This weekend, we picnicked at the beach. (Pause to note that we live in Cleveland, where it’s frequently rainy and cold on Memorial Day. Somehow the sun smiled on us and we were blessed with beautiful weather.) Our first trip to the beach meant our first sunscreen struggle.
My eldest daughter applies her own sunscreen, does a good job, and doesn’t complain. My son, however, is stubborn at six and when I pulled out the aerosol bottle of sunscreen, he started running.
Sunscreen isn’t negotiable. We’re a family of very fair-skinned redheads. Although my son desperately wanted to hit the sand, he ran from me every time I got close. I chased him in circles around the car, finally saying we’d just have to stay home. Then he told me what was going on.
Sometimes we think we know what’s best for our children. Sometimes this sense of knowing what’s best keeps us from really listening to what our kids are trying to tell us. My son isn’t a toddler, stubbornly refusing sunscreen because he refuses everything. He was trying to tell me something and it took me an embarrassingly long time to listen.
The sunscreen stings his sensitive, eczema-ridden skin. I wish he’d have said something before I tackled him football-style, bottle in hand. I opted for the aerosol sunscreen that day because we were running late and it’s easy to apply. I assumed spray sunscreen would be faster than wrestling cream onto 50-pounds of wiggling elbows.
Today, I found myself in the sunscreen aisle again – this time searching for a sunscreen for sensitive skin.
Here are my requirements for sunscreen:
- It can’t clog pores (my eldest child is just on the cusp of puberty)
- No sting on application, or later in the eyes
- No knock-me-over sunscreen smell
- Inexpensive; I’m going to be buying a LOT of it
- Physical sun blockers
What’s the deal with physical blockers? When you use a chemical blocker, the chemicals are absorbed in to the skin. Physical blockers sit on top of the skin, often leaving a white residue. So, if your kid is Goth – or just doesn’t care what she looks like – these might work.
I opted to try Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection (broad spectrum SPF 55), which is supposed to be gentle on sensitive skin. I still had to chase my son with the sunscreen bottle, but thought he’d be surprised at how good it felt on his skin. He’s still complaining that it stings – so I’ll need to try something else. Aveeno Baby has another, “natural” product that I’d consider trying. I’m also going to order some Blue Lizard Sensitive.
Talk to us! What sunscreens work best for you?
Medical Doctor and PhD candidate