Best Sunblock for Kids
With so many conflicting recommendations out there about SUN, babies and sunscreen, it’s hard to know what to do. Thus: The Official Lucie’s List Guide to Summer Fun. Holllerrr!
Protecting Sensitive Skin from the Sun
Since unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, it’s something to take pretty seriously. Heck, I wish someone had given me the memo about this when I was a kid; maybe I would have reconsidered daily tanning (burning?) contests with my sister. As someone who grew up in the South, LIVING at the pool every day… let’s just say we can do better with this generation of kids.
But it’s not just skin. In fact, “children under 10 are at a high risk for… eye damage from UV rays. And until about age 10, the lens of a child’s eye is clear, allowing greater solar penetration and thus greater UVR-induced ocular changes,” explains Adelaide A. Hebert, MD, professor and vice chair of dermatology, University of Texas Medical Center at Houston [SkinCancer.org]. See also: Best Sunglasses for Kids
Best Sun Protection for Newborns (0-6 months)
“I’ve read I can’t use sunscreen until 6 months, and I’ve got a family beach vacation coming up. What should I do?”
Because of baby’s delicate skin, it’s true that the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends keeping babies < 6 months out of the sun and using minimal amounts of sunscreen, but don’t cancel your beach vacation [oh no]. Keep those babies out of direct sunlight with an umbrella or a sun tent and use hats, sun protective clothing (like a long-sleeved shirt for the sun), and small amounts of sunscreen when you must.
Sun Protection Beach Tents
At 3 weeks old, [then] baby Alice spent many an afternoon chilling in our beach tent and wiggling around in the sand. If you’re on a budget, I recommend the Coleman Road Trip Beach Shade (reg. $59, below). If you can spend a little more ($75), the Pacific Breeze EasyUp Beach Tent is the most highly rated. It too is UPF 50 and is super easy to get up and take down.
Just make sure the material is UV rated; otherwise, your baby can still get burned through the tent material. FYI, they can also get burned from sun reflecting off the sand and water.
What Type of Sunscreen is Best for Babies and Toddlers?
What’s the Difference between Sunscreen and Sunblock?
Technically speaking, sunscreens use chemicals to absorb UV rays so they don’t penetrate the skin, while sunblocks use minerals, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, to physically deflect rays from the skin. However, these terms are often used interchangeably, so it’s a little confusing. Case in point: all of the recommended kids’ “sunscreens” below are technically sunblocks, but many refer to them as “mineral sunscreens.” So, yeah, just… FYI.
Sunblocks are generally recommended for babies and children (over sunscreens) by pediatricians, advocacy groups, environmentalists, etc. for various reasons [read more below in “sunscreen controversies“].
The general sentiment is this: natural mineral (aka physical) sunblock is, by far, the safest option to get your SPF. The minerals zinc and titanium sit on the skin’s surface and reflect sun rays out away from the body like tin foil.
Ingredients in chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin to deal with sun rays in a chemically reactive process in the skin cell itself, with potentially unintended and harmful consequences to the skin and body.
The downside to sunblocks is that they are generally more expensive because of the cost of the minerals used to make them. Just note that a little goes a long way, and a single tube or two could last you the whole season.
Screens and blocks for kids come in lotions, sprays, and sticks.
Everyone has their preferences, but I prefer lotions for infants — and sprays for kids-who-can’t-sit-still. The best way to do it is to apply sunscreen before you dress your child so you can get all the nooks and crannies (for girls, under swimsuit straps, etc.).
Best Sunscreen for Infants, Toddlers and Children
How did we decide? We weighed input from SkinCancer.org, EWG (Environmental Working Group), Consumer Reports, and loads of user reviews. Read below for the recommendations for “sunscreen controversies.”
Baby Sunscreen: Lotions
Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 50+ ~ $12 (3 oz)
This is one of the best baby sunscreens ever — and the highest-rated sunscreen on multiple sites, with nearly 7,000 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.4/5 stars. Thinkbaby offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with SPF 50+, and it’s “very water resistant” (up to 80 minutes in the water). Thinkbaby is paraben- and PABA-free, and it received an “excellent” for UVA and SPF protection from EWG’s “Skin Deep” scores.
Best of all, I should note that many sunscreens (especially the mineral sunblocks) look great on paper, but may have a terrible consistency (sticky, goopy, etc.) when you apply it. Thinkbaby has a nice, creamy consistency and is super easy to apply, which is another reason it’s our #1 (for 6 years running, in fact). Bottom line: this is a terrific zinc oxide sunscreen.
* Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% [Non-nano]
~ Can also be found at your local Whole Foods, Target, etc. *Note that Thinkbaby and Thinksport are exactly the same formula. They just want to confuse us, of course!
Blue Lizard Sensitive (or Baby) Sunscreen SPF 30+ ~ $14 (5 oz)
Fair-skinned people living under a giant hole in the ozone know how to avoid a sunburn (slip, slap, slop!). Blue Lizard has been our go-to sunscreen since Lucie was born. This sensitive skin formulation, with no chemical absorbers, offers broad photostable UVA/UVB protection and protects skin for up to 4 hours of activity. Paraben and PABA-free.
* If water resistance is of the utmost importance, check out the Sport version, which is water-resistant up to 240 minutes. To be honest, nobody can tell us what the difference is in the “Baby” vs. “Sensitive” versions of this product, so I get whichever one is cheaper.
* Active ingredients: 10% Zinc Oxide and 5% Titanium Dioxide [Non-nano]
BabyBum Sunscreen SPF 50 ~ $14 (3 oz)
Naturally fragrance-free, this broad spectrum sunscreen is the perfect answer to all of your sensitive skin needs. Consistency is light and non-sticky, and won’t make your kiddos feel all chalky. Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2hrs. It’s water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes.
* For folks who prefer a stick sunscreen, BabyBum’s is well-priced and easy to apply. It’s a bit chalkier than its lotion counterpart, but just as effective.
* Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% [Non-nano]
MADE OF Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 ~ $17 (4 oz)
Slightly chalkier than the others, this cream is another great option for sensitive skin. Even thought it’s a bit more viscous than some of the others on our list, it quickly becomes transparent once you rub it in. Its inactive ingredients – coconut, argan & raspberry oil – are plant-based and 75% organic. Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2hrs. It’s water-resistant for 40 minutes.
* Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% [Non-nano]
Baby Sunscreen: Sprays
Sprays are sometimes easier to apply, just generally not the favorite of experts because 1. they can be inhaled and 2. none of them are totally free of the “bad 6 chemicals to look out” for (avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, and the baddest of them all: oxybenzone).
But many people love a spray because it’s all they can muster with a squirmy kid. Mind you, kid’s sprays still have to be rubbed in, unlike some of the toxic adult versions. Kidding (sort of).
That said, if you must spray, we choose:
BabyGanics Mineral-Based Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ ~ $19 (pack of 2! 6 oz)
Water resistant for 80 minutes and SPF 50+, this kid-friendly sunscreen is great for long days at the beach or pool. Contains no PABA, parabens, or phthalates. It offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is easy to apply. Non-allergenic and tear free. *Also available as a stick.
* Active ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Zinc Oxide 11.2% [Non-nano]
Again, the big benefit of using a spray is that I can hold my kid’s hair (or swimsuit straps) while I spray with one hand. With lotions and creams, you most definitely need to use two hands. It’s this convenience that I like. There are some reviews saying it doesn’t work well, but that has never been my experience.
* There is a concern about using sprays with nano-particles on children because they could be inhaled. This formulation is non nano zinc oxide — but regardless, make sure your child doesn’t inhale it (or any other sprays, for that matter).
FYI — There are lots of good sunblocks out there, but many of them are only available through specialty websites. Do you have one you love? Please leave a comment below, thanks!
Remember: Sunscreen is just part of the equation that also includes protective clothing, hat and eye protection, and staying out of the sun when the rays are strongest, between 10 am and 3 pm, generally.
Sunscreen Safety Controversies
The two main controversies of sunscreens (particularly for children) look something like this:
The Nanoparticle Debate
Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about the safety of “nanoparticles,” especially when it comes to nano zinc oxide. You see, in the past, mineral sunblocks consisted of large enough particles that they always remained white and chalky on the skin.
More recently, many products have been formulated to reduce the size of the mineral particles, called nanoparticles, making them less visible on the skin. No more ghostly white-face — yay, right?
However, there are concerns that nanoparticles may possibly pass THROUGH the skin (especially in pre-term babies and very young babies) and may be photo-reactive, forming free radicals that can cause cell damage. Those espousing this position recommend using only mineral sunblocks that contain “micronized” particles rather than nanoparticles. [Technically, a nanoparticle is any particle less than 100 nanometers in diameter, but a particle must actually be less than 50 nanometers to enter skin cells, less than 70 nanometers to enter the lungs, etc.] Got it? Okay good.
Essentially, the jury is still out on this, folks. The American Academy of Dermatology [AAD] says, “Considerable research on the use of nanoparticles on healthy, undamaged skin has shown that the stratum corneum – the outermost layer of the skin – is an effective barrier to preventing the entry of nanoparticles into the deeper layers of the skin” [AAD, 2012]. Still, others suggest otherwise. Basically, nobody knows for sure. *All the products I recommend [above] are NON-nano (in case you were wondering what the heck that means). No she-NANO-gans here, mama. I’m hilarious, I know.
*Update as of 2017: I have been assured by a couple of readers (who are toxicologists or married to someone who is) that nano-particles are not harmful to humans, even babies. Please read below in the comments. See also here.
The good news is that oxybenzone is one of the few FDA-approved ingredients that provide effective broad-spectrum protection (see #3) from UV radiation. The bad news is that oxybenzone might be an endocrine disruptor, which could affect the nervous system, has been linked to cancer in some laboratory studies, and creates free-radicals when exposed to the sun. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns against oxybenzone for children because of concerns about mild hormonal properties.
The jury is out on this one as well.
According to the AAD, “Available peer-reviewed scientific literature and regulatory assessments from national and international bodies do not support a link between oxybenzone in sunscreen and hormonal alterations, or other significant health issues in humans,” claims Dr. Siegel [AAD, 2012].However, many pediatricians warn parents to avoid oxybenzone. So… yeah. *All of the products we recommend [above] are free of oxybenzone. Just in case.
Update: Consumer Reports assures me “Some chemical UV filters, such as octinoxate and oxybenzone, have been found to cause hormonal changes in animals; however, short-term research in people did not show any adverse effect.” However, it [no doubt] makes for a highly-effective sunscreen. Therefore, if oxybenzone is not a concern for you personally, save some dollars and go with Coppertone Water Babies, Pure Sun Defense (with Disney label), and even Equate by WalMart (per Consumer Reports test results, 2016).
Many sunscreens only protect from UVB rays…
This is giving people a false sense of security about spending time in the sun. UVA radiation doesn’t cause sunburns per se, but can increase the rate of melanoma and AGING of the skin (ack!), so many people using sunscreens may be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it.
Look for sunscreens with broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection (for adults too)! Natural sunscreen ingredients, including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect from both UVA and UVB overexposure. Do I have your back or what? Fuggetaboutit.
So go getcha kiddies some sunscreen and enjoy the summer!
At the suggestion of this article, we purchased the Coleman Beach Shade on a recent trip to Florida for my seven month old daughter and three month old nephew. It was easy to put together and the babies napped in it while on the beach (so did mommy!). There was plenty of room inside without it being too large and obnoxious. We were glad we bought it.
We also special ordered the Blue Lizard “sunscreen” from our local rx. We didn’t really have her in the sun long enough to test it’s sun blocking abilities, but it applies easily, wears well, didn’t break her skin out. Another good purchase….thanks, Meg!
Thank you for this awesome article! I just learned that the ThinkSport Kids and ThinkBaby formulas are exactly the same, just different packaging. Knowing that made it a little easier to track this sunscreen down in a store instead of ordering online.
I love the beautycounter sunscreen! The spray has a bag inside that compresses as you push down so it is 100% safe!
Are there any recommendations to effectively and safely screen baby’s eyes from the sun? Broad rimmed hats only stay on so long and I am afraid to buy sunglasses without knowing the lens quality and how it may affect his vision after prolonged use.
A little late, but we got these http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00149YRB4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
They offer UVA/UVB protection and strap around the head. Our daughter has no problem wearing them and looks pretty adorable too.
