In The Guide
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)
Active 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.
#2. Thinkbaby Sunscreen (SPF50)
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.
#3. Babo Botanicals (SPF30)
Active 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.
#4. Califoria Baby (SPF30+)
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.
#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!
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!
- Greaseless, the easiest-to-apply sunblock on the list
- EWG Rating of 1 (excellent)
- Not as white as the other sunblocks
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.
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!
The other articles in my Summer Safety series:
- Baby Bug Repellent: Choosing Non-Toxic & Safe Baby Bug Spray
- Baby Life Jackets: Choosing a Safe & Dependable Life Jacket For Babies
- Introducing Babies to the Water: The Safe & Fun Guide: Introducing Babies to the Water
- Swim Diapers: The Best Swim Diapers For The Beach or Pool
- Stroller Fans: Keeping Cool This Summer With a Stroller Fan
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