With so many options and information about sunscreen out there, how can you find the best sunscreens for kids out there? Today, I’ve got you covered! We’re going to chat about what you should be looking for in your sunscreen and I’ve also got FIVE safe sunscreens. Bonus: they’re all under $11!
Putting sunscreen on my four small children is not my idea of a fun time. When it’s time to play in the sun’s rays, everyone just wants to go! Unfortunately, sunscreen application is not the only difficult part of parenting in the sunshine. I’ve talked before about the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals found in shampoos and body washes, and sunscreens seem to be no different. Why do these things need to be so complicated? All we want is to find the best sunscreens for kids. Why can’t it just be simple, and why can’t we all just be on board with one central idea: we all want to protect our kids from harm?
There seems to be so much information out there about what’s safe, what’s not, and why. And so much of that information includes acronyms I’ve never heard and scientific terms I can hardly pronounce. So where does a parent start when deciphering a sunscreen label to decide what’s safe and what’s not?
Let’s start with the basics: There are two key components to choosing the best sunscreen for little ones.
First, you want to use a high enough SPF. Selecting a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 that is broad-spectrum and water resistant is best. Choosing this means you’re providing protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Second, go for mineral sunscreen. Why? As you can see in the infographic below, mineral sunscreen rests on top of the skin. By contrast, chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin. This means mineral sunscreens provide less irritation for sensitive little-people skin. It also means immediate sun-blocking protection versus needing to wait 20-minutes to get a chemical sunscreen to take full effect in the sun. And if you happen to be swimming in the ocean, here’s one better: mineral-based sunscreens won’t harm coral reefs!
Bonus tip for finding the best sunscreens for kids: reach for lotions, not sprays. We can tend to get a little extra lazy with sprays because they are so simple. And when we get lazy, we miss spots and aren’t as thorough about making sure we cover everything really well.
All of this is great information in theory, but similar to clean baby shampoos, the price tag on safe sunscreens can be significantly higher. When I first started to become more aware of harmful chemicals in sunscreen last summer, I was taken aback at the high price tag they can carry. Over the past year, however, I set out to find a mineral-based sunscreen that is not hard to rub in and is also one which doesn’t break the bank. Here are my top picks!
Hands down, my number one pick for so many reasons! First, it checks off my two requirements: over 30 SPF (it has 50!) and is mineral-based. But what I love about it so much is it contains some antioxidants that help to improve skin while protecting it. For example, hyaluronic acid, aloe and jojoba oil all help to hydrate and soothe skin. I have a little guy who deals with eczema, so these added perks to applying sunscreen to his skin are awesome. Not to mention as an added bonus, I can enjoy benefits from those antixoidants on my own aging (womp, womp!) skin. I also haven’t yet mentioned it contains Vitamin C… and have you heard yet how awesome Vitamin C is for brightening, evening out and firming up our aging skin? This is not only one of the best sunscreens for kids, but also for the entire family!
In terms of price, you truly cannot beat this option out of all the best sunscreens for kids. A two-pack of this stuff is under that $10 price point! And it might sound lame, but I really do love that it’s sold in a two-pack. One for the diaper bag or vehicle, one for home so you’ll never be without. Seriously, a mom has enough to remember every day. Having a two-pack off the bat just instantly makes life easier. Another bonus of this option? Its SPF rating of 50 and water resistance for up to 80 minutes.
If your child has sensitive skin, here’s a fabulous hypoallergenic option. Many reviewers commented that it didn’t irritate their child’s skin or make it itch. Another thing worth pointing out is the “blendability” of this product. Blending can be tricky with zinc oxide sunblock: mineral options can have a tendency to make your skin look white white. This Coppertone option, however, has a reputation for being easy to blend in. Finally, we again see an SPF rating of 50 and water resistance up to 80 minutes. At six ounces, this is a bigger bottle than many others, which I love for the price point still being under $10!
I’ve always been a big Aveeno fan. Their lotions are always so soothing on my own skin, and their eczema products have worked wonders on one of my boys. This formula of sunscreen from Aveeno contains the same skin-softening oatmeal component as their lotions. Reviewers were very pleased with its non-greasy application and light scent. This option also has an SPF of 50 with a sweat and water resistance up to 80 minutes.
When you hear Neutrogena, you can’t tell me you don’t automatically think of squeaky clean, fresh-faced, perfect looking teenage actresses from your youth. The reputation the company carries is tough to beat, so it’s not surprising they create a clean sunscreen option. Again with 50 SPF and an 80-minute water resistance, it’s also tear and fragrance free. Sensitive skinned little ones will appreciate the lack of fragrance here. Reviewers commented on its fabulous effectiveness, though many did mention it can be difficult to rub in.
So there you have it!
You want to keep your little ones safe from the sun, but don’t want to risk their health with harmful chemicals. Now you’ve got five great options for the best safe sunscreen for kids and babies, all at price points that won’t break the bank!
If you’re looking for other safe products for your family, check out my post on safe shampoos and body washes for kids and babies (all under $10!). Safe skincare doesn’t have to break the bank!
And don’t forget to pin this article for future reference! Don’t you hate when you get to Target and find you’ve forgotten your list at home? No problem! Just pin the image below and reference it on your phone when you get to the sunscreen aisle. Super simple!