18 Best Baby Sunscreens to Protect Young Sensitive Skin
Babies are delicate little creatures, which is why they need their own special kind of sun protection when they play outside. That’s where baby sunscreen comes in.
So what makes baby sunscreen special? “We tend to use sunscreen that contains mineral blockers for babies, while adults use mineral blockers alongside chemical blockers as well,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. “Many parents are concerned with the use of titanium dioxide in sunscreens for kids, so many of the latest baby sunscreens are zinc-only. Because zinc is an element found naturally in our bodies, it’s safe to use on delicate baby skin.”
Still, even with the best baby sunscreen at the ready, most dermatologists, including Zeichner, don’t recommend using sunscreen on newborns. Instead, infants should be protected from the sun with umbrellas, blankets and canopies. When can babies wear sunscreen? Only once a baby is 6 months old should you start applying the sunblock—and look for sunscreen specially formulated for babies.
Which leads us to another frequently asked question: If baby sunblock is so good, can adults use it too? Answer: 100 percent yes. “In fact, I commonly recommend baby sunscreen for adults who have very sensitive skin,” Zeichner tells The Bump. “Zinc oxide is not irritating; it’s used to help calm inflamed skin.”
That said, not all baby sunblock is made equally! There’s sunscreen for babies with eczema and or otherwise sensitive skin, natural sunscreen and of course waterproof options too. And for every category of baby sunscreen, there are plenty of products to choose from! Which is why we’ve rounded up the best of the best sunscreen for babies and kids, so you can consider your child’s needs and pick a sunblock that works for your little sunshine—‘cause they’re going to need it before they meet the actual sunshine!
In this article:
How to put sunscreen on a baby
Best natural sunscreen for babies
Best sunscreen for babies with sensitive skin
Best sunscreen for babies with eczema
Best waterproof sunscreen for kids
As it turns out, the rules for sunscreen application are more or less the same for babies, kids and adults. Of course, since babies are smaller, they don’t need quite so much sunscreen. Here are a few more tips and tricks to keep in mind when considering how to put sunscreen on a baby, courtesy of Zeichner:
- DO apply a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen to baby’s head. If they don’t have hair yet, DO make sure to cover the scalp with sunscreen.
- DO make sure babies cover up—and accessorize! When in the sun, little ones should wear long-sleeved clothing, hats and even eye protection. (Yes, baby sunglasses. Those little eyes are sensitive!)
- DO reapply sunscreen every two hours or as soon as baby gets out of the water.
- DON’T chase babies and kids when applying sunscreen, especially when it comes to sunscreen sprays. In order for those sprays to be effective, they must be sprayed 1 inch from the skin. Spray until the skin glistens.
- DON’T be afraid to use sunscreen sticks; just make sure to apply them correctly. You should apply a sunscreen stick back and forth to make sure that there’s an adequate amount of sunscreen on the skin. And afterward, you still have to rub the sunscreen in fully.
Because we don’t want our babies coming into contact with potentially harmful chemicals, most of the best baby sunscreen is crafted from natural ingredients. Still, while many may say “natural” on the label, some are definitely more natural than others. That’s why we turned to the Environmental Working Group, which tests just how safe (and effective) various products claim to be. All of the natural baby sunscreens on this list earned a 1 rating on the site—the best the EWG has to offer.
Adorable Baby Sunscreen SPF 30
Billed as 100 percent natural, this sunscreen for babies, toddlers and kids is free of any synthetic or chemical ingredients, and is gluten-free, cruelty-free and vegan to boot. Non-nano zinc oxide and organic oils combine to offer water-resistant sun protection (for up to 40 minutes).
Buy it: $20, Amazon.com
Badger Baby Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
On the hunt for a good organic baby sunscreen? Not only is this baby sunblock 100 percent natural, but it’s also 98 percent organic–score! Instead of chemical agents, Badger’s sunscreen relies on sunflower oil, beeswax and vitamin E to protect as well as moisturize and soothe baby’s skin. As one Bumpie says, “The best thing about it is the ingredients list. It makes me feel secure that it will protect my baby from the sun without harming him in any way.”
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+
Here’s a non-allergenic, dermatologist-tested baby sunblock to consider. It’s made without phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nan particles, and instead made with only plant-derived and certified organic ingredients. To nourish baby’s delicate skin, it uses a special blend of tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin and raspberry seed oils. “My children have never burned using Babyganics sunscreen,” a Bump user gushes.
Buy it: $10, BuyBuyBaby.com
Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Here’s another great choice among the safest sunscreens for babies and toddlers. The active ingredient is 100 percent non-nano zinc oxide and doesn’t contain any gluten, soy, dairy, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, talc or dyes. It’s super-gentle, reef-safe and water-resistant for 80 minutes.
Buy it: $17, Amazon.com
Waxhead Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Enriched Sunscreen SPF 35
Yet another sunblock on the EWG’s list of best baby sunscreen, this pick contains just six ingredients, and they’re all certified organic and mineral ingredients that are biodegradable and reef-safe. Made for sensitive skin, it’s free of fragrance and petrochemicals and enriched with non-GMO vitamins E and D.
