How to choose (and use!) a baby sunscreen

You probably know that protecting your baby’s skin from the sun is pretty damn important (like, it can help them avoid sunburn, skin damage, and even skin cancer later in life – no biggie). And you probably know that applying sunscreen is a fabulous form of sun protection… for you, anyway. But how does it work when it comes to babies? If this is your first time doing the mom-gig, you may not know. 

So, read on to find out when babies can wear sunscreen, how to choose and use a baby sunscreen, and our recommendations of the best baby sunscreen products.

When can babies wear sunscreen?

Babies can use sunscreen from six months of age (according to experts). 

Why? Well, young babies have super sensitive skin, meaning they’re at greater risk of experiencing side effects of sunscreen, like rashes. Plus, their skin is more likely to absorb more of what’s applied to it than that of an adult – including chemicals in sunscreen (eek).

How to use baby sunscreen 

When your baby is of sunscreen-wearing age, there are a few things to know about using sunscreen. 

Sunscreen isn’t 100 per cent effective at protecting your little person’s skin (or your skin, for that matter) from the sun. This is because it filters the sun’s rays but doesn’t block them.

So, experts recommend taking a range of steps to safeguard your baby’s skin, including: 

  • Staying out of the sun – this, in particular, is the best method of sun protection for babies under 6 months.
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing – think a sun protection hat and a UPF-rated shirt, at minimum.
  • Seeking shade wherever possible – or creating shade if needed, using a baby sun protection tent, or similar.

Then, when using sunscreen, it’s essential to do so correctly to ensure your little one is protected. This looks like applying sunscreen liberally to any body part that will see the sun at least 20 minutes before going outdoors. And then reapplying it every two hours, or after sweating or swimming (it’s a good idea to keep a tube of ‘screen in your diaper bag, so you don’t get caught without). 

How to choose a baby sunscreen

The specific baby sunscreen you choose will likely come down to budget, availability, and even preferences (if you’re going to be swimming a lot, you’ll want something water-resistant). 

But basics to look for are SPF30 or higher and broad-spectrum protection (this means it’ll safeguard your babe from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays). And in terms of the safest sunscreen for a baby, avoid sunscreens with the ingredient oxybenzone (as it may have hormonal properties) and look for mineral-based sunscreens (these are gentler on the skin and less likely to be absorbed into your kiddo’s body). 

Ultimately, products specifically labeled as being for babies or sensitive skin will be your best bet.

What are the best baby sunscreens?

Ok, what is the best sunscreen for babies? Well, there are so many out there! But here are seven of our favorites. 

The Kind Sunscreen

Ok, this zinc sunscreen is impressive. It’s made from just nine ingredients (wild, we know), is all-natural, vegan-friendly, and safe for babies, breastfeeding mamas, those with allergies or sensitive skin, and even the goddamn reef and ocean, all while offering SPF30, broad-spectrum protection. To whom do we address our love letter for this sunscreen?

Do note that while the folks at The Kind Sunscreen claim its creams are safe for use for wee ones under the age of six months, always speak to your doctor before using anything on your babe’s skin. 

Buy it here.

The Kind Sunscreen

Source: The Kind Sunscreen Co

Feel Good Inc Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion

Feel Good Inc’s Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion ticks so many boxes. 

It’s specifically formulated to be gentle AF for even the most delicate skin (making it one of the best sunscreens for babies with sensitive skin). It’s fragrance-free. It’s SPF50+ and broad-spectrum (for ultimate protection). It’s water-resistant for up to four hours (great news if you’ve got a little water baby). And it’s suitable for babies over six months, expecting mamas (great news, especially if you’re ever pregnant in summer), and anyone in the family really (pets excluded, though – ha). 

Buy it here

Feel Good Inc Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion

Source: Feel Good Inc

Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Cute name aside, this baby sunscreen is the sh*t. It’s SPF50, made of safe minerals to protect babies’ skin from both UVA and UVB rays, is fragrance-free, lightweight and non-greasy, and easy to rub in (perfect for wriggly babies). As if there couldn’t be more to love, it’s also a plant-based and vegan formula and has been pediatrician-tested. 

Buy it here. (Or here, if you’re in the US.)

Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Source: Priceline

Babyganics Sunscreen Stick

Babyganics’s baby sunscreen stick is a must for families. Because of its stick form, it’s easy to apply (a win). On top of this, it offers SPF50+ broad-spectrum coverage, has been tested by pediatricians and dermatologists, is non-allergenic, and even tear-free. Plus, it’s not tested on animals (love!). 

Buy it here. (Or here, if you’re in the US.)

Babyganics Sunscreen Stick

Source: Amazon

Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen

This gorgeous baby sunscreen is sheer and gentle, fragrance-free, and provides SPF50 and broad-spectrum coverage. Wonderful! But it’s also cruelty-free, reef-friendly, rich in anti-oxidants, and gluten, dairy, and soy-free (so perfect for babies that might have allergies).  

Buy it here. (Or here, if you’re in the US.)

Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen

Source: iHerb

Wotnot Natural Sunscreen

There’s so much to love about this award-winning sunscreen. It’s SPF30 and broad spectrum for high protection. It’s zinc-based and made from certified organic ingredients. It’s also highly nourishing and gentle AF – its ingredients are designed to soothe and protect the skin, making it one of the best sunscreens for babies with eczema. 

It can also be used by the whole family, including babies as young as three months old, according to the brand. Though, do always check with your doctor before using anything on your babe’s skin.

Buy it here.

Wotnot Natural Sunscreen

Source: Wotnot

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen

While many baby sunscreens are unscented, this one comes with a fabulous (yet inoffensive) citrus fragrance – so fun. But this aside, this non-toxic baby sunscreen is also a damn good product. It’s free of harmful chemicals, is SPF50+, is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and broad-spectrum. It’s also reef-friendly and is highly rated by the Environmental Working Group. Tick, tick, tick. 

Buy it here. (Or here, if you’re in the US.)

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen

Source: Amazon

We hope this leaves you feeling sunscreen-sure, mama. Know that no matter which sunscreen you choose, the best sunscreen is whatever you put on you and your babe’s skin anytime you head outdoors.

Read next: How to protect your baby from the sun this summer

Environmental Protection Agency, Action Steps for Sun Safety

SunSmart, What is UV?

U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually

SunSmart, Sun protection for babies and toddlers

Raisingchildren.net.au, Sun safety: babies, children and teenagers

Cancer Council NSW, Sun protection for babies and children

American Cancer Society, How to Protect Yourself and Your Family From the Sun

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sun Safety

Skin Cancer Foundation, Sun-Protective Clothing

Environmental Protection Agency, A Guide to the UV Index

American Academy of Dermatology Association, Infant Sun Protection: How Parents Can Keep Their Baby Safe

The Australasian College of Dermatologists, Consensus statement: Sun protection and sunscreens

Nemours Children’s Health, How to choose and use sunscreen

Choice, Is sunscreen safe for young babies?

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