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11 Best Baby Sunscreens to Protect Your Little One’s Skin

Before you hit the beach, stock up on some tried and tested baby sunblock.
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profile picture of Ashlee Neuman
Content Director
Updated
May 18, 2022
Best sunscreen for babies 2022
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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. “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.”

This leads us to a frequently asked question: If baby sunblock is so good, can adults use it too? The answer: 100 percent yes. “In fact, I commonly recommend baby sunscreen for adults who have very sensitive skin,” says Zeichner. “Zinc oxide is not irritating; it’s used to help calm inflamed skin.”

That said, not all baby sunblock is the same. There’s sunscreen for babies with eczema and sensitive skin, nifty sticks, thick lotions 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 in sunscreen for babies and kids. 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!

When Can Babies Wear Sunscreen?

Even if you have the best baby sunscreen at the ready, most dermatologists, including Zeichner, recommend that you avoid using sunscreen on newborns. Instead, the youngest babies should be protected from the sun with umbrellas, breathable blankets and canopies. Once baby is 6 months old, you can start applying sunblock—and look for sunscreen specially formulated for babies.

How to Apply Baby Sunscreen

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 as 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, make sure to cover the scalp with sunscreen.

  • DO make sure babies cover up—and accessorize! When in the sun, little ones should wear breathable 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 there’s an adequate amount of sunscreen on the skin. Afterward, you still have to rub the sunscreen in fully.

Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies

We don’t want our babies coming into contact with potentially harmful chemicals, so most of the best baby sunscreen options are crafted from natural ingredients. Still, while many may say “natural” on the label, keep in mind that this term is not regulated. That’s why we turned to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which tests just how safe (and effective) various products claim to be. The EWG assesses each product based on its ingredients list, and assigns a numerical score, with 1 being the best rating and 10 being the worst. According to the EWG, “the score reflects both the degree of protection from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and the hazards of all ingredients on the label.” All of the natural baby sunscreens in this category earned a rating of 1 (the best option) on the organization’s site.

Image: Badger Company

Badger Company Baby Mineral Sunscreen Cream

On the hunt for an all-natural baby sunscreen? Not only is this baby sunblock 100 percent natural, it’s also 98 percent organic—score! Instead of chemical agents, Badger’s formula relies on sunflower oil, beeswax, chamomile, calendula, seabuckthorn and vitamin E to protect, moisturize and soothe baby’s skin. Plus, this sunscreen is biodegradable and reef safe, meaning you can protect your family without harming the environment. One possible downside? This sunscreen is water and sweat resistant for just 40 minutes, which means you’ll need to reapply it more frequently than other options on our list.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Cruelty-free
  • Reef-safe
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 40
  • 98 percent organic ingredients

What to consider:

  • Very thick formula
  • Leaves a white cast on the skin
  • Reapply after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating

Buy it: $16, iHerb.com

Image: Earth Mama Organics

Earth Mama Organics Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

All of Earth Mama’s products received the highest rating from the EWG. Our top pick? This mineral formula, which offers SPF 40 protection. It’s packed full of safe, organic ingredients like raspberry seed oil and shea butter that either moisturize sensitive skin or contribute to the overall SPF value—nothing more, nothing less. The broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect baby from harmful UVA and UVB sun rays, and is water resistant for up to 40 minutes.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Reef-safe
  • Cruelty-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 40
  • No parabens or artificial fragrances

What to consider:

  • Leaves a white cast on the skin
  • Thick formula is hard to squeeze out of the tube
  • Reapply after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating

Buy it: $15, BohemianMama.com

Image: Erbaviva

Erbaviva Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 30

Not only did this baby sunblock earn a top rating from the EWG, but like many others on this list, it was also hand-picked as one of the 20 top-scoring baby sunscreen brands 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 it’s a light sunblock that doesn’t leave white residue on the skin—plus, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Reef-safe
  • Cruelty-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Paraben- and sulfate-free
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes

What to consider:

  • Slightly more expensive option

Buy it: $23, Erbaviva.com

Best Sunscreen for Babies With Sensitive Skin

Babies have delicate skin across the board, but if your little one needs something extra gentle, we’ve found three options designed to protect them from the sun without irritating their soft, vulnerable skin. Better yet, all of these options have received a 1 or 2 rating from the EWG.