Buy it: $24, Amazon.com
Erbaviva Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 30
Not only did this baby sunblock earn a 1 rating from the EWG, but, like many others on this list, it was also hand-picked as one of the 16 top-scoring baby sunscreens among all EWG-approved options. It’s naturally crafted with zinc oxide, aloe, sunflower, olive and jojoba oils and infused with organic essential oils of chamomile and lavender. Parents love that its a light sunblock that doesn’t leave white residue and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Buy it: $23, TheTot.com
Two Peas Organics Mineral Baby & Family Sunscreen SPF 50
This certified organic option is another standout among the best natural sunscreen for babies. Its formula relies on 25 percent zinc oxide to prevent painful sunburns, and with an SPF of 50, it’s powerful enough to protect adults and kids but gentle enough to be used on babies.
Buy it: $15, Amazon.com
Babies pretty much across the board have delicate skin, but if your little one needs something extra-gentle, you’ll want the best baby sunscreen that caters to that. The six below are all designed to protect little ones from the sun without irritating their soft, vulnerable skin.
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50
Tapped as one of the best sunscreen for kids (and babies) by the EWG, this sunblock is said to have earned more awards than any other sun care line. Dermatologist-recommended and free of chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates and more, it offers water-resistance coverage that’s powerful but gentle on baby’s sensitive skin.
Buy it: $20, BuyBuyBaby.com
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30
More than 700 Amazon reviewers (as well as the EWG) consider this among the best baby sunscreen, giving it a near 5-star rating. The reef-friendly mineral sunscreen is dermatologist-recommended and doesn’t contain any fragrances or parabens, and offers 40 minutes of water resistance. As one Bumpie mom says, “It’s much safer than a lot of the other sunscreens out there! Plus, it rubs in without leaving too much residue, and it isn’t too smelly.”
Buy it: $25, BuyBuyBaby.com
California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen
Free of added fragrance, common allergens, harsh chemicals and other irritants, this baby sunblock is a great choice for kids with sensitive skin, eczema or allergy concerns. “It has minimal ingredients but a high EWG and Think Dirty rating, so I know I’m not slathering chemicals all over my son,” one mom raved.
Buy it: $18, Amazon.com
Earth Mama Kids Uber-Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
To ensure this kids’ sunscreen is safe for even the rashiest of skin, Earth Mama added calming organic colloidal oatmeal and shea butter to the non-nano zinc formulation, making it one of the best sunscreens for babies with sensitive skin. It’s gentle and non-irritating, and safe for the reef too. It’s also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Buy it: $15, Amazon.com
If your child has been diagnosed with eczema, don’t fret. After rigorous testing, three sunblocks have earned the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, marking them as the best sunscreen for babies with eczema. Rest assured, these options are designed to protect baby’s eczema skin without irritating it.
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
This mineral baby sunblock is oil-free, fragrance-free and designed to be gentle and non-irritating. It’s even water-resistant for 80 minutes. “Both of my boys had eczema, and this was the only sunscreen that wouldn’t dry out their skin,” a Bumpie mom says. “A couple different sunscreens would turn their skin red after I applied it. The Aveeno baby sunscreen didn’t cause any reaction. It also smelled the best and worked the longest!”
Buy it: $20, Amazon.com
CeraVe Baby Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 45
CeraVe’s hypoallergenic mineral baby sunscreen contains ceramides that restore and maintain skin’s natural protective barrier, and is free of parabens, sulfates and fragrance. It’s also water-resistant for 80 minutes.
Buy it: $19, Amazon.com
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen SPF 60+
The third sunblock line rated best sunscreen for babies with eczema is Neutrogena’s Pure & Free sunscreen. Naturally sourced mineral ingredients shield baby from UVA and UVB rays without leaving a heavy, greasy residue. The sunscreen stick is perfect for protecting baby’s sensitive face and ears.
Buy it: $8, Amazon.com
And finally, we have our list of the best waterproof sunscreen for babies. All of the options included here are resistant to water play for at least 80 minutes. (The average is 40, so these offer double the fun in the sun!)
TruBaby Water & Play Truly Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Among the safest sunscreens for babies according to the EWG, this highly water-resistant sunblock uses aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil and other natural ingredients to protect and soothe babies’ sensitive skin. It’s unscented and free of phthalates and parabens, and even biodegradable with 100 percent recyclable packing.
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com
Supergoop! Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 50
Supergoop! made their baby sunscreen fragrance-free, silicone-free, hypoallergenic and easy to apply (because slathering squirmy little ones in sunblock is no easy task). And thanks to its efforts, this was listed as one of the safest sunscreens for babies by the EWG. And yes, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes!
Buy it: $26, Supergoop.com
Coppertone WaterBabies Pure & Simple Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
Another pick named by the EWG as one of the best baby sunscreens, this hypoallergenic sunblock is made with zinc oxide. It offers, broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, up to 80 minutes of water resistance and outstanding spot protection for areas like kids’ ears, nose and face.
Buy it: $10, HouseofBeautyWorld.com
Banana Boat Kids Sport Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
While not a mineral sunscreen, it’s made without oxybenzone and octinoxate, earning it a spot on the EWG’s list of safest sunscreens for babies. It provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The sunscreen stick format makes it ideal for sensitive areas like little ones’ faces and ears.
Buy it: $6, Amazon.com Plus, more from The Bump: