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How To Choose The Safest Sunscreen For Your Baby

Is your favorite sunscreen also the safest sunscreen for babies?

safest sunscreen for infants and toddlers

I am pretty sure you have tried a number of baby sun care products and probably found your favorite.

The safest and best sunscreen for babies and toddlers would ideally be one that blocks all UVa and UVb radiation. It would also provide protection for many hours and be free of harmful ingredients.

As we all know this formula does not "yet" exist, so let us have a look at the safest sunscreens for infants available today.

For your convenience EWG's Skin Deep cosmetic safety database has a list of the safest sunscreens. Out of this list of 158 sunscreens we chose the top ten parents also voted as the best.

On this page:


What is the best sunscreen for infants?

Sunscreen for infants younger than 6 months.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents to keep their infants under 6 months out of the direct sunlight. At this age baby's skin is very delicate and thin and also has little melanin which is our natural skin protection. Keep babies in a shady place under the trees or by using an umbrella. Read more on how you can protect your baby from skin problems caused by the sun.

Sunscreen for infants older than 6 months.

The safest sunscreen for infants are products containing zinc oxide, titanium dioxide will provide good protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Try to avoid spraying and powders as they fill the air with tiny particles that may harm your baby if he breaths them. Look for a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher.


What is the difference between sunblock and sunscreen?

Sunblock vs sunscreen

Sunblock has physical properties as it forms a protective barrier preventing UV rays from entering the skin. No need to reapply and works instantly.

Sunblocks with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are not absorbed by the skin. Titanium dioxide is a sunscreen agent often used for producing hypoallergenic sun products.

The only reason why people rather not use these products is that they cause a not so attractive whitening of the skin.

This is why the newer types of sunblock are nearly invisible. To make zinc oxide based sunblocks invisible they are made of nano-size particles.

Though nano particles should be used with caution because there is still not enough safety information available regarding nanotechnology.

Sunscreen uses chemical ingredients to absorb the UVA and UVB rays. They let some radiation into the skin depending on their Sun Protection Factor.

Sunscreen does not work right away but needs to be applied at least 15 to 30 minutes before you take baby out in the sun.

You also need to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours because after that the active ingredients start to break down.

But also after sweating, swimming or drying with a towel sunscreen will wear off and you need to apply it again.




How to buy sunscreen?

Read these tips before you buy a baby sunscreen.

Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays with SPF of 15 to 50+. There is no evidence that sunscreens with SPF higher than 50 give meaningful extra protection.

Be careful with sunscreens claiming to be waterproof. Every sunscreen will wash off after a while. Some may be water resistant for a certain amount of time but it should be clearly written on the label for how long.

Read the labels and avoid ingredients including PABA, Aminobenzoic acid, Dioxybenzone,Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octyl-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), Octocrylene, Salicylates, and Parabens which have shown in lab tests in rats to be irritants, carcinogens and/or hormone disrupters.

Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) - Nearly 30% of all sun care products use vitamin A because it has anti-aging properties. Try to avoid these products because recent studies show that vitamin A has photocarcinogenic properties which means that it forms free radicals that damage our DNA when exposed to sunlight.

Avoid sunscreens with insect repellant. As you may need to reapply the sunscreen every two hours it is not that healthy to use an insect repellant that often.


Top 10 safest sunscreens for babies

After reading many sunscreen reviews we made a list with the best natural sunscreens for children. We compared customer sunscreen ratings with the results of the EWG's Skin Deep best rated sunscreens.

Sunscreen product
UVA/UVB protection Customer rating
thinkbaby sunscreen SPF50safest sunscreen thinkbaby EXCELLENT four and half star rating
California Baby Super sensitve SPF 30 + Sunscreen GOOD four star rating
TruKid SPORT Unscented/Water Resistant Sunny Days SPF30+ EXCELLENT four and a half star rating
BurnOut SPF 30+ KIDS Physical Sunscreen GOOD four star rating
Badger All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30, Unscented EXCELLENT three and half star rating
Eco Logical All Natural Sunscreen for Baby SPF30+ EXCELLENT three star rating
SPF 30 Children's Unscented Sensitive Skin GOOD three star rating
UV Natural SPF 30+ Baby Sunscreen EXCELLENT three star rating
Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen, Unscented EXCELLENT N/A
Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 GOOD three star rating



Does sunscreen expire?

Most sunscreens are designed to stay effective for a period of three years. Usually you can find the sunscreen expiration date somewhere on the product. Though expiring of a sunscreen should not be a concern if you use the right amount of sunscreen to give adequate protection.

The recommended amount is 1 ounce or a shot glass full of sunscreen for each application. If your sunscreen lasts more than a year you may not be using enough.



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