Summer 2016 Guide: The 5 Best Non-Toxic Sunscreens For Babies

Avoid sunburns and awful chemicals with a non-toxic baby sunscreen.

The 5 Best Baby Safe Sunblocks

The weather is finally getting nice and sunny, and now you’re looking for a good sunblock for your little one.

The fact is this:

One bad sunburn can double your little one’s risk of melanoma later in life. Sun protection is no joke.

Luckily for you, I’ve put together a guide and list of my favorite sunblocks for babies! I sure wish I had something like this when I was shopping for one.

The 5 Best Sunscreen Recommendations For Infants

Here are some of the best sunscreens for infants.

#1. Badger Baby Natural Organic Sunscreen (SPF30)

Badger BabyActive Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 18.75%

I love Badger Baby’s Natural Organic Sunscreen (click here to check price)! It’s certified all-natural, and is one of the safest sunscreens out there.

It contains no chemicals at all, and is made from an organic base of sunflower oil and beeswax.

If you’re like me and don’t like strong-smelling sunscreens, you’ll be happy to know that this one barely smells like anything. You have to pretty much put your nose in it to smell anything, and even then it’s super faint.

The biggest downside to natural sunscreens is that they’re probably more greasy than you’re accustomed to, and it can come as a bit of a shock at first. It takes a while to absorb into the skin and your child will look a little white and creamy for a while.

It’s well worth it knowing you have a completely chemical-free sunscreen, though. Harmful chemicals vs. a little greasiness is a no-brainer.

An upside to the greasiness is that it makes it a lot more water-resistant than a typical sunscreen, which is good if you’re going to spend any time at the beach or pool this summer.

Click here to check the price on Amazon.

#2. Thinkbaby Sunscreen (SPF50)

ThinkBaby
Active Ingredient: Zinc oxide 20%

One of the highest-rated sunblocks available, Thinkbaby (click here to check price) is pretty amazing stuff. It’s totally free of harmful chemicals and contains mostly naturally-sourced ingredients.

It is kind of greasy, but it’s a lot better than most other natural sunblocks, especially the other sunblocks on this list, like Badger Baby. After a while it will absorb, but expect it to take a while.

It does have a mild fragrance added to it; I can’t really place it, but it’s slightly fruity. It’s not overwhelming and it’s not chemical-based, so it’s not a big deal unless you really hate smells.

Being oil-based, it’s decent for the pool or the beach, but be sure to reapply when they get out of the water to make sure it stays as effective as possible.

It shouldn’t sting the eyes at all, but be very careful if you apply it to the face.

I don’t personally put much stock in the EWG website, but this is one of their highest-rated safe sunscreens for babies, if that matters to you.

Click here to check the price on Amazon.

#3. Babo Botanicals (SPF30)

Babo BotanicalsActive Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 22.5%

An all-natural sunscreen without chemicals, Babo Botanicals (click here to check price) is awesome!

Like any natural, zinc sunscreen, it’s a little white and not as easy to apply as you might be used to. But it seems to be better than most, and with a little rubbing it will blend in and turn clear.

I’ve tried natural sunblocks that turned me white as a ghost, which is never fun. I mean, I am pale, but not THAT pale.

I’ve seen a few people say that it’s hard to apply, but I don’t get that at all. It’s possible they had some that was expired, or a bad batch, or something. But I had no trouble with it at all.

Just be warned that, like most sunscreens of this type, it can stain your clothes white. But it will wash out.

All in all, pretty awesome for an all-natural sunscreen without chemicals or parabens.

Click here to check the price on Amazon.

#4. Califoria Baby (SPF30+)

California Baby
Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide (11.0%)

California Baby (click here to check price) makes a natural, non chemical-filled sunblock that uses organically-sourced ingredients. (It’s not a certified organic product, however; that requires the product to be at least 95% organic.)

This is the only titanium dioxide based sunscreen on the list (it has no zinc), which is great news for those with children who have an allergy to zinc oxide.

A lot of people complain that it leaves the skin looking white, but that’s the case with most any physical sunscreen like this. If your child’s skin is tan, it might not be the best choice, because it’s pretty visible even on very pale skin.

It doesn’t have fragrance added, so it has a very faint pasty smell, but it shouldn’t bother either you or your child. If they have sensitive skin, it does a good job of not irritating it.

Other that that, it’s a pretty good and effective sunscreen!

The downside is that it’s expensive; more so than the other sunblocks on the list.

Click here to check price on Amazon.