Image: Waxhead

Waxhead Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Enriched Sunscreen SPF 35

Next up is another sunblock on the EWG’s list of best baby sunscreen. Waxhead’s formula contains just six mineral ingredients, and they’re all certified organic, biodegradable and reef-safe. Made for sensitive skin, it’s free of fragrance and petrochemicals, and enriched with non-GMO vitamins E and D. Better yet, this product has rave reviews on Amazon with one customer saying: “I love this sunscreen! It’s thick but spreadable and is wonderfully waterproof. My fair-skinned toddler can swim for hours and not get the slightest bit pink.”

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Tear-free formula
  • Only six ingredients
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 35

What to consider:

  • Very thick formula
  • Leaves a white cast on the skin

Buy it: $24, Amazon.com

Image: Attitude Living

Attitude Sensitive Skin Baby & Kids Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

Next up is a vegan and cruelty-free baby sunblock that earned a top rating from the EWG. The mineral sunscreen contains non-nano zinc oxide, which forms a protective barrier against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Plus, the hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested formula is enriched with colloidal oatmeal, which can help soothe sensitive, eczema-prone skin.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Contains 1 percent colloidal oatmeal

What to consider:

  • Thick formula
  • Leaves a sticky residue on the skin

Buy it: $17, AttitudeLiving.com

Image: Supergoop

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. Thanks to the brand’s efforts, this product was listed as one of the safest sunscreens for babies earning a good rating from the EWG. And, yes, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 2
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes

What to consider:

  • Thick formula
  • May leave a subtle white cast on the skin

Buy it: $28, Supergoop.com

Best Waterproof Sunscreen for Babies

Here are our picks for the best waterproof sunscreen for babies. All of the options included here are resistant to water for at least 80 minutes. (The average is 40, so these offer double the fun in the sun!)

Image: Thinkbaby

Thinkbaby Sunscreen Stick SPF 30

First up on our list of the best waterproof baby sunscreens? The top-rated stick by Thinkbaby. Pegged as the “standard for safe sunscreen,” this product has the highest level of UVA and UVB sun protection available. The non-greasy formula is easy to apply and is quickly absorbed into the skin (a major bonus point when you’re trying to get even coverage on a wriggly baby). Better yet, it’s free from harmful chemicals and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Travel-friendly packaging
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes

What to consider:

  • Sunscreen must be applied liberally, so the small stick may not last long

Buy it: $12, GoThink.com

Image: Babo Botanicals

Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Here’s another product pegged as one of the safest sunscreens for babies by the EWG. 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. Still not convinced? This sunblock is a bestseller on Amazon with tons of 5-star reviews.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 2
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • 70 percent organic ingredients
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes

What to consider:

  • Leaves a white cast on the skin
  • Some customers report that this product irritates sensitive skin

Buy it: $17, Amazon.com

Image: Tubby Todd

Tubby Todd Bath Co. Mineral Sunstick

Among the safest sunscreens for babies according to the EWG, this highly water-resistant sunscreen stick uses aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil and other natural ingredients to protect and soothe baby’s sensitive skin. The compact packaging means you can slip this product in your pocket or fanny pack, so you’ll never be caught without your trusty SPF. Plus, it’s water-resistant for 80 minutes of fun in the sun.

What we love:

  • EWG rating: 1
  • Cruelty-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes

What to consider:

  • Very small stick
  • Contains natural fragrance
  • Leaves a white cast on the skin

Buy it: $18, TubbyTodd.com

Best Sunscreen for Babies With Eczema

If your child has been diagnosed with eczema, don’t fret. After rigorous testing, these sunblocks earned the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, marking them as the best sunscreen options for babies with eczema. Rest assured, these products are designed to protect baby’s skin without irritating it.

Image: Aveeno

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Stick

For on-the-go protection, look no further than the Aveeno baby sunscreen stick. This mineral baby sunblock is non-greasy, fragrance-free and designed to be as gentle as water. Specially formulated for delicate skin, it contains soothing oat and naturally sourced zinc that acts as a natural barrier to UVA and UVB rays. Plus, it comes in a TSA-friendly travel size, so you can pop it in your diaper bag whether you’re heading to the park or a beach vacation. It’s even water-resistant for 80 minutes.

What we love:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Earned National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance

What to consider:

  • EWG rating: 3
  • Greasy residue

Buy it: $10, Amazon.com

Image: Neutrogena

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen Lotion

The next 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. It’s also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

What we love:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Tear-free formula
  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Water resistant for up to 80 minutes
  • Earned National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance

What to consider:

  • EWG rating: 5
  • Very thick formula
  • Leaves a white cast on the skin

Buy it: $11, Target.com

About the expert:

Joshua Zeichner, MD, is an associate professor of dermatology and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He earned his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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