I am still looking for sunglasses that my 15-month doesn’t immediately rip off. In the meantime, I have found a wide-brimmed hat that stays on. Urban Baby Bonnets are wonderful simply wonderful. They have big brims that can be extended out or folded back. They have cute, funky patterns and are reversible. The bonnet design with adjustable chin strap makes it the only hat we’ve found that actually stays on. A little pricey, but completely worth it. https://urbanbabybonnets.com/
Great article. Well written. Extremely informative. And funny. One correction though. And I only found this out after attempting to purchase one of these from your link. The Baby Blue Lizard Sport which was mention in conjunction with your number two pick does have oxybenzone. Just an FYI. Otherwise, phenomenal job mama. I sent this link to my friends.
Hi Ally — the Baby formula does not include oxybenzone, just the “regular” and the “Sport” 😉
We love the Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray SPF 30. Non-toxic and so easy to apply to squirmy little ones. They also have a Baby Face version that comes as a stick for easy face application.
I’ve seen a lot of Goddess Garden sunscreen on some “crunchy” websites (plus amazon). Have you tried it? How does it compare?
I just used it for the first time yesterday. It’s super easy to apply and seemed to work well. We had been using ThinkBaby and ThinkSport, which I liked, but this is so much easier to apply. It’s mineral-based, all natural (organic and non GMO) and non-nano.
I thought sprays were not recommended for children anymore.
The Food and Drug Administration started an analysis back in 2011, which they still haven’t concluded. Until they do, the “rule of thumb” is that you should try and avoid sprays until the FDA knows for sure that they are safe to use. However, we are realists and know that sprays are sometimes the best option. So use only when you absolutely have to, try and spray in your hands to apply and rub in fully and don’t spray the face to avoid breathing in the particles.
Last summer you had Neutrogena Baby on the list as number 3 I think. So I’ve been using it. I haut noticed that it’s no longer on there when you revised it. Any reasons??? Can you provide updates on why something didnt make the cut each year? Thank you!
Every year, we take a good look at this guide and revamp our sunscreen recos if needed based on SkinCancer.org, EWG ratings, consumer reports, etc. We like Neutrogena Baby mineral based sunscreen. But the other Neutrogena Baby sunscreen ranks poorly, so we don’t recommend that one any more.
You really did your research. I am always a little suspicious of websites that give advice and sell products. However, you seem to be doing it right.
E Welch, MD
Board certified dermatologist
Clinical faculty member at Brown university medical school
I’m happy I found this article as I’ve been introducing my 1 yr old baby boy to the pool since he was 6 months old. I’ve been using all Honest Co. products on him since he was born. Their sunscreen is very good, aside from the pasty consistency. However, I found that I had to reapply and reapply everytime I got him out of the water. He basically got a tan everytime I took him to the pool and I had the assumption that using it will prevent him from the sun giving him color. I guess I will try a new one from your list and see how it works. Thanks!
I can’t tell howmuch this helped me. I usually find myself lost while trying to find the best, science-based advices for my baby. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
As to the nanoparticle debate, my husband is a toxicologist that specializes in nanoparticles. They do not pass through the skin. He did the research. As a toxicologist, he is VERY particular about what we put on our kids, and we go with physical blocks, regardless of nano-scale materials.
Thanks for weighing in on the debate! Does your husband agree with Meg’s top picks of physical-barrier sunblocks?? I’m interested in whether or not a toxicologist has other recommendations. I’m looking into thinkbaby and badger, but will hold out if he has any qualms about their ingredients.
Otherwise, thank you so much Meg. I appreciate that you provided unbiased information about the “controversies” and went with the unambiguous options for safety! 🙂
I used these products on my babies, but my absolute favorite is the Made from Earth Aloe & Jojoba Lotion – which I’ve never even heard of until I have babies with very sensitive skin. The Made from Earth lotion is the only one I can use on their sensitive skin. I thought $20 for the bottle was expensive, but it last so long! Way longer than the bottles I bought at Walmart….and it doesnt irritate them. The Made from Earth bottle lasts like 2 months – the cheaper stuff only 3 weeks….
Such a great article, thank you!
I want to add a warning to parents that babies can get sunburned at the beach even under SPF 50 sunbrellas. This happened to my son when he was 4 months old, laying under a SPF 50 umbrella, which was shaded by a giant tree, with the sun to our backs. Apparently the sun reflecting off the water can still cause sunburns. Lesson learned.
I have not tried them, but they seem very handy!
