Community Curated • Updated 03, 2019
Sunscreen is an indispensable item to have around with you once the summer months hit with full intensity and glow. Both adults and babies should use sunscreen for adequate skin protection, and not only in the summer months, in fact - it’s recommended to use one when the sun is strong in all four seasons (we all know how bad winter sunburns can sometimes be, especially after a prolonged stay at a higher altitude).
Babies’ skin is super sensitive, which makes it even more important to try and protect their skin as much as possible, especially during their early years of development when the tissue is still growing. It’s a common fact that babies’ skin is thinner than adult skin, and thus more prone to sunburns, irritations and other various allergic reactions to both environmental and chemical factors.
This is another reason why you have to be extra careful with the sunscreen you choose for your little one - it’s a wide market out there and the selection is rather vast, so choosing one that would be just perfect for your baby is a tricky business. But, it’s also not an impossible one, it just requires a little attention.
That’s why in this guide we’ve carefully selected the best baby sunscreen offers you can currently find on the market, saving you a little bit of time going back and forth through the baby skin care aisles. Here you can also find the most frequently asked questions when it comes to baby sunscreen to make sure you haven’t missed out on any important one that you need to know about.
The CeraVe is a special type of product that can be used for babies and adults with very sensitive skin or pre-cancerous growths. It’s a 100% naturally sourced, which means it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals such as parabens and sulfates. The main and best thing about this sunscreen is it’s special formula containing ceramides, which are lipids (or fats) found originally in the upper layers of human skin – they play a big role in skin composition and in determining how your skin actually looks. Think of them basically as the mortar between your skin cells. The CeraVe contains three essential ceramides that help to protect and maintain the natural barrier of the skin, as well as restore the damaged tissue. It also contains aloe vera extracts which further contribute to skin preservation and soothing delicate areas of the body. This cream has been labeled as hypoallergenic, so it's not supposed to cause any allergic reactions and is water resistant (up to 80 minutes); another very convenient thing is that it’s fragrance-free, so if you or your baby are usually bothered by sunscreen smells, you certainly don’t have to worry with this one! It has a broad spectrum factor of SPF 45 and protects the skin from UVA and UBV sun rays. It falls in the category of what they call “physical” sunscreen, which means it doesn’t get absorbed in the body, but it stays on top of the skin, adding to its protecting capabilities.
Sometimes you can easily judge a product by its name, and here the Honest Company sunscreen spray is no exception. What you see is what you get, no tricks involved, complete honesty. A very affordable, high-quality sunscreen spray, that comes with all the right stuff you need for your baby: an SPF spectrum of 30, water resistant, specially prepared to be pH neutral. It has been dermatologically, clinically and pediatrically tested, and it contains no harmful chemicals whatsoever. The only active sunscreen ingredient in this mineral-based spray is the non-nano zinc oxide, which means that the zinc oxide particles will not enter your child’s bloodstream. It’s also designed to be hypoallergenic, so for those extra-sensitive to sunscreens this one is also extra-safe to use and will not cause additional allergic nuisances on the skin. Another great thing is that it doesn’t come as a usual cream, which can be tad inconvenient and messy sometimes even with the best of them – it’s actually a very easy to apply spray, which provides smooth and even coverage throughout the whole body. With the Honest sunscreen you won’t get greasy areas on your skin, because it dries very quickly. It’s also fragrance-free, which is another thing you’ll love about it, not being stuck with sunscreen smell all day. With a special consideration for animal and plant life, being deemed reef-friendly, this is a great product if you also want to consider the impact on the environment the products you use make - the Honest sunscreen is just the perfect formula that is gentle and safe for the whole family and beyond.
One of the safest and most effective sunscreen lotions for babies with eczema, the Aveeno Continuous Protection will ease your worries when it comes to choosing an appropriate sun protection cream for this delicate condition. The Aveeno sunscreen lotion is specially designed not to irritate inflamed skin and holds a Seal of Approval from the National Eczema Association. It has a broad-spectrum protection of SPF 50 and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or dyes – it’s also paraben and phthalate-free. A mineral sunscreen lotion, its formula is based on a 100% zinc oxide coming from natural sources. Another useful addition to its soothing powers are the oat ingredients, which help to alleviate skin irritation caused by direct exposure to sun rays. It’s a very resistant sunscreen lotion, counting up to 80 minutes of water exposure, and it also prevents sweat from wiping off the cream from your skin. Also, you can be very relaxed when applying the Aveen sunscreen on your baby’s face because it contains a special tear-free formula that won’t cause any discomfort or irritation around the delicate area of the eyes. It’s suitable for both face and body and it’s fragrance free. Reviewers have been praising its hypoallergenic properties a lot, as well as the consistency of the cream, thickness serving as an extra-protection that manages to keep the skin moisturized and protected at the same time, without any stinging or irritation. It’s also very easy to apply, leaving no residue afterwards.
The All Good Kids sunscreen lotion is actually on the EWG’s list of best sunscreen lotions for kids, which is not a small thing. Very reasonably priced and with a special concern for environmental issues, it’s certainly a cream worth considering when going through the best options for your little one’s skin protection. It has a very lightweight non-greasy formula that doesn’t make a ghost of your baby’s skin when applied. It also has a high water resistance and a broad spectrum protection factor from UVA and UVB rays of SPF 30. The All Good Kids is a cream that doesn’t contain chemicals such as oxybenzine that gets absorbed in the skin – it’s main active ingredient is the mineral zinc oxide which is non-nano. It also has other additional natural elements, such as organic green tea, organic chamomile, buriti oil and rose hips that work magic on damaged and sensitive skin. The company is very careful to stress that the cream is biodegradable and coral reef friendly, which is a huge relief for the more environmentally-friendly people out there - it means that you actually don’t have to exchange a good-quality product for one that works better for the environment, when you can have both of them in one package.
