6 Best Sunscreen for Babies

Protect your little from the harmful effects of the sun with these great baby sunscreens.

Everybody needs their Vitamin D, and getting a dose of sunshine is the best way to get it.

But as we all know, too much of a good thing can be, well, just that. From sunburns to skin damage to skin cancer, the sun has harmful effects, especially on young, tender skin.

Enter: Sunscreen.

Do Babies Need Sunscreen?

It’s best to keep babies under 6 months old out of direct sunshine. You can employ preventive measures like outfitting them in sun hats, light, breathable long sleeves and long pants (or clothes with sun protection of with UPF 30 or higher), seeking out shade and avoiding times of intense rays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The above guidance also applies to babies 6 months and older—and you, too!—but once they’re around that age, you can start to apply sunscreen to them as well. Since a sunburn can happen in as little as 10 minutes—depending on how fair skin is and the time of day—you’ll want to have a baby-friendly sunscreen handy. And remember, it takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to do its magic, so be sure to apply before you head outdoors.

What Type of Sunscreen is Best?

When choosing a sunscreen to use on your child, look for these five key components:

  • Broad-spectrum coverage: Since UVB rays cause sunburns and UVA rays can prematurely age skin and cause melanoma, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from both types of rays.
  • Natural ingredients: Chemicals like oxybenzone and octisalate are often used in sunscreens and work by sinking into the skin and then absorbing and deferring UV rays. They can potentially irritate sensitive skin, and the jury is still out on whether they can have long-term adverse effects on little ones (oxybenzone is known to be a hormone disrupter). So it’s best to go with natural blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals sit on top of the skin and reflect away both UVA and UVB rays (a.k.a. broad-spectrum coverage).
  • Water-resistant: There’s no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen. But ones labeled “water-resistant” will stand up to sweat and water for either 40 or 80 minutes (check the label to see what the specific formula provides). You will need to reapply sunscreen after this time period.
  • At least SPF 15: This is the minimum SPF number that will protect against burns and cancer-causing rays. SPF 30 is best, but any higher than that and the amount of increased protection is minor.
  • A cream sunscreen: Sunblocks come in sticks, sprays, and creams. Sprays can make application easy on an antsy toddler, but they still need to be rubbed in order to provide adequate coverage. Plus, their small particles can be inhaled. Most importantly, parents often don’t apply enough sunscreen when using a spray or they miss spots, and a burn can result. Although creams take more time to apply, they’re worth it to make sure your baby is fully covered. Be sure to rub it in well, and make sure all the exposed parts are covered—don’t forget tops of feet, backs of knees, ears, and lips too. And apply it above where shirts or shorts end, in case they ride up during play.

Below are some sunscreens to consider. They all are highly rated by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that helps parents protect children from harmful chemicals. You may find that one of these popular picks works great for you and your family too.

Best Overall Sunscreen

ThinkBaby Sunscreen

 Why We Love It

It’s a minor miracle when a zinc oxide sunscreen goes on smooth and clear and doesn’t feel greasy. That’s why we’re head over heels for Thinkbaby’s formula. Just because it’s easy to apply doesn’t mean it’s skimpy on sun protection—it’s packed with 20% zinc oxide and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Keep in Mind

Most kids and parents like the tropical papaya smell of the lotion. But if fragrance drives you nuts, this isn’t the sunscreen for you.

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Best Drugstore Sunscreen

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Baby Sunscreen

 Why We Love It

Aveeno products are great for dry or sensitive skin, and this sunscreen is no different. A mineral sunscreen, it contains naturally sourced zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays are free of fragrances, parabens, and phthalates, and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It also contains oatmeal, which helps keep skin maintain moisture.

Keep in Mind

This is on the thicker side, so it takes extra work to apply, and it can be hard to get off.

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Best Super Pure Sunscreen

Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla, SPF 30

 Why We Love It

This top-rated EWG sunscreen is free of chemicals, 100% natural and is made with 98% organic ingredients. Made with zinc oxide, it also includes a blend of sunflower oil, beeswax and vitamin E for moisturizing. Badger is biodegradable and coral-reef safe.

Keep in Mind

This is only water-resistant for 40 minutes and has a tangerine-and-vanilla scent that smells like creamsicles (so if you’re scent averse, move along!).

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Best Strong and Pure Sunscreen

Adorable Baby Sunscreen

 Why We Love It

Adorable Baby’s 24% zinc oxide formula also goes on clear (yay!) so it won’t make your child look like a ghost. And the sunscreen’s all-natural ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, and grape seed oil are moisturizing (read: slick).

Keep in Mind

One downer: it’s only water-resistant for 40 minutes.

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Best Stick Sunscreen

Babyganics Pure Mineral Sunscreen Stick 50+ SPF

 Why We Love It

While lotion sunscreens are best for fully covering baby’s skin, sometimes a stick sunscreen can come in handy. Swipe it over tops of tiny ears, onto lips or across little noses for an easy application. This Babyganics sunscreen stick is made without phthalates or fragrances, is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is tear-free. It’s also compact enough to take along anywhere.

Keep in Mind

You’ll want to have a lotion sunscreen, as well.

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Best Sunscreen for Super Sensitive Skin

California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+ Mineral Sunscreen

 Why We Love It

Sensitive types rejoice. This sunscreen has no fragrance and is PABA free. With 12% titanium dioxide, it protects fast-burning skin and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Keep in Mind

Since this sunscreen has a cream cheese-like consistency, the application is a process. Even after extra rubbing in, the sunscreen will likely still leave a pale cast on your little one’s skin.

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This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content.

 

 

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