When can babies wear sunscreen? There’s nothing better than starting healthy skin habits early, but you want to make sure that you use the best sunscreen for babies and toddlers. Keep reading to find out what you should look for in a sunscreen for your children!
Whether baby’s on the way or you’re well into the journey of parenthood, you probably already know that a unique approach is often necessary when it comes to the most basic things. Finding sunscreen formulas for babies and kids, along with application techniques, is the perfect example of that. With guidance from a board-certified dermatologist, we’re covering everything you need to look for when you choose a sunscreen for your baby or kiddo.
Should I have a special sunscreen for my baby or child?
We subscribe by the idea that you ought to baby your baby — and even your growing children, for that matter! Pat Wexler, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at NYC’s Wexler Dermatology, wholeheartedly agrees, and she says there’s a long list of reasons why.
“Infants have more sensitive skin, and therefore require more TLC and gentler formulas,” she says. “While no SPF is recommended for infants under the age of six months, if it is unavoidable, and for children over six months, pick a broad-spectrum with at least an SPF of 45 specifically designed for children.”
Here are the main things you should look for in a sunscreen for your baby:
Look for a 100% mineral formula.
Wexler explains that sunscreen formulations made for babies and children are ideally physical-based versus chemical based. This means that they utilize ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide versus chemical protections.
You may see some sunscreens for babies that claim to be “organic” and “natural” (we say “claim” because both of those terms are not defined in the beauty industry), which may cause you to assume that they must surely be 100% mineral, but that is not always the case. In fact, one popular sunscreen for babies with a spin off “organics” in its name has a baby sunscreen that contains octisalate, a chemical sunscreen active.
So we suggest ignoring labels that say “natural” and “organic” and focus instead on the exact ingredients on the ingredient list. If the sunscreen contains any sunscreen active other than zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, it’s a chemical/mineral hybrid and you’re better off choosing one that is 100% mineral.
Choose a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formula.
Sunscreens for babies should also be fragrance-free and ideally hypoallergenic. The gentler the formulation, the better. This is largely because children and babies don’t have as robust of a skin barrier function compared to adults and are more likely to have an allergic reaction to new or foreign ingredients.
Look for a formula that doesn’t contain silicones.
A baby’s skin absorbs more than adult skin does, and it also means they’re more likely to experience a negative reaction to potentially irritating ingredients, so it’s extra important that you don’t expose their skin to any extraneous ingredients in a sunscreen.
A lot of sunscreens for babies on the market contain silicones to help spread the mineral actives more evenly on the skin and to help with water resistance. While there is nothing wrong with silicones, they don’t add any benefits to a sunscreen for babies. Instead, look for a formula that uses ingredients with nourishing properties, like oils and butters.
Good news! Your search for the best sunscreen for kids and toddlers is over.
After years of development and speaking with families about what they look for when it comes to SPF for their kids, Supergoop! is thrilled to announce that we’ve added a series of baby and child-approved sunscreens to our lineup.
Meet the Sunnyscreen family, which consists of three unique sunscreens that contain non-nano, 100% mineral actives. The benefit of having non-nano mineral actives means that the mineral actives in the formula are gentle enough for the most sensitive skin types.
Each formula, outlined below, is highly blendable, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes (like all our sunscreens), and have their efficacy testing posted on our website. We’ve gone a few steps further, too. Each Sunnyscreen product is pediatrician-tested, hypoallergenic, silicone-free, paraben-free and synthetic fragrance-free.
The goal is to help you and your child adopt the healthy habit of sunscreen application starting at an early age. We want the process to be second-nature for your children, just like brushing their teeth and washing your hands. Check out the details on each of the three formulas:
- Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50: This sheer, non-sticky formula features a nourishing, gentle blend sunflower seed oil and shea butter that’s ideal for your baby or child’s delicate skin. It also contains botanical extracts, including camu camu and green microalgae, which provide a hearty dose of antioxidant protection. The tube itself fits perfectly into your diaper bag or tote and is TSA-friendly.
- Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50: This lightweight sunscreen is easy to apply, completely mess-proof, and travels like a dream. Because it’s made with shea and cocoa butter, as well as jojoba and chia seed oils, it’s super moisturizing and gentle on your child’s skin. We even boosted it with a nourishing blend of antioxidants, which further protects your baby or child from free radical damage. Since it’s a stick, it glides easily onto hard-to-reach spots, too. Cheeks, ears, and noses? Check, check, and check!
- Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 50: If you prefer a spray-on sunscreen for your baby or child, this product is a dream. It’s a lightweight, easy-peasy, spot-on spray. This formula boasts a highly gentle, calming blend of calendula and chamomile extracts, which soothe your child’s skin, while coconut oil and mango butter help skin feel super soft and hydrated.
Sunscreen application tips for babies:
In addition to using sunscreen formulas that are made specifically for babies, there are also a few things to keep in mind when it comes to application.
“Avoid the area around the eyes, but don’t forget to apply sunscreen behind your baby’s ears, nape of neck, backs of knees, tops of feet, ankles, and armpits,” says Wexler. She adds that, as a rule, you should also reapply sunscreen to your baby or child at least every two hours. If your child is playing in the ocean or pool, you should always re-apply as soon as they’re dried off again.
You can also take extra measures to protect your baby or child from harsh UV rays and subsequent damage, burns, and skin cancer.
“When in strollers, use a UPF hood and parasol attached to the stroller, which are common accessories,” says Wexler. “Also, use UPF clothing whenever possible. There are UPF swimwear, shorts, tops, bike pants, and shirts. Finally, use a 360-degree brimmed hat whenever possible since baseball caps do not give adequate protection, and have them wear polarized sun glasses or goggles.”
The bottom line is that safe sun practices should start in infancy and continue for your child’s lifetime. Gear up with the best sunscreen for babies and children, apply it as directed, and make sure your child is protected in the additional ways we outlined above. Just think of how proud you’ll be when they start applying sunscreen on their own every single day!
+What do you look for in a sunscreen for babies? Let us know in the comments below!