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When Should You Switch Your Child from Baby Sunscreen to Regular Sunscreen?

best sunscreen for kids

When is the right time to switch your baby from baby sunscreen to regular sunscreen? And what’s the best sunscreen for kids? Also, how do you get kids to wear sunscreen regularly? All of these answers are below.

Ever since we launched our line of toddler-friendly sunscreens, Sunnyscreen SPF 50, we’ve fielded lots of questions from new parents about when exactly they should switch their growing baby from Sunnyscreen to a a clean chemical formula, like Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 or Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50.

Here, we chat with NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner (and father of two!) about when to make the switch and how to get your kids to love wearing sunscreen every single day.

When can I start putting sunscreen on my baby?

“Most dermatologists will recommend starting to apply sunscreen on children after the age of six months,” says Dr. Zeichner. “From birth to six months old, babies should be physically shielded from the sun.” You can shield your infant from the sun with hats and strollers with wide brims. After six months, you can an should start applying sunscreen on your baby.

What kind of sunscreen should I use on my baby?

Dr. Zeichner recommends using 100% mineral sunscreens on babies, toddlers and very little children (those six and under). “Look for sunscreens specifically labeled for kids or for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. “You want to find sunscreens that use mineral ingredients, like to zinc oxide, rather than chemical ingredients. We avoid the use of chemical ingredients with little children because they are potentially more irritating than mineral ingredients.”

Sunnyscreen SPF 50 checks all of Dr. Zeichner’s boxes. It’s the sunscreen collection we made specifically for the sensitive skin of babies and toddlers. It’s 100% mineral and only uses non-nano zinc oxide (non-nano means that the particles are larger so they won’t seep into your baby’s skin). It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and pediatrician-tested. And it comes in a variety of forms that make it easy to apply on your squirmy baby, from a lotion to a stick to a spray.

When can I switch my child from a 100% mineral formula to a clean chemical one?

“There’s no specific guidance on when you can switch your children from a 100% mineral to a traditional chemical sunscreen.”

Dr. Zeichner

“There’s no specific guidance on when you can switch your children from a 100% mineral to a traditional chemical sunscreen,” says Dr. Zeichner. “I typically tell my patients that when your child is adult size, you can make that decision.”

He notes that patients often switch over to clean chemical formulas for their kids because they are typically easier to apply. “Traditional sunscreens that contain clean chemical ingredients are typically more sheer and easier to spread compared to mineral blockers,” he says.

How do I get my kid to make a habit of wearing sunscreen every single day?

To answer this question, Dr. Zeichner consulted his wife, Cori, who’s usually the one getting the kids ready, and she wants to make one thing clear: “Just because we are a dermatology family doesn’t make applying sunscreen on kids any easier.”

So what’s her trick? “I like to have many different sunscreen options available — from creams to gels to sticks to sprays — and let the kids choose which one they want to use that day,” she says. “By getting the kids involved in the process of choosing a sunscreen, they don’t fight me as much in putting it on.”

Thankfully, we have lots of fun options that have are kid-approved. The first is our Super Power Sunscreen Mousse SPF 50. This clean chemical formula comes out like shaving cream, and we definitely suggest encouraging your kids to have a “sunscreen mousse party” (as long as they blend in the mousse when it’s over!). As for sprays, a popular choice is our Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50. This spray is so easy to apply, and thanks to the clean chemical formula, it blends and dries on skin super quickly so your kids can go back to playing as soon as possible.

Our 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 is another popular choice with kiddos — it’s great to pack in their backpack so they can apply their SPF before hitting the playground at school. And our original formula, Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50, has always been a kid favorite. It’s a clean chemical lotion that isn’t sticky, heavy and doesn’t smell like traditional sunscreen. The best part? It comes in a big 18-ounce pump, making it super easy to make it a permanent fixture in your kiddo’s bathroom, encouraging them to make SPF an everyday habit for life.

+Have more questions about the best sunscreen for kids and babies? And when to make the switch? Leave them in the comments below!