I love getting these emails. Such a great resource when trying to muddle through TONS of sunscreens.
On a side note: I didn’t know about the whole Honest Co situation and used last Summer’s bottle on my daughter at the beach last week. She got fried! Complete with a huge blister on her ear. I felt terrible!!!! And was so mad that what I thought was one of the best products didn’t work AT ALL. GRRRR;)
I really love Baby Bum, Sun Bum’s baby line.
Have you heard of Beautycounter? The sunblock is great! No toxic ingredients and it absorbs well on the skin. I love that I can use the same product on my face and on my kiddo. I keep the sunblock stick in the diaper bag also for those impromptu park visits or lunch outside.
Disclaimer! I did recently start working with Beautycouter, but that really doesn’t have any bearing on my recommendation! Haha
I really like the kiss my face baby sunscreen sprays. They smell good, don’t seem as chemically as some of the other sprays. I have an active 2 year old and use spray for body, arms and legs and lotion for her face.
Picked up Tom’s of Maine and Neutrogena’s baby sunblocks at Target for my almost-six-month-old – have only used the Neutrogena (Pure & Free SPF 60) so far but I liked the consistency, and the active ingredient list (titanium dioxide & zinc oxide) seems safe/comparable to the Blue Lizard (which our pediatrician also recommended).
Yes, we use Neutrogena Baby with zinc for our kids. It goes on well (a little white, but not bad) and you can find it at Target. It also isn’t $20 a bottle which is a total deal breaker for me on the Blue Lizard. No WAY I can spend over $20 for one thing of sunblock. We go through a ton and sometimes bottles get lost.
I like Blue Lizard, but so far the only one that has never caused skin redness around my little one’s eyes (no doubt because she rubs her eyes with her sunscreens hands!) is Alba Botanica. Note that only the fragrance-free mineral block uses only sunblocks and not chemical sunscreens.
Which goes on first – sunscreen or bug repellent?
Hi Monica! Great question 🙂 The CDC recommends putting on sunscreen (either lotion or spray) first, allow 5-10 min to fully dry, then put on the bug spray. Keep in mind that the bug spray can last hours (but check the label) and sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours or so. So, reapply both as needed.
Thank you so much for this. For some reason, I was never informed that there was a difference between block and screen (growing up in FL failed me). So I would read sunscreen causes cancer, being in the sun causes cancer, not getting Vit D is causing cancer (FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!) and I was left wondering what to do. Thank you for being informative and helpful.
Hi Carrie! We haven’t looked into sunscreen wipes yet, but thanks for the reco. We’ll look into this for next year’s summer series 🙂
Thank you so much for this list! I have a 6 month old who loves hanging out in the sun. Summer is approaching here and I can’t wait to take him to the pool for the first time. I have seen the babyganics sunblock stick…. Have you tried it? I am very fair skinned and am sad to say my son took after his pale momma instead of his easy to tan daddy. I have been debating on what to buy and I really appreciate the effort you put into this list. Thank you!
Hi Caitlyn! I have tried the Babyganics sunblock stick. It is great to bring with when you are carrying on a flight and you are limited on liquids or to keep in your bag for emergencies. It is a little difficult to rub in, especially on soft chubby baby skin. I like the spray better to ensure you get the coverage.
What about the babyganics cream version?
Hi Rachel! The cream works just as well – you just need both hands to rub it all in on a squirmy kid!
Makes sense. Just curious why it wasn’t included as a recommended product. There’s so much contradictory info out there it’s hard to pick the “best” one!
Was wondering if there was N update on the sunscreen options for babies
Yes! This article has recently been updated.
I am quite fair and sensitive skinned, and I’ve had great luck with Babo Organics sunscreen! They are all physical and even have a spray (although it does need some rubbing in still). I’ve ordered some of the Badger to try this summer as well.
We have loved the ThinkBaby and ThinkSport (thanks to the Lucile’s List recommendation).
We are now using Arbonne’s ABC line for our kids; it is non-toxic, mineral-based sunscreen with SPF 30. Goes on super easy, not greasy, and rubs in well. Love it!
