You might slather sunscreen on yourself all day long with no regard, but you’re likely looking at ingredients a little more closely when it comes to what you’re layering onto your kids’ skin. Luckily there are plenty of SPFs that are safe and easy to swipe onto their mushy baby cheeks.
According to dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD, it’s definitely best to steer clear of chemical sunscreens (ones containing ingredients with carbon-based compounds such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and avobenzone) that can be super irritating for children with sensitive skin or eczema. “I recommend opting for a mineral sunscreen that is paraben- and fragrance-free as well as hypoallergenic,” says Dr. Nussbaum.
ICYMI, mineral sunscreens have a base made out of zinc and titanium, which are gentler on kids’ skin. “I prefer mineral sunscreens for children because as a parent, you can easily see where it’s being applied and are less likely to miss a spot. Also, some chemical sunscreens take about 20 minutes to begin working whereas mineral sunscreens provide protection as soon as they’re applied to the skin,” explains Dr. Nussbaum.
But basically, when it comes to wearing any kind of SPF, you should be putting it on your kids every day. Why? Well, a lot of your lifetime sun exposure happens in your youth. “It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of an individual’s total lifetime sun exposure happens in the first 18 years of life,” Dr. Nussbaum says. “In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one or two blistering sunburns doubles your child’s risk of melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer.”
And if you have babies that are six months old or less, Dr. Nussbaum says they should be out of the sun completely or wearing sun-protective clothing. (So feel free to add a million cute little baby hats to your shopping cart!) Now that you’re informed, keep scrolling for the best sunscreens for kids and babies.
“I like that it contains naturally moisturizing ingredients, such as coconut oil, Shea butter and cocoa butter and it’s fragrance-free and paraben-free,” says Dr. Nussbaum. The lightweight, non-greasy formula is both mineral-based and protects from UVA/UVB rays.
2 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Dr. Nussbaum recommends this Supergoop stick because of how well it spreads onto children’s faces. Plus, this lil’ guy is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Also note that you should be reapplying *right after* swimming or sweating (even if it’s under 80 minutes) since the sunscreen has probs been diluted.
3 Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
This is another great one for the ~diaper bag~. Dr. Nussbaum says “it soothes and hydrates with Shea butter, is fragrance-free for sensitive skin” and that the formula gives total broad spectrum protection. The full package, you guys.
Okay so, this product has over 2,600 reviews on Amazon. That’s, like, a lot of love. It’s also totally free of kid-irritating chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate and avobenzone. *adds to cart immediately*
5 Sunscreen Stick 50 SPF
Stick sunscreen makes everything easier. Throw this zinc-based formula in your gym, beach, or everyday bag for a smooth-application SPF that your kiddos can wear just about anywhere.
6 Kids Continuous Protection Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
This tube can double as a treatment for a diaper rash since zinc oxide creates a protective barrier on skin, preventing further irritation. It’s also packed with soothing oats.
This portable, oil-free stick is small enough to stash in your purse or diaper bag, so you can keep the kiddos protected on-the-go.
8 Kids Mineral-Based Sunscreen
While there are many reasons this Australian brand is loved by pediatricians, one of its most unique attributes is its smart bottle technology: The cap turns blue when it’s time to reapply the mineral SPF.
9 Anthelios Mineral Sunscreen Gentle Lotion SPF 50
This gentle SPF is perfect for sensitive skin types since it’s free of parabens, fragrance, and oils. Plus, it’s dermatologist tested to be suitable for sensitive skin.
10 Photoderm Kid SPF 50
French beauty brand Bioderma is typically associated with their cult-fave micellar water, but did you know they make sunscreen, too? This formulation has a temporary light blue tint that fades away post-application, so you can ensure you don’t miss a spot. V cool!