As much as we all love the summer, your kids’ skin needs to be protected from excessive UV exposure.
You can take precautions like making your kids wear a sunhat, or keeping them in the shade during the hottest hours of the day.
But, at some point, your kids are going to want to go outside.
It’s your job to keep them protected when they do.
Wearing sunscreen is the best way to keep your kids’ sensitive skin safe from the UVA and UVB rays that could damage their skin.
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What Type of Sunscreen Should You Buy for Your Kids?
Considering your child will have much of their skin covered by sunscreen, you need to choose one made with non-toxic and safe ingredients.
Ideally, it will:
- Contain zinc oxide rather than chemical protection
- Will be a cream or stick instead of a spray
- Have an SPF of 15-50.
You should look for sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection, which protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Any Ingredients to Avoid?
As quality standards improve, it’s getting easier to find sunscreens with non-toxic ingredients, but there are still some ingredients to avoid.
Make sure to avoid oxybenzone – it’s a commonly used organic filter, but has harmful effects on coral reefs. It’s even been banned in Hawaii. If it’s that harmful to coral, you probably don’t want it on your child’s skin either.
The word “vitamins” usually has good connotations; however, make sure you avoid any sunscreen that contains Vitamin A. A study by the US government found that retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A, can speed up the development of skin cancers.
As well as these, try to avoid sunscreens that:
- Include added insect repellent
- Have an SPF above 50
- Come in spray or powder form
Our Favorite Non-Toxic, Natural, and Healthy Sunscreen for Kids
Thinkbaby is a leading brand when it comes to safe sunscreens. They have an in-house team of physicians and scientists working to create safe products that you can be confident using on your children.
For example, they had the first sunscreen to pass Whole Foods’ Premium Care requirements.
This sunscreen stick is free of biologically harmful chemicals like Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or parabens.
It has the highest levels of UVA and UVB protection that’s possible in sunscreens, according to FDA guidelines, thanks to its 20% Zinc Oxide formula. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes – perfect for when your kids are splashing around in the water.
This sunscreen is made of all-natural ingredients and recommended by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide, a safer alternative than nano zinc oxide. The particles are larger, meaning they’re less likely to be absorbed by the skin.
Zinc oxide also has other benefits, one being that it’s an effective treatment against eczema.
This sunscreen also contains organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter, and organic shea butter, so it’s going to be kind to your children’s skin no matter how much they need to apply.
This natural sunscreen contains non-nano zinc oxide, making it kind to the skin, and the environment.
It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, perfumes, or preservatives. Instead, it’s packed with coconut oil and naturally sourced butters to make it hypoallergenic and suitable for children with sensitive skin.
It’s also water-resistant, making it ideal for a day at the beach, lake, or the pool.
To top it all off, the tube is made from biobased sugar cane instead of plastic, and the labels are made from 100% recycled paper.
This TruKid sunscreen comes recommended by the EWG and is PETA-certified as being animal cruelty-free.
The ingredients live up to the certifications, too.
It uses non-nano zinc oxide (from sustainably sourced zinc), is free of Vitamin A, and doesn’t contain chemical perfumes.
If your children are prone to eczema, it’s a great choice. This TruKid sunscreen has been extensively tested by dermatologists and pediatricians and is eczema-safe.
This reef-safe sunstick comes in a handy size that fits in carry-ons.
The natural ingredients include zinc oxide to shield against UVA and UVB rays, beeswax, olive oil, and aloe vera leaf extract.
As it comes in stick-form rather than as a spray, you don’t need to worry about your kids inhaling chemicals as they apply it.
It’s fragrance-free and gentle on the skin.
This SPF 50 sunscreen from All Good is the perfect choice for a hot summer day.
It’s formulated with a blend of zinc oxide and botanical ingredients, making it a healthy choice for your kids’ skin, and it’s also reef-friendly.
The ingredients include organic chamomile, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin, too.
It also comes with a range of certifications, including:
As you would hope, it’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and blocks UVA and UVB rays.
The sunscreen is Made in the USA, GMO-free, and gluten-free.
It’s the perfect healthy sunscreen for those hot mid-summer days where you want to guarantee your children are protected.
This Waxhead sunscreen is perfect for days at the beach, or for when your kids are outside playing sports.
It comes recommended by the EWG and is completely free of toxins and petrochemicals, including oxybenzone.
The SPF 35 means you know your kids will be safe and you won’t need to reapply every five minutes.
The sunscreen contains Vitamin E and Vitamin D. Vitamin E is an effective protection against UVB damage, and it’s an ingredient recommended in multiple studies.
The lotion is non-greasy and won’t sting your children’s eyes if it gets in them because of it’s light, friendly ingredients, making it safe for children of all ages, including babies.
Next up, we have Childs Farm unfragranced, 50+ SPF vegan sun lotion.
It’s another excellent option for hot days – you won’t need to worry about applying another layer every ten minutes, thanks to the high sun protection factor.
It’s dermatologist approved for sensitive skin, and it’s the perfect choice for children prone to eczema or other skin sensitivities.
It gets glowing reviews, and is perfect for kids with sensitive skin.
This zinc oxide kids’ sunscreen from Aveeno is another excellent option.
It’s formulated with naturally-sourced zinc oxide and contains oat flour, which is proven to help against skin dryness and irritation.
The ingredients were chosen carefully to ensure that it won’t sting if it gets in the eyes, and is free of unnecessary additives like parabens, phthalates, and fragrances.
This kids’ sunscreen from Neutrogena is perfect for babies with delicate or sensitive skin.
It was awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, so you can use it with confidence knowing its hypoallergenic ingredients won’t lead to flare-ups.
It’s gentle on the skin, but coming in at SPF 50, it’s still going to provide a great barrier against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays, making this another great sunscreen option for young children and babies.
Wearing sunscreen is essential to keep your children’s skin healthy and to protect them against damaging UVA and UVB rays.
However, you need to pick one that contains sustainable, organic, and healthy ingredients that won’t do more harm than good.
These are all solid options. Whatever your preferences for ingredients, certifications, and sun protection factor, there’s going to be a sunscreen that works for your family’s needs in this list.