Babies are born with extra sensitive skin, which means protecting it from the elements becomes a parent’s top priority. For this reason, sunscreen is a diaper bag essential. It can be tough to tell which products are safe to use on babies but fortunately, there are lots of different options available today that are made with natural and gentle formulas. So, whether you’re planning baby’s first trip to the beach or heading out for an extra sunny stroller ride, here are the 7 best baby sunscreens.
Best Baby Sunscreens
(Best stick application — $)
Why it’s great: This Aveeno Baby sunscreen comes as a convenient 4.7-ounce stick, which is the perfect size for slipping into a diaper bag or taking with you when you travel. Made with mineral ingredients, this sunscreen combats UVA and UVB rays and can be used on both the face and the body. Designed for baby’s delicate skin, this zinc-oxide sunscreen provides continuous protection and is fragrance-free, paraben-free, and phthalate-free. Parents also praise the stick application for being non-greasy and hassle-free.
Keep in mind: This sunscreen is sold in a 4.7-ounce container, which is small compared to other sunscreen containers.
Good for: Keeping in your diaper bag as this sunscreen is compact and easy to apply on-the-go.
(Highest quality — $$$)
Why it’s great: This Thinkbaby sunscreen is dermatologist recommended, mineral-based and water-resistant. This sunscreen’s formula was designed by a team of physicians and scientists with the goal of developing a safe, non-toxic baby sunscreen. As a result, this product is made without harmful chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone, UV chemical absorbers, or chemicals known to be harmful to reefs. This sunscreen also has a zinc oxide solution and provides UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection. Praised by parents for being one of the most effective sunscreens on the market, this product also spreads easily and has a pleasant, beachy smell.
Keep in mind: Some customers report that this sunscreen goes on a little greasy but blends into the skin nicely.
Good for: Kids who have fair skin or burn easily as this sunscreen is celebrated for how well it prevents sunburns.
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This Alba Botanica kids sunscreen is lightweight and easy to apply. Made from 100% vegetarian ingredients like aloe leaf juice and chamomile, this sunscreen is also cruelty-free and coral reef-safe. This broad-spectrum SPF 45 sunscreen boasts a tear-free formula and comes in a delicious tropical fruit scent, perfect for kids of all ages. Parents praise this sunscreen for being moisturizing and providing effective sun protection for hours on end.
Keep in mind: Some customers report not liking the tropical fruit scent and while this brand does offer other fragrances, there are limited scents available for kids’ products.
Good for: Parents looking for a product from an ethical brand as this sunscreen is made with natural ingredients that are environmentally friendly and has not been tested on animals.
(Best spray application — $$)
Why it’s great: With ingredients like aloe, sunflower and jojoba, this Babo Botanicals sunscreen is made specifically for anyone with sensitive skin prone to dryness or rashes. Lightweight and fast absorbing, this sunscreen comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle and is also water-resistant. This sunscreen’s zinc-based, mineral formula is hypoallergenic and uses natural ingredients to protect baby’s skin from the sun. This sunblock is also free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, making it not only safe for your baby, but for the environment as well.
Keep in mind: Remember to shake this bottle well before spraying for effective application.
Good for: The whole family as this product is designed for babies, kids, and adults.
(Best for travel — $$)
Why it’s great: This Project Sunscreen baby sunblock features a unique roll-on design for quick and easy application. With a fragrance-free formula that’s 100% natural, this sunscreen boasts only two active ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Gentle on all skin types, this broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen is also water-resistant and goes on white but blends in clear. Parents praise this product for working well for kids with extra sensitive skin.
Keep in mind: This sunscreen is for babies 6 months and older.
Good for: Attaching to your stroller, diaper bag, or purse as this sunscreen is small and portable with a hook attachment built into its cap.
(Most water resistant — $$)
Why it’s great: Sold as a pack of