Lots of research now support what we already know; that kids should spend lots of time outdoors. They play with nature and get a good dose of Vitamin D. But, the same sun rays which provide the much needed Vitamin D can also lead to uncomfortable burns and other long term harmful conditions. So much confusion!
Choosing baby sunscreen to prevent damage is even more confusing. Some of them contain chemicals that are potentially harmful too. Exasperated already? Don’t worry; we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Read on to learn how you can choose the best baby sunscreen for your little one’s outdoor safety.
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Baby Sunscreens of 2018: Full Review
- 1.Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Stick – Best Sunscreen Stick For Babies
- 2.Nurture My Body Organic Baby Sunscreen – Best Organic Sunscreen For Babies
- 3.CeraVe Baby SPF 45 Sunscreen – Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreen For Babies
- 4.Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen – Best Baby Sunscreen for Irritated Skin
- 5.MD Moms BabySilk Baby Sunscreen – Best Hypoallergenic Sunscreen for Babies
- 6.ThinkBaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ – Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies
- 7.Babyganics Mineral Based Sunscreen Spray – Best Sunscreen Spray For Babies
- 8.Burt’s Bees Nourishing Mineral Sunscreen – Best Non-Greasy Sunscreen for Babies
- 9.Blue Lizard Australian Baby Sunscreen – Best Baby Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin
- 10.Alba Botanical Tropical Fruit Spray – Best Smelling Sunscreen for Babies
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Does My Baby Really Need Sunscreen?
- When Should I Apply Sunscreen On My Baby?
- What Do The SPF Numbers Mean?
- Should My Newborn Use Sunscreen Too?
- Aren’t The Chemicals Just As Harmful As UV rays?
- Should I Use A Chemical Or Mineral Sunscreen?
- What Are My Application Options?
- What Makes A Sunscreen Ideal For My Baby?
- Our Favorite Pick: The No 1 Baby Sunscreen
Top 10 Baby Sunscreens of 2018: Full Review
Each of the following top rated baby sunscreens stand out in their own way. After you are done reading this review, you will be able to decide which one would suit your baby best. Happy reading.
The number one thing Aveeno Baby Sunscreen Stick has going for it is its waxy nature that lets it stay put and not drip into sensitive little eyes. This makes it one of the best sunscreens for babies’ face.
This mineral-based stick, made using oats and 100% natural ingredients, does not irritate tender skins or cause outbreaks which means it’s a great sunscreen for babies with sensitive skin. It’s probably the best sunscreen stick for kids out there.
All those goodies plus being developed by dermatologists make Aveeno Baby Sunscreen safe for your precious baby. The only reason it isn’t among our top 5 list is because it is expensive. But you know what they say; good things don’t come easy.
- It doesn’t drip so it’s ideal for facial use.
- The sunscreen was formulated by dermatologists.
- It is water resistant which means sweat won’t wash it off.
The barrier protection feature means the harmful rays don’t enter at all.
- It’s quite expensive.
- You may find it difficult to use on the body.
- It’s a little difficult to rub it in completely.
If you are looking for the best suntan lotion for babies, look no further. The USDA regulates all products that bear the label “organic” so by choosing an organic baby sunscreen like Nurture My Body, you’ll be using one of the safest sunscreens for infants on your baby’s tender skin.
With a “zero” toxicity rating (the lowest possible) by the Environmental Working Group, vegan certified, and a BPA-free packaging, you should rest assured that no hazardous ingredients will find its way to your baby’s skin.
- The sunscreen is a certified organic product.
- It has a toxicity rating of zero.
- It was made using 8 ingredients only which means no fillers or additives.
- It’s pretty expensive.
- The thickness may put off some.
You have to remember to shake it every time you apply.
CeraVe baby sunscreen is paraben, sulfate, and fragrance-free which means there’s less of a likelihood that your baby will react to using it. It’s so gentle it’s a good choice as sunscreen for 6 month old babies and even younger.
