23 Best Sunscreens for Babies and Kids
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 sunscreen for babies 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. Only once a baby is 6 months old should you start applying the sunscreen—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 sunscreen for babies is made equally! There’s sunscreen for babies with eczema and or otherwise sensitive skin, natural sunscreen, hypoallergenic 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 hypoallergenic sunscreen for babies
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 sunscreen for babies 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 natural 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).
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, 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
Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Fragrance-Free
Baby Bum’s natural sunscreen is specifically formulated for babies, toddlers and kids, relying on zinc oxide, coconut oil and shea and cocoa butter to protect and moisturize, all without leaving a greasy residue. Plus, the baby sunblock is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
Supergoop! Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Lotion
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). It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Buy it: $26, Supergoop.com
Nurture My Body Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 32
Another top organic baby sunscreen pick, Nurture My Body is 100 percent certified organic and chemical-free, relying instead on non-nano zinc oxide, jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E to protect baby’s face and body.
Babies pretty much across the board have delicate skin, but if your little one needs something extra-gentle, you’ll want the best sunscreen for babies that caters to that. The six below are all designed to protect little ones from the sun without irritating their soft, vulnerable skin.
Earth Mama Kids Uber-Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
To ensure this sunscreen—which earned a 1 rating from the EWG—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, EarthMamaOrganics.com
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50
Also tapped as best sunscreen for kids 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: $10, Amazon.com
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 60
This gentle baby sunscreen was developed with dermatologists to not only protect against UVA and UVB rays but also nourish the skin, thanks to antioxidants and vitamin E. You won’t find any parabens, fragrances or oxybenzone in this sunscreen for sensitive skin. Plus, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30
More than 600 Amazon reviewers (as well as the EWG) consider this among the best sunscreen for babies, 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, Amazon.com
COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
Yet another best sunscreen for kids according to the EWG, COOLA offers an organic mineral sunscreen in stick form—so you get top sun protection as well as an easy application. Made with tamanu oil, avocado butter and chamomile, it’s designed to be ultra-gentle on delicate skin.
Buy it: $26, Coolasuncare.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.
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
Among the safest sunscreen for babies (rated 1 by the EWG), this mineral 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: $19, Amazon.com
CeraVe Baby Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 45
CeraVe’s hypoallergenic mineral baby sunblock 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: $13, 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, another top EWG pick. 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
Another concern for parents? Finding hypoallergenic sunscreen, especially for babies whose skin easily reacts to lotions. These five baby sunscreens have all been dermatologist-tested and approved, which means they have the least chance of aggravating baby’s skin.
BurnOut Sun Kids Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Listed as one of the best sunscreens for babies and kids by the EWG, this sunblock is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, chemical-free, eco-sensitive and non-greasy. We call that a win.
Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
This sunblock earned a 1 rating from EWG, making it 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
Babyganics Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+
Here’s another 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: $17, Amazon.com
Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Made without phthalates, parabens or petrolatum, this baby sunblock is 98.8 percent natural and fully hypoallergenic. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide block the sun’s rays while vitamin E and coconut extract keep baby’s skin silky soft. Plus, it’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Buy it: $28, Amazon.com
Waxhead Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Enriched Sunscreen SPF 35
You’ll find this sunblock on the EWG’s list of best sunscreen for babies and kids, and for good reason: It 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
And finally, we have our list of the best waterproof sunscreen for babies. All five options included here are SPF 50 or more and resistant to water play for at least 80 minutes. (The average is 40, so these offer double the fun in the sun!)
Bare Republic Mineral Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Yet another baby sunblock listed as among the safest sunscreen for babies by the EWG, this option from Bare Republic uses non-nano zinc oxide as well as aloe, baobab oil, shea butter and chamomile extract to protect and moisturize baby’s skin.
Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play UVA/UVB Protection Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100
While not a mineral sunscreen, this Banana Boat sunblock for kids is pediatrician-tested and offers a tear-free, sting-free formulation for sensitive skin. “It’s thick and greasy, but my daughter has never burned while using it,” a Bumpie mom says. “She hasn’t even tanned.”
Buy it: $8, Amazon.com
Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple Mineral-Based Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Another popular sunscreen brand for kids, Coppertone offers this mineral baby sunblock that made the EWG’s list of best sunscreen for babies. Its formula contains zinc oxide and is free of dyes and fragrances. As one Bump user says, “The sunscreen did its job, and it wasn’t outrageously priced like some of the other brands.”
Sunology Mineral Sunscreen for Kids SPF 50
Rounding out our list of the best water-resistant sunscreen for babies and kids is Sunology’s mineral sunblock, a top-rated EWG pick. It’s a broad spectrum, string-free sunscreen for babies that’s infused with moringa oil for soothing sensitive skin. Bonus: It’s made in the USA.
Buy it: $15, Amazon.com
Photo (main image): Candice Dawn Photography
Updated June 2019