Best Baby Sunscreen: Expert Buyers Guide and Helpful Reviews

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
July 6, 2018
Best baby sunscreen

Not only can the sun cause blisters and burns on our little ones’ skin, but it also can lead to a lifetime of damage and skin cancer risk. Sunblock is necessary for people of all ages; however, it is even more imperative for babies. Even the sun filtered through the clouds or bouncing off the snow can be harmful for a child.

To protect your kid, you have to invest in some good sun protection. This comes not only in the form of clothes and shade, but also sunblock.

There is a big difference between sunscreen for kids and that for adults. If you are a beginner parent who has not invested in sun protection for your child, then there is still a lot for you to learn. This guide offers insight on what to expect from baby sunscreen and how to apply it, and answers some of the most common questions surrounding sunblock.

Baby Sunscreen FAQs

When it comes to protecting your baby from sun damage, you have to make an educated decision for the sake of your child’s health. As a parent, you’ll want to have all of the information in advance. As with many products designed for children, rumor spread quickly.

Before I tell you about some of the best sunscreen for kids on the market, let me answer some frequently asked questions:

Can I use normal sunscreen on my baby?

No, you shouldn’t. Adult sunscreens often have chemicals that your baby’s body can absorb. Keep in mind that your baby has more sensitivity than an adult. You can use, however, baby sunscreen for yourself.

Can I use baby sunscreen on my dog?

Yes! Dogs need sunscreen too. Baby sunscreen tends to be nontoxic, which is great for pets. However, make sure to avoid sunscreens with zinc oxide as an ingredient, as this can be toxic if eaten by a dog.

Does baby sunscreen expire?

Over time, sunscreen can become less effective. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of up to three years, though, so expiration dates shouldn’t be on the forefront of your mind.

What ages are baby sunscreens appropriate for?

You should begin using baby sunscreen at 6 months of age. As your child progresses past the toddler years, you may change to a sunscreen designed for older kids.

What SPF should I use for baby sunscreen?

Any sunblock with an SPF 30 and higher is best for children and babies. However, anything above an SPF 50 isn’t more effective.

What is Baby sunscreen?

You know that regular sunscreen is what you may use on yourself when you are ready for a day at the beach or lounging at the swimming pool. So, how does baby sunscreen differ from adult versions? First, when it comes to the design of baby sunscreen, sensitive skin is one of the main priorities.

The products are often all-natural or contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Generally, baby sunscreen is not combined with insect repellent. The fewer chemicals you expose your baby to, the better! This is why it’s important to look for sunscreens intended for children rather than adults.

Basic functions of a baby sunscreen

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is a measurement of how long it takes UVB rays to redden skin. For instance, a baby wearing sunscreen that is an SPF 30 takes 30 times longer to redden than a baby without protection. An infant’s skin is thinner and cannot effectively protect against solar light. An effective baby sunscreen provides a physical layer between the sun and your baby.

Tips on applying baby sunscreen

Baby sunscreen should be used on babies six months or older. For younger babies, you should rely on protective clothing and avoid direct sunlight during peak hours. For babies older than six months, apply sunscreen liberally to all areas of skin exposed to sun. Always use at least an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply every two hours for full protection. If your baby is perspiring or playing in water, you should apply sunscreen more often.

Pros and cons of having/using baby sunscreens

Pros

  • Sunscreen can protect against skin cancers and damage to the skin caused by UV light.
  • An SPF of 30 or higher blocks UVA and UVB rays, hence leading to less damage done to the skin.
  • plusSunscreen protects your baby against painful burns from playing in the sun.

Cons

  • Sunscreen can cause greasy or shiny skin after application.
  • Some sunscreens may have a wait time before your baby can enter the water.

Tips on choosing the best baby sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen for your little one, remember that SPF 15 or higher is best. Also, when checking the labels, look for the words “broad spectrum.” This means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are most likely to cause sunburns, while UVA rays can damage the skin on a deeper level.

Babies have sensitive skin compared to adults. Look for zinc-only products because these are safer to use on baby skin. Zinc is found in our bodies, so it is an element safe for use in the best baby sunscreen. Additionally, look for sunscreens labelled for babies. These formulas are less likely to have harmful chemicals.

There are several sunscreens on the market for your little one. You may find sunscreen for babies with sensitive skin or with eczema and even waterproof options. Make the choice based on what you know about your baby and what you are comfortable with using.

Most sunscreens have a website or online reviews where you can connect with other parents to help you decide which sunscreen is best for you.

Most popular baby sunscreen brands

Coppertone Water Babies


Coppertone Water Babies is a no-fragrance, paraben-free sunblock. With water resistance lasting up to 80 minutes, it is one of the most popular and affordable options on the market. Mild for sensitive skin, it is an SPF 50 sunscreen.

Aveeno Baby


Aveeno Baby is a mineral sunscreen that is as mild as water on skin. It is a broad spectrum SPF 50 with 100% zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

Banana Boat Baby


A broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion, Banana Boat Baby offers UVA and UVB protection. It is tear-free, alcohol-free, and resistant to water. Banana Boat Baby is an affordable, safe option for children over 6 months of age.

Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby


Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby uses Purescreen Technology to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Its active ingredient is zinc oxide. With a tear-free formula, it is an SPF 50 broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen


A broad-spectrum sun protection, Blue Lizard contains 10% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide. It is paraben-free, chemical-free and fragrance-free. Additionally, its smart bottle technology means the bottle turns pink in harmful UVA rays.

Best baby sunscreens

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream


  • All-natural, organic sunscreen
  • Made from sunflower oil and beeswax with no chemicals
  • Pediatrician-tested and recommended for babies and kids
  • Hypoallergenic

A baby’s skin not only lacks protection against the sun, but it absorbs chemicals at a higher rate. Badger sunscreen eliminates chemicals from the product. Organic sunscreens tend to be safer for babies than other sunblock formulas.

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream is made with sunflower oil and beeswax, creating a safe foundation for children to use. This certified and safe product comes highly recommended by parents and dermatologists alike. Additionally, due to its greasy consistency, it is waterproof.

Pros

  • Chemical-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Biodegradable tube

Cons

  • Greasier than other sunscreens

ThinkBaby Sunscreen


  • Made from mostly natural ingredients
  • Contains no biologically harmful chemicals
  • Paraben-free
  • No obtrusive smell

ThinkBaby is one of the highest-rated and safest sunscreens on the market. It’s completely free of all harmful chemicals and uses mostly natural ingredients. While this sunscreen has an added fragrance, it is mild and fruity without being chemical-based.

Though it shouldn’t sting in the eyes, it’s always important to practice care when applying any lotion to a child's face.  This sunscreen should last in the water; however, you should reapply it after submersion.

Pros

  • Chemical-free
  • Broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes

Cons

  • Slow absorption
  • Oily feel

California Baby


  • Mineral sunscreen
  • Titanium-dioxide-based
  • Highly rated by EWG for years
  • Natural, organic ingredients

California Baby only uses organically sourced ingredients with no additional and harmful chemicals. Unlike other sunscreens, this one is completely titanium dioxide based. For children with a zinc allergy, this sunblock is perfect. Great for sensitive skin, California baby is fragrance-free. It may have an organic smell, but that shouldn’t be obtrusive.

Pros

  • Good for children with sensitive skin or allergies
  • Protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays
  • Fragrance-free
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • May leave a white residue on skin
  • Slightly pasty smell

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen


  • Paraben-free, fragrance-free, chemical-free
  • Gentle for sensitive skin
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • 10% zinc oxide, 5% titanium oxide

Dermatologists recommend Blue Lizard to many patients. It is one of the most highly rated sunscreen lotions on the market and is excellent for a baby’s sensitive skin. One tip that I can give you is to make sure to shake the bottle well before you use it. The ingredients can separate. While this isn’t a waterproof sunblock, it is incredibly safe to reapply liberally as needed throughout the day.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive skin
  • Recommended by dermatologists
  • No harmful chemicals
  • SPF 30 protection

Cons

  • Slight residue
  • Not waterproof

What’s the best baby sunscreen?

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream is my pick for the best sunscreen for babies. Like many of its counterparts, it is an organic and naturally based sunscreen. As a parent, you should be aware of everything your child touches.

It is important not to expose them to any dangerous chemicals while they’re still growing and when their skin doesn’t provide much protection. Badger Baby sunscreen is made from sunflower oil and beeswax; it has been proven hypoallergenic and offers a broad-spectrum protection. Additionally, it is relatively affordable and one of the cheaper organic sunscreens for children.

How the best baby sunscreen was picked

The best kids sunscreen isn’t an easy choice. There are many great products on the market with many of the same ingredients and benefits. When it comes down to it, I trust Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream the most. It’s made with all natural and organic ingredients. Additionally, it is a cruelty-free option.

As a mom, I don’t want my kids exposed to harmful chemicals. I also want to make sure that the sunscreen that they use is effective and long lasting.

Relevant products to buy

Hats


One of the simplest ways to protect your baby against direct sunlight is to invest in a hat. Sun hats come in a variety of price points and styles. There’s no limit on the type of hat you can buy.

Sunglasses


Babies need sunglasses too! Don’t forget eye protection when you’re out in the sun. It’s easy to remember for yourself, but keep in mind that the UV rays can be harmful to your baby’s eyes as well.

Shaded stroller


A shaded stroller allows you to push your children around without worrying about the sun hitting them directly. Depending on brand, they can be a little more expensive than the other items. However, it can be worth it.

Final review of the best baby sunscreens

Babies burn easily. Their skin is still developing and there is nothing worse than having your kid face a nasty sunburn. All of the sunscreens listed in this guide are effective in protecting children against the sun. If your kids are anything like mine, they love the sunshine; they want to soak it up as much as you do. As long as they are protected, you can let them enjoy themselves.

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