One thing we like about CeraVe is the broad-spectrum coverage it offers, making it one of the very best sunscreens for kids. Most parents have found this sunscreen to be a good choice sunscreen for babies with sensitive skin so if you baby has easily irritated skin (hello eczema outbreaks), this is an ideal choice for you.
- CeraVe is so gentle it can be used on already irritated skin.
- This sunscreen offers protection from a large range of rays.
- It is fairly water resistant.
It has no added fragrance.
- You may experience difficulty rubbing it in.
It comes in small (3.5 oz) packaging so it may need to be replaced often.
The Neutrogena Baby Sunscreen stands out from the pack in many ways. It has an SPF of 50, protects against both UVA and B rays, and wait for it… has a Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association! This literally guarantees that the mineral-based kickass barrier protection aka Neutrogena Pure & Free will not aggravate your baby’s eczema.
It’s the perfect sunscreen for younger babies who are usually very eczema prone so you can now stop googling “sunscreen for 3 month old baby” or any other variation of that, you are welcome. This is also one of the few sunscreens that is both non-greasy and water resistant.
- It is hands down the best formula for eczema-prone skin.
- It is non-greasy.
- Being mineral-based, it doesn’t get absorbed into your baby’s skin.
It’s great for all round protection.
- Even with all those great features, it’s a tad bit pricey.
It does have the tendency to stain fabrics.
If your child has allergic reactions as frequently as he throws tantrums, it can be really scary to think of putting anything on his skin (we went a full year without body lotion so I know). You’ve also learnt that “hypoallergenic” doesn’t always mean “not a single allergen”. However, this mineral-based formula which has been dermatologically approved doesn’t contain any of the common skin irritants. There’s no mineral oil, lanolin, parabens, phthalates, or fragrances in there.
The MD Moms hypoallergenic sunscreen for babies is also very gentle on little eyes. This is the best sun protection for your little one who has allergies without any major tradeoff.
- It is TSA approved for carry-on luggage.
- It doesn’t contain any common allergen.
It is extremely gentle on the eyes.
- It’s a bit thick so you may find it sticky to rub in.
While easy to carry around, the small bottle means you’ll have to buy often.
Where babies are involved, natural is always best. You want the purest form of sunscreen on your baby’s delicate skin without thought. ThinkBaby is the best natural sunscreen for baby we’ve seen yet. It contains not a single harmful chemical but is still highly effective at gently protecting babies from harmful sunrays.
Thinkbaby strikes a good balance with a ‘1’ toxicity rating and maximum water resistance and sun protection levels compliant with FDA regulations. Furthermore, it’s non greasy and easy to wash off after application.
- The package being small, it’s air-travel-friendly.
- It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.
- It’s a very balanced sunscreen being natural, is very effective and not too highly priced.
It’s easy to wash off.
Some may find it thick to apply and rub in.
Sprays aren’t the most recommended sunscreen option for babies because they may inhale the mist. However, the Babyganics Mineral Based Spray is a mineral sunscreen which doesn’t use a mist-like spray and, therefore, doesn’t become airborne.
With broad-spectrum protection for your baby, this gentle formula is easily the best spray sunscreen for toddlers as well as babies because it’s non-allergenic and doesn’t sting in the eyes.
- It has an easy to use spray application.
- It is highly water resistant.
- It doesn’t sting when it enters the eye.
It’s a broad spectrum protection sunscreen.
- It’s not a spray and go solution, you still need to rub it in.
- If used with white clothing, it may create stains.
It contains a few filler chemicals.
Burt’s Bees sunscreen is ideal for when your kids need to play in the sandbox. What’s different you say, well if you don’t want them looking like a miniature version of sandman, this is the sunscreen of choice.
It’s mineral-based and actually contains hydrating ingredients to nourish your little one’s skin as he plays while still acting as sunblock. Because we know how much toddlers like to play in the sand, we are voting this the best sunblock for toddlers when you are out on the beach or at the playground.