I have used Badger sunscreen on my son and myself the last few years, and while I have been happy with the performance, I never loved how thick and white it was (and it may just be me, but I feel that the oiliness helps deter bugs as well, which is a plus). I started using Pacifica sunscreen spray a few weeks ago and have been very pleased with it so far (https://rstyle.me/+gLLvMlJFSgXyvC4IqVwF1w). The spray is significantly easier to apply — as your article references — and it smells like vanilla, which is a favorite scent of mine. My son and I are both super fair skinned and on the dryer side for reference.
The Badger bug spray works nicely too, but my bottles always gets clogged.
Oxybenzone has been a culprit in the destruction of coral reefs, especially in Hawaii where I’m from. So there is an environmental aspect to consider also. An important one too. Coral reefs are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem.
Avasol sunscreen. In a stick. Easy to apply. Works! & is earth & people friendly. Tried many natural brands including one you’ve recommended & I love avasol. Available only on their website I believe. Avasol.com
Curious if you have an opinion or know much about Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen spray. I found it last summer and love it because it applies sooo easily and does not stink or affect anyone’s skin negatively at all (I have a 3.5 yr old and 1 yr old). I often just spray in my hands and rub it in on the kiddos rather than using the spray method. I have no idea if it is one of the “not toxic” terrible ones, but since I bought it at a health food store, I thought perhaps it isn’t terrible!
Hi Kim! It doesn’t look like the EWG has tested that specific product, but overall, Alba Botanica rates pretty good – it’s not completely clean but it’s not “dirty” 😉 Check out a little more about the company here. They don’t test on animals, they are 100% vegetarian, their sunscreens are biodegradable and coral reef safe. Hope this helps!
Do you have any recommendations on smaller beach tents or beach umbrellas? More and more beaches are now banning the pop-up tents. We had one for our babies a couple years back and the beach patrol made us take it down. We ended up using multiple umbrellas to basically create a tent. For some reason the beach patrol thought that was okay. It’s frustrating when you have small kids!
Hi Erin! I live in Southern California and I’ve heard of this happening, I haven’t experienced it yet, but I’m sure it’ll hit more and more beaches soon 🙁
I have this tent by Beach Baby ($40). It’s small, good for about one baby/child only, so I’m sure you won’t get asked to take it down. It’s held up fine but it is a little hard to fold back down the first few times you do it. For the same price, another “smaller” tent (that’s a little bigger, but rated higher) is this one by Babymoov.
Great discussion!! I ordered the think baby sunscreen:) Thank you for the info!
Hi Ladies! Anyone have a good recommendation for an active toddler boy with sensitive skin? We went on vacation and he had a reaction to something… I was using the Blue Lizard during that trip. I’m not sure if that is what caused the bumps on his thighs, but am hesitant to apply it on him again. His daycare has requested a spray sunscreen as opposed to lotion. Is BabyGanics Mineral-Based Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 ideal for sensitive skin? I’m open to other suggestions, too. Thanks!
We have been using a combination of these, with good results so far. But someone let me know if there’s something I don’t know about them!?!?
– Beautycounter face stick: I love using it on her face and neck to avoid getting goopy sunscreen in my 15 month old’s hair when she inevitably shakes her head “no no no no” while I’m putting it on her.
– Beautycounter sunscreen: Smells amazing and I like being able to use it for us adults as well. It’s definitely pricey though. I do not work for them.
– CeraVe Baby suncreen: My dermatologist recommended CeraVe lotion for my daughter when she was an infant with skin trouble. I noticed skin bumps on her after using some Neutrogena Baby sunscreen, so we bought this. It’s very thick, but seems to agree with her skin well! We sent this to school with her and keep an extra tube in the diaper bag because it’s much more affordable.
Are there any recommended aerosol sprays for toddlers/kids?
Hi Nicole! We don’t have any recommendations for aerosol sprays. Be sure to reference any product you are considering through the EWG site. That being said, don’t forget to use any spray the “correct” way by spraying into your hand and rubbing it in, especially if it’s windy.
Curious if this list is any more current than 2014?
Yes! We update it every year 🙂
Is there a difference between baby sunblock and regular sunblock? Trader Joes has a stick sunblock (SPF50) that’s all natural and just says to consult a Dr before putting on children under 6mo old. So I’m assuming I could just buy that stick for the whole family to use once he is 6mo old. Or do baby sunblocks have other features I am missing in the adult block?
Hi Bre! Great question 🙂 According the EWG, “…the Food and Drug Administration does not set any criteria or additional requirements for sunscreen and body care products marketed to children. EWG has not identified any systematic differences between the types of products marketed to children and the general population.” That being said, it is true that you should wait until your baby is at least 6 months of age before applying sunscreen products (but talk to your pedi for more info). It doesn’t look like the EWG rated the Trader Joes stick you mention, but know that the EWG does call attention to the fact that people tend to not apply as much sunscreen in stick form as they would in lotion form. Just be aware 😉
Thanks so much Melissa! I couldn’t find anything for the life of me on the differences but I figured there had to be with how many sunblocks on the market are just for babies. Guess not! We will be sure to use lots of the stick if that’s what we end up getting, and still keep baby shaded too. Thanks again!
I was checking out some of the articles on your site & found your post about Sun Lotion.
I use a Nivea Protect & Moisture Sun Lotion. It provides skin’s moisture lost due to sun exposure & advanced collagen protection that prevents wrinkles.
Here’s the link in case you want to check it out.
There is a product I’d recommend for applying sunscreen to children called Solar Buddies. My kids use them whenever they are on holiday and they prefer it to my applying it by hand http://www.solarbuddies.co.uk if anyone would like to check them out.
I am a board-certified dermatologist and biochemist. Thanks for an excellent overview.
However, I urge you to strongly consider removing all references to the Environmental Working Group from your post. The EWG is NOT a credible source of scientific information. Their “studies” are methodologically flawed and not peer-reviewed. In a 2009 study of 1000 members of the Society of Toxicology, 79% of respondents felt that the EWG overstates the health risks of “chemicals” (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20090521006172/en/Chemicals-Killing-Toxicologists-Media-Overstate-Risks). Moreover, the EWG receives considerable funding from the organic lobby and also makes money through affiliate links (conflict of interest anyone?).
I will also add that sunblock is an outdated term that is no longer allowed by the FDA. The two types of sunscreen are most commonly referred to as physical/mineral (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) or chemical (most other active ingredients in sunscreen). For those concerned about the potential (but as-of-yet unproven) health effects from chemical sunscreens, it is important to note that physical/mineral sunscreens are very safe. In fact, zinc oxide is the active ingredient in just about every diaper rash cream.
Finally, I always emphasize that sunscreen is not the end-all, be-all. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, and they do not reapply it often enough to provide adequate protection. In addition to seeking shade, avoiding the mid-day sun (10 AM to 2 PM) and using protective hats and clothing containing UPF (e.g., super cute rash guards!) are really important. Remember that even a tan is a sign of skin damage.
Stay sun safe everyone!
Hi Brenda – thank for your comment – and I agree!
Thank you for the insight! May I ask for your expertise about a very fair toddler struggling with eczema? We do rash guards and sun hats. But I have to supplement with sunscreen. Is chemical or physical/mineral better for eczema prone skin?
Sun Bum also has mineral spray that rubs in nicely.
The incredibly cool baby items on the market today blow my mind. My kids are 25 &. 21.
I wish that Limelife by Alcone was around then and their incredible product line of all natural, organic skin care and pro makeup. Just last week they launched their all natural, organic baby body products line with sunscreen, body lotion and a shampoo and body wash.
All gentle for their skin.
If you are in the market for these type products I’d love for you to check these items and more out on my webpage at http://www.limelifebyalcone.com/donnabrooks
Love this! Thanks for the info
What is your favorite stick sunscreens?
Attitude brand stick sunblock is good for my son’s sensitive skin (we use unscented) AND the tube is compostable. Everyone wins.
Have you seen that Blue Lizard has a spray now???? $19.99 on Amazon. Any feedback on it? In the past, my favorites have been Blue Lizard and ThinkBaby but our daycare prefers we provide a spray form so we used bare republic spray last year for her and the other two brands at home. I am excited to see we get another option with Blue Lizard.
Curious if you guys evaluated “All Good” brand sunscreen? My daycare uses it so trying to figure out if it’s also a good option.
Hi, Cara — I’ve used AllGood and LOVE it — it has few ingredients and is wonderful for sensitive skin!
We just started using badger baby sunscreen with clear zinc – mineral sunscreen no nano particles or oxybenzone. It is less irritating to my child’s eyes than thinksport/thinkbaby and blends in with her skin better.