#5. BurnOut KIDS (SPF35)

UPDATE: In 2014, BurnOut reformulated this sunblock and I can no longer recommend it. They added several potentially-harmful chemicals, and there are many reports of it no longer being effective as a sunblock (kids getting awful sunburns), and being much harder to spread out.

BurnOut, why would you mess with what was an awesome kids sunblock? So stupid. Don’t buy Burnout Kids sunblock!

BurnOut Kids
Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 18.9%

Like most natural sunscreens, it’s a bit sticky and takes some time to smooth out on the skin, but that’s the price of using the good stuff.

A lot of of people find that it spreads out a lot more smoothly than some of the other ones on this list. This might not sound like a big deal, but try putting sunscreen on a little wiggler and you’ll see what I mean!

That’s one of the biggest benefits this one has over the others, and trust me, it’s a pretty significant advantage!

Other than how easy it is to put on, it works really well, especially considering it’s supposed to only be an SPF35 sunblock.

For those that care about EWG ratings, it scores a 1, being one of the safest-rated kids sunblocks they have on the site. With no chemicals or parabens, it’s very safe. It also has no fragrance added!

Pros

  • Greaseless, the easiest-to-apply sunblock on the list
  • Odorless
  • EWG Rating of 1 (excellent)
  • Not as white as the other sunblocks

All of the above are the best and most popular sunscreens meant for babies and kids. All of them should work well; they’re all physical sunblocks without irritants.

Sunscreen vs. Sunblock: What’s The Difference?

Some people use the terms “sunscreen” and “sunblock” interchangeably, but they’re actually two very different things.

A sunscreen is chemical-based, and uses the chemicals to absorb the UV rays. While there have been no proven studies to show that the chemicals used in these products are harmful, it is thought that they can be both cancer-causing and endocrine system disrupting.

Do you really want to chance that with your delicate child?

Furthermore, these chemicals are absorbed into the skin, and tend to be more irritating than physical sunscreens.

A sunblock (also known as physical sunscreen) uses minerals (most commonly zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) to physically reflect the UV rays.

There’s a lot of confusion here, as even some of the manufacturers use these words incorrectly.

Experts recommend a physical sunblock for babies, but I personally recommend them for everyone. Any and all of the sunblocks I recommend will be physical, mineral-based sunblocks.

The only real downside to them is that they tend to be slightly more expensive than their chemical-filled counterparts. It’s a small price to pay, if you ask me.

What to Look For in a Sunscreen For Your Baby

Many parents think that they have to get the strongest, highest SPF, most expensive sunscreen they can find, but that’s really not the best way to go about it. There are some things you should know.

  • Choose a physical sunscreen, as opposed to a chemical sunscreen. A physical sunscreen is usually made with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. A physical sunscreen sits on the skin to reflect UV rays, while a chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin. While there’s no proof that these chemical sunscreens are dangerous, the chemicals can be irritating to a baby’s sensitive skin. Also, physical sunscreens are effective as soon as they’re applied, while chemical sunscreens need time to become effective after being applied.
  • Find a sunblock that is at least SPF 30. This is assuming you get a physical sunblock, which you should. Higher SPF ratings in chemical sunscreens mean more exposure to chemicals with diminishing returns in how protective it is.
  • Water-resistant sunscreen is also a good idea. Even if you aren’t going to be taking your baby to the beach or public pool, they’re going to sweat when outside in the heat, and water-resistant sunscreen will make sure that it stays effective.
  • Hypoallergenic & fragrance free sunscreen is important, especially if your child has sensitive skin.

What to Avoid: Nasty Chemicals

You want to avoid any sunscreens that have nasty chemicals.

Something I came across that was particularly disturbing was Babyganics “mineral-based” (notice the wording?) sunscreen.

It might lead one to believe that it’s a mineral, physical sunscreen, but it really isn’t. If you look at the ingredients, it contains octinoxate (7.5%) & octisalate (5.0%), both of which are possible carcinogens.

Any of the sunscreens I recommend below will be 100% physical sunscreens without any of the nasty stuff.

Babies 6 Months and Younger: Should They Wear Sunscreen?

If your baby is 6 months or younger, I’d recommend keeping them out of direct sunlight altogether if you can help it. This is especially important between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the sun and UV rays are harshest.

If you have to take him out in the sun, make sure he’s well protected, with a wide-brimmed hat (while little baseball caps might be cute, they don’t do much to protect from the sun), long-sleeve shirt and pants, and in a hooded stroller, if you have one.