This sunscreen also offers broad spectrum protection and is hypoallergenic. It didn’t make our top 5 list because it may make skin appear whiter, and the water resistance capability only lasts 40 minutes.
- This protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- It contains skin-nourishing ingredients.
Some may like the mild and pleasant fragrance.
- It’s a bit too thick.
- It may cause skin to appear whiter.
Its water resistant properties only last about 40 minutes.
The Blue Lizard Brand originates from Australia where they have the most stringent standards in the world. We actually found this when we were frantically searching for a gentle sunscreen for my 4 month old baby.
Packaged in a BPA-free bottle, this gentle mineral-based cream offers broad-spectrum protection and doesn’t include all the harmful chemicals that are usually seen in traditional sunscreens. The absolute coolest feature of this sunscreen is its packaging bottle which changes color to tell you how much UV rays are present so you can reapply sunscreen on your child regularly.
- It comes in a BPA-free bottle.
- It offers protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- It’s free of harmful chemicals.
Its creative packaging alerts you of presence of rays.
You may find it a bit too oily.
This pleasant yet not overpowering scented sunscreen spray will leave your baby protected and smelling sweet all day long.
The Alba Botanical Fruit Spray is gluten-free, biodegradable, and water resistant. For up to 80 minutes of exposure to water or sweat, the Alba Spray will not wash off. It’s also a broad-spectrum protection spray, protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
- It’s a water resistant sunscreen.
- It’s pleasantly scented.
- It’s a non-greasy sunscreen.
It is a botanical based spray.
- Being very fragrant, it may irritate sensitive skin.
- You may have to rub it in.
- Some of the ingredients are possible allergens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does My Baby Really Need Sunscreen?
You may have wondered if it’s really that important to use sunscreen for your baby since most of them are so toxic and it’s okay; we too wondered some years ago. The thing is, UV rays (the damage causing rays) are abundant in sunlight and cause all sorts of skin ailments and sunburn is only the least dangerous of them. These ultraviolet rays can go so far as causing skin damage or even skin cancer in extreme cases.
It’s so much easier for young children and babies to develop these ailments. Furthermore, sustaining just one major sunburn in childhood can as much as double the risk of skin cancer, also called melanoma, in adulthood.
The two forms of UV rays A and B both cause different degrees of skin damage and can contribute to the development of skin cancer. You can blame UVB rays for uncomfortable sunburns but UVA rays cause just as much damage and are the major cause of aged skin. So when you use sunscreen on your baby, you are protecting him/her from not just burns but also long-term damage.
When Should I Apply Sunscreen On My Baby?
Most people assume that the sun needs to be high in the sky for it to be able to cause damage but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Whenever your child goes outside, you should make sure he is protected with a sunscreen and this includes during winter too.
Ultraviolet rays are present many times and it isn’t always when the sun is high. To get an accurate estimate of how often UV rays appear, you may want to invest in the Blue Lizard Australian Baby Sunscreen which is packaged to alert you of present UV rays.
What Do The SPF Numbers Mean?
When pressed to buy a sunscreen, one thing most people decide to go buy is the SPF (sun protection factor) written on the bottle. However, it is good to note that even though you have a sunscreen with a particularly high SPF, its effectiveness largely depends on the time of the day and your location. These factors can significantly alter how long you are able to stay unscathed outside, even with the very same sunscreen.
While no SPF level, no matter how high, can block UV rays 100%, most sources agree that it’s best to use a sunscreen with at least SPF15. What is most important is that you continually reapply your baby’s sunscreen every 2 hours on average even with those incredibly high SPF sunscreens.
Should My Newborn Use Sunscreen Too?
The stand on whether or not to use sunscreen on a newborn is unclear. Most doctors will ask you to play it safe and refrain from using sunscreen at all before your baby is 6 months old but sometimes you just have to go with your mama instincts.
