby will eventually understand that it’s just part of getting ready and that reapplying it throughout the day is a quick interruption that is even quicker if she holds still! Ah, the optimism…
I should mention that the same basic sun “rules” apply to babies and children; that the safest place for your skin is always out of direct sunlight*, and you should cover up with protective clothing, sun hat and sunglasses as well as using a broad spectrum SPF. (Though trying to get my baby to keep a hat on for more than ten seconds is nigh on impossible.) Apply sun cream generously before exposure to the sun and reapply frequently, especially after swimming or towelling dry.
*in case I get worried comments, we posed for the pictures above in the sun for around two minutes and were both wearing SPF50!
**this post has been sponsored by Eucerin.