Summer is in full-swing and that means you're probably slathering sunscreen on your tiny human constantly. All I have to do is look at my 17-month-old's precious milky white skin to go into application overdrive. Yet, what we know about sunscreens these days makes the task of choosing the right one a bit harder than it used to be. Gone are the days of just being concerned about SPF; now you need to scrutinize the ingredient list too. It can be anxiety-inducing, so here's a great list of natural sunscreens for kids that are dermatologist-approved.
If your baby is older than 6 months, you'll want to vigilantly apply an SPF of at least 30 every two hours, according to the Mayo Clinic. But before you smear on the 'screen, you'll want to scour the label. "I prefer natural sunscreens that are mineral-based, using non-nanotized zinc or titanium. Although such preparations are more whitening and don't rub in as easily, they are less likely to be absorbed into the skin and felt to pose less harm overall," explains Dr. Sarina Elmariah, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology Massachusetts General Hospital.
You'll also want to avoid chemical sunscreens that are made of synthetic ingredients that can cause irritation and sensitive skin reactions, according to Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD, an expert in the field of cosmetic dermatology as well as medical dermatology. "Look for sunscreens with no Paba, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, nano-particles or retinyl palmitate," advises Dr. Jaliman.
It's also a good idea to remain vigilant about sunscreen even if your child is covered up, since clothing isn't necessarily a barrier for the sun's strong rays. "You should wear sunscreen under clothes that aren't UPF clothing. UV rays can penetrate many fabrics. Most fabrics let small amounts of sunlight pass through, especially fabrics that are loosely woven such as a lightweight cotton t-shirt," explains Dr. Jaliman.
To make your sunscreen selection a bit easier, here's a list of dermatologist-recommended sunscreens that you can use with confidence.
Evereden partnered with world-class pediatric dermatologists to create a new line baby skincare products that are safe, effective, and backed by science.
Their mineral-based sunscreen, recommended by Dr. Elmariah, uses plant-based ingredients sourced from Australia to protect sensitive skin from damaging rays and urban pollution.
You won't find any chemical sunscreen ingredients like: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Homosalate.
I'm a huge fan of Babyganics, a company run by two conscientious dads. Dr. Jaliman agrees that their sunscreen is a smart choice.
"Use physical sunscreens and not chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are safe for use on babies. This is a good one," says Dr. Jaliman.
It is water resistant for 80 minutes and features a ton of nourishing ingredients like tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin, and raspberry seed oil, too.
When it comes to checking all the boxes, Thinkbaby does that and more. It's a non-nano zinc oxide that is free of biologically harmful chemicals like Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbers. It's also paraben, phthalates, PABA and 1,4 dioxane free.
Plus, if your children are always splashing in the pool, you can breathe easier knowing that it is water resistant for 80 minutes.
Badger is a family-owned business known for their organic and natural skincare offerings. Their baby sunscreen is no exception. It is 100 percent certified natural and 94 percent certified organic.
It uses mineral zinc oxide, and is ultra-moisturizing thanks to the sunflower oil, beeswax, and Vitamin E base. It comes in a BPA & phthalate-free tube made from #2 recyclable plastic.
Plus, it doesn't contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, or other chemical active sunscreening agents.
Purple Prairie Botanicals
There's something very appealing about a sunscreen that is gentle enough to be deemed "coral reef-safe". Sunstuff from Purple Prairie Botanicals "meets the rigid standards for sunscreen allowed in the protected coral reef lagoons of Mexico," according to the company website.
This sunscreen lotion features mineral protection, and also includes organic coconut, and organic cocoa and shea butters.
You can test drive a sample size of the product for only $3.50.