Hailed by reviewers as a very successful sunscreen for fighting sun allergies, the Blue Lizard is a sunscreen that justifies its pricey bottle. Considering Australians have a pretty high standard in terms of sunscreens, and this is where the formula for this cream originates, we’re not gonna go wrong if we say it’s one of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin, even with a SPF factor of 30+, which is lower than usual. Nevertheless, it does the job just perfectly. It’s free from a bunch of harmful, nasty chemicals, such as the usual parabens and sulfates that are present in traditional sunscreens. It’s mineral-based, containing 10% zinc oxide and 5% titanium oxide. The mineral-based sunscreens, as we’ve seen in the other sunscreen reviews, stay on the surface of the skin, rather than get absorbed by the sun rays. This actually makes them play the role of tiny little mirrors that reflect and deny access to most of the sun’s rays before they manage to enter the body. Always go for a mineral-based sunscreen when you can because it provides cleaner and safer protection. The Blue Lizard is a pretty thoughtful and creative product not only in terms of its superb content, but also when it comes to the bottle itself. The bottle actually turns the color of the cap when exposed to UV rays, which is a pretty hefty reminder to keep applying sunscreen all throughout the day!
This definitely one of the best natural baby sunscreens that you can find on the market. With a very low toxicity rating of 1 (the safest ones go from 0-2), given by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), this is the sunscreen you will probably want most if you're extra careful about chemical ingredients that go on your baby’s sensitive skin. A broad spectrum sunscreen designed specially for babies, with the highest SPF factor 50+, this is a cream that’s free from harmful chemicals and safe to use on all parts of your child’s body. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen that is free from biologically harmful substances such as oxybenzone or avobenzone, chemicals that get absorbed in your skin by UV rays. Instead, the Thinkbaby uses a formula of non-nano zinc oxide which actually protects your baby by sitting on top of its skin, rather than getting absorbed in it. It’s a high-quality cream and very easy to apply – it’s thick and doesn’t spill easily, but nevertheless spreads as lightly as butter. Аnd it has the highest level of water resistance, amounting to 80 minutes of continuous water exposure! Some people have complained of the light fragrance, but if you’re not bothered by this you’ve got a perfect product that will surely give you a piece of mind on the next beach trip or just a light stroll in the sun with your little one on a very hot day!
When you’re searching for the best baby sunscreen, always look for a product labeled as a “broad spectrum” sunscreen. This means that the sunscreen is made to protect from both UVA and UVB rays. In terms of the SPF factor, consider getting one that is at least 15 - the ideal number would be somewhere between 30 to 50, though. Experts often advise against using products that are marketed as being above SPF 50, because it’s been proven they actually provide sun protection with poorer quality.
The general conclusion is that baby sunscreen should be used on babies that are above 6 months old. If your baby is younger than 6 months, you should use other types of sun protection, such as protective light and clothing, keeping out of direct sunlight and staying in the shade as much as possible. Always make sure your little one doesn’t get overheated.
You can use sunscreen liberally once your baby passes the 6 months limit. You should, however, avoid exposing your baby when the sun is in its peak hours - this is usually the time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but it can sometimes go up to 4 or 5 p.m. Also, even with sunscreen on, it’s a good idea to dress your little one in protective clothing, especially if it has extra-sensitive skin; you can also get a hat with a brim on it, as well as sunglasses, for protecting the head and face from potentially harmful rays.
Pick a sunscreen with a “broad spectrum” label on it, and an SPF factor above 15, ideally 30 or 50. You can apply the sunscreen generously, reapplying every two hours so you make sure your baby always has a fresh amount of protection on them. You can even do it more often than two hours if your little one spends a lot of time in the water or is sweating a lot on a particularly hot day.
The main difference between regular sunscreen oriented towards adults and one made for babies is in the ingredients. Good baby sunscreens use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which protect from the sun by forming a physical barrier. These ingredients are much less likely to cause irritation to the baby’s skin and eyes; since they don’t get absorbed into the baby’s skin and are generally better for them.
You should avoid the use of products that combine insect repellent DEET along with a sunscreen. The reason is simple: sunscreen can and should be regularly reapplied, while the insect repellent usually doesn’t need to be put as often.
Baby sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are much less likely to cause allergic reactions, which is why they’re ideal for babies. If you want to make sure your baby is not allergic to the sunscreen you want to buy, you can squeeze out a small amount of it in your hand and rub it on a small patch of your baby’s hand. Wait for 10 minutes and see if there’s an allergic reaction - if the answer is yes, then you’d definitely want to consider a different brand.
Sunscreens made on a mineral base, like the ones that usually use ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, create a physical barrier against the sun’s rays and the baby’s skin. Sunscreens that use chemicals, often use ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Since these can get more easily absorbed into the skin, they’re not recommended for use on babies.
Baby sunscreen is a must when the sun really hits, and it’s always a good idea to be extra careful when it comes to sun exposure, even if you’re an adult and have a super-resilient skin.
But, you should also be careful when it comes to choosing a sunscreen since a lot of them out there can induce a sense of false security while not doing much on the part of protection.
For the best baby sunscreen, look for mineral based ones, that have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (preferably without nanoparticles) as their main ingredients.
For extra safety, though, make sure to cover up your baby’s skin and keep them in the shade and out of the sun’s direct reach as much as possible.