Newborns of course shouldn’t be exposed to strong sunlight and hats should be used. You may also want to check out clothing items with SPF before your reach for the bottle of sunscreen. Once you baby is a bit older, use only sunscreens specially formulated for babies so there’s less chance it will irritate their delicate skin.
Aren’t The Chemicals Just As Harmful As UV rays?
This is probably the number one reason most parents skip the sunscreen but it may please you to know that the majority of sunscreen formulas are considered safe to use. There are also many mineral-based sunscreens, some of which we’ve reviewed, that are not absorbed by the skin. These are great options for a chemical free experience.
Also, even though chemicals on your baby’s skin are particularly scary to think about, consider that they are serving a purpose which is to shield your baby from possible risk of skin cancer among other things. All that said; when choosing sunscreen, be on the lookout for a chemical named oxybenzone and choose ones that do not contain it. Studies have found links between this chemical and hormone disruption in children.
Should I Use A Chemical Or Mineral Sunscreen?
The two main types of sunscreens are chemical and mineral. Which you use is totally up to you and your needs.
- Chemical sunscreens,as the name implies, are sunscreens that have chemicals in the lotion or spray. You rub them on your skin and they are absorbed completely. They in turn absorb the harmful UV rays that hit your skin. However, these have become less recommended in favor of mineral based sunscreens.
- Mineral sunscreens aka “barrier” sunscreens are newer but quickly becoming mainstream and for good reason. They work by putting up an actual barrier between your skin and UV rays and as you’ve guessed, the rays are reflected off your skin surface. They are generally less toxic than chemical sunscreens but they tend to be thicker and sometimes look like you are wearing a light coating of white paint.
What Are My Application Options?
Whether you choose to use chemical sunscreen or the much safer mineral based ones, you have basically 4 options when it comes to application…
- Lotions or Creams usually give the strongest coverage because they are rubbed in.
- Spraysare great for the misty release of protection but are a big no no for babies because inhalation can be hazardous. You are supposed to hold your breath while you apply them.
- Sticksunscreen is the best sunscreen for facial use, especially for babies. Because it’s waxy in nature, it won’t run into sensitive eyes.
Mousse is a convenient blend between spray and lotion sunscreens. Although you still need to rub it in because it isn’t a mist, you apply it as you would a spray. This is great for babies.
What Makes A Sunscreen Ideal For My Baby?
To choose the most effective yet safe option for your baby, use these guidelines…
- SPF – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you choose sunscreens with SPF 15 at least.
- Broad Spectrum – It’s also wise to pick one with broad-spectrum protection.
- Baby Formula – Children have more delicate skins than adults so always remember to pick a sunscreen that is specially formulated for babies.
- Chemical vs Mineral – The easy answer would be to use mineral based all the time but we know it’s not always possible. So if your baby doesn’t have allergies or a sensitive skin, a chemical sunscreen, while not preferred, will do just fine.
Method of Application – The general rule here is to stay away from mist-based sprays. Apart from that, simply choose the method that best suits your needs.
Our Favorite Pick: The No 1 Baby Sunscreen
You may have already noticed that we gushed about the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen but it truly does deserve a special place of honor aka favorite spot.
This sunscreen has a great SPF, 50, protects against both UV rays, is allergen-free and has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. Since some babies have always happily made pacts with Eczema and all kinds of allergies, their parents too will have to make a pact with Neutrogena Pure & Free. What you’ll find most surprising is that this sunscreen, unlike many other top notch baby sunscreens, doesn’t cost a leg and an arm.
If you’ve gotten all the way down here, chances are you are less confused now, maybe even made a choice and are feeling pretty confident about taking your baby out for some summer sun fun. Being a parent is not easy; you deserve every bit of the fun as well. So prepare not just for your baby but for yourself too and have great fun – protected in your sunscreen of course.