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10 Baby-Safe Sunscreens to Protect Your Little One

A mom rubbing sunscreen on her toddler's shoulders.
Gorlov-KV/Shutterstock

When you’re hanging out with your baby at the beach, pool, or just in the backyard, don’t forget the sunscreen! Babies can get a sunburn in minutes, so it’s best to keep them covered in a sunscreen that also won’t irritate their sensitive skin.

Choosing the best sunscreen for your child can feel a bit overwhelming because there are so many options and rules.

For example, doctors don’t recommend putting sunscreen on babies who are 6 months or younger. For newborns, physical sun protection, like umbrellas and other coverings, are best.

We’ve rounded up some of the best (and safest) baby sunscreens available to help you choose the right one.

What to Look for and Avoid in Baby Sunscreens

When searching for a baby-safe sunscreen, you’ll want to make sure it includes all of the following:

  • Natural ingredients: The active ingredient list should only contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are the only FDA-approved mineral sunscreen ingredients. Mineral sunscreens form a barrier on the skin that absorbs harmful UV rays before they can reach your baby’s precious skin. These sunscreens leave behind a white residue and generally feel thicker.
  • An SPF of at least 15: This the minimum for effective sun protection. SPF 30 or 50 is even better, but, in a pinch, SPF 15 will do.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage: This means it protects from UVB and UVA rays, both of which can cause melanoma.
  • Water-resistant: Don’t believe the marketing lies: waterproof sunscreen doesn’t exist. However, a water-resistant sunscreen will last longer when exposed to sweat or water.

You want to avoid the following:

  • Chemical ingredients: Especially oxybenzone and octisalate, which soak into the skin. While more comfortable than mineral sunscreens, they can irritate sensitive skin and might have negative long-term effects on children. Oxybenzone is actually banned in Hawaii due to concerns that it’s damaging coral reefs.
  • Sprays: When applying sunscreen to a wriggling toddler, a spray might seem like your best bet. But these are easier for little ones to inhale, so it’s better to apply a cream so you have more control over placement.

Best Overall: Thinkbaby Safe SPF 50

While many zinc oxide sunscreens feel heavy and sit on the skin, Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50 has perfected a formula that manages to feel much more lightweight and clear. But that’s not the only reason it’s a winner! It’s also free of chemicals, like avobenzone, oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, and UV chemical absorbers, and offers broad-spectrum coverage.

Thinkbaby also has the highest level of water-resistance per the FDA at 80 minutes and is free of known reef-damaging chemicals. It’s gluten- and cruelty-free, vegan, and smells like papaya, which is wonderful.

In other words, Thinkbaby checks off all the boxes we covered above, which is why it’s our favorite.

Best Overall

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3 ounce)

Protective with all-natural ingredients.

Best for Dry Skin: Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Babies with dry skin need an extra moisturizing sunscreen, and Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen is a great choice. This mild sunscreen isn’t greasy or irritating, so it’s great for sensitive skin. It even earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

It has broad-spectrum protection, applies easily, and is safe to use on baby’s face and body. It’s sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The tear-free formula is also fragrance-free and made with oats, both of which are key for dry, sensitive skin.

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby SPF 50

A tube of Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby sunscreen on a table next to bag filled with makeup and baby items.
Neutrogena

Running to the drugstore to grab some sunscreen on the way to the beach? Pick up Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby SPF 50. This very accessible, excellent sunscreen is formulated with a high percentage of zinc oxide and also has a seal of approval from the National Eczema Association.

It uses Purescreen Technology to absorb, reflect, and scatter any dangerous rays and keep baby safe. The tear-free formula won’t sting your child’s eyes. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and free of all harmful chemicals.

Best Stick: Supergoop Sunnyscreen Mineral Stick

While creams are always your best bet when using sunscreen on a little one (they just tend to offer better coverage), sometimes, a stick is the easiest thing, especially on a squirmy toddler. The Supergoop Sunnyscreen Mineral Stick is a great option.

It’s free of all nasty chemicals and feels incredibly lightweight. With an SPF of 50, it’s protective, incredibly easy to apply, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Because it’s a stick, it’s also spill-proof, which is convenient.

Best Plant-Based: Babyganics Lotion

This non-allergenic, broad-spectrum sunscreen is water-resistant and tear-free. It also doesn’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. The formula for Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion includes the company’s NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend, which is comprised of tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin, and raspberry seed oils.

Babyganics sunscreen is easy to apply (and a little goes a long way) and offers plenty of protection. It also doesn’t really have a scent, which is nice if you aren’t into fragrances.

Best Lightweight: Baby Bum Mineral Lotion

Someone holding a tube of Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion.
Sun Bum

Our personal favorite, Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is by far the most lightweight formula we tried. It’s creamy, smooth, and melts right into baby’s skin, without leaving behind an icky film. It’s also made with zinc oxide and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, so that’s a huge plus!

Baby Bum’s lotion is also made with coconut oil, and shea and cocoa butter to make it incredibly hydrating. Still, it never feels oily, and it’s also fragrance-free.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Earth Mama Baby Face Mineral Lotion

Earth Mama Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is ideal for kids with very sensitive skin. Made with non-nano zinc, it’s reef-friendly, nontoxic, and won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin.

Other ingredients include calming organic colloidal oatmeal (also used in eczema cream) and organic shea butter, which are incredibly hydrating. While it’s on the thicker side, it’s worth it if your baby has super-sensitive skin that needs a little extra attention.

Best Zinc Oxide: Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is an incredibly popular choice for both kids and adults. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and natural zinc. It also doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals, so you can feel good about putting it on your little one’s skin.

The packaging also makes this one stand out. The cap turns blue in the presence of harmful UV rays. The brighter the shade of blue, the harsher the sun is. It’s a useful reminder to reapply.

Best Organic: Badger Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen

If you prefer all organic ingredients, opt for Badger Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen. It’s made with only seven simple ingredients: non-nano zinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswax, sunflower vitamin E, chamomile, calendula, and sea buckthorn. It’s also gluten-free, hypoallergenic, and ideal for babies with sensitive skin.

Badger Baby is also water-resistant for 40 minutes and has a light chamomile and calendula scent that will remind you of summer. It’s reef-safe, eco-friendly, full of antioxidants, and actually good for your baby’s skin.

Best for Eczema: CeraVe Baby Hydrating SPF 45

The great thing about CeraVe Baby Hydrating Sunscreen is it includes three essential ceramides, which are oils naturally found in the skin to keep it moisturized. This makes it ideal for babies with eczema who need a sunscreen that works with their skin.

CeraVe is also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s gentle, goes on easily, and is dermatologist-recommended.

Jessica Booth Jessica Booth
Jessica Booth is a freelance writer for Review Geek. She has been working in the editorial world as a freelance writer for over two years and previously worked as an editor for over eight years.  Jessica writes about travel, beauty, wellness, health, food, home decor, and parenting, and has reviewed and tested out products for all of those verticals over the course of her career. Read Full Bio »

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