If you’re going to be spending time outside—at the beach, for example—you should bring a good umbrella to sit under, too.

You can also apply a proper sunscreen to areas that are going to be exposed to sunlight, but don’t overdo it. Apply a small amount to areas like the cheeks, back of the hands, ears and any other area that’s exposed to the sun.

If you have any questions or comments on the sunscreens listed, or anything to do with sun protection for your baby, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Don’t Miss The Rest of My Summer Safety Series!

Summer is a fun time, but there are a lot of dangers and concerns during those hot (and sometimes wet) months.

The other articles in my Summer Safety series:

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Comments

    • Paula
    • May 16, 2015
    Reply

    I can not thank you enough for this guide!! I was looking for SAFE and NATURAL sunscreens for my 2yo daughter and ended up going with Thinkbaby (your first suggestion) and I love it! I feel great knowing that I’m not exposing my child to harmful chemicals & harmful sunrays! Keep up the great work!!

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • May 16, 2015
      Reply

      I’m glad it was helpful, Paula!

      I think it’s super important to avoid chemicals, and it’s so much easier to do so today because of all the information available.

    • Joy
    • May 29, 2015
    Reply

    What about Honest brand?

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • June 3, 2015
      Reply

      I haven’t looked into their sunscreens but I’ll have to. Thanks for mentioning them!

    • Petra
    • September 7, 2015
    Reply

    Hello, we are taking our newborn to Cuba where he is going to celebrate his 3 month birthday lol we have it all…tent/little inflatable pool for under the palapa as well as floater with sunshade…rash guard shirts, hat and sun glasses…I still wanted to get sunscreen for the time when we are I the ocean… Which would be the best fit? Think Baby or badger? Or do you have another suggestion?
    Thx!!!

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • September 7, 2015
      Reply

      Petra, I’d personally recommend going with Thinkbaby!

    • Kara M
    • May 2, 2016
    Reply

    What do you think of Live Clean sunscreen? I’m not 100% sure but I think it might be a Canadian only brand. I purchased some today and I’m excited to try it.

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • May 3, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Kara. I’ve never actually heard of it, and it does seem as though it’s a Canadian brand. If anyone else has tried it, I’d love to hear your experiences!

    • Kara C
    • May 5, 2016
    Reply

    I have probably sent this link to a hundred mom friends over the last couple of years! Thank you!

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • May 6, 2016
      Reply

      Kara, thank you so much for the support! I’m so glad to hear that it’s been helpful to you and all your mama friends! :)

    • Gracie
    • June 20, 2016
    Reply

    Any info on a brand called Blue Lizard? It’s an Australian sunscreen. I’ve read good things about their baby sunscreen but if you could provide additional information I’d appreciate it!

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • July 17, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Gracie, I’ll look into it. I’ve heard of it but never tried it out.

    • Claudia
    • July 4, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for this list, and your review style is extremely helpful – like talking to a friend rather than reading some generic site!
    Just curious – why don’t you put ‘alot of stock ‘ into the EWG site? I’ve also heard some criticism and not sure what to think.
    Also, any thoughts on the Think Dirty app resource?

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • July 17, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you for the kind words!

      There are a few reasons why I think the EWG can be sketchy at times. Apparently they have some misinformation and some nonsensical ratings. Here is a good post about why they aren’t a 100% trustworthy resource.

    • Graziella
    • July 11, 2016
    Reply

    You are an awsome mom for your babe and also for our thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. My daugther is going to be born now and here in Spain in summer. I will defenetly try to dont expose her from 10-4 when the sun is stronger. But sometimes it might be imposible to avoid. Please, couldyou tell me what sunscreen you recomend?
    Thanks in advance

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • July 17, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Graziella, any of the sunscreens I have listed here should be perfect for your trip.

    • Bridget
    • July 15, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for the information on sunscreens, it is really helpful. Do you know is Babo Botanicals is water resistant?

    1. MomTricks Jen
      • MomTricks Jen
      • July 17, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Bridget, it’s supposed to be but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in that. Be sure to reapply after getting out of the water to make sure no sunburns happen.

    • Allegra
    • July 22, 2016
    Reply

    I have never left a comment on a website before but I just had to say THANK YOU!!!! I’ve been going crazy looking for a safe sunblock for my babies here in the UK and it seemed like an impossible task as all the good brands don’t seem to be available here! After reading your list I have found both badger and thinkbaby!
    Thank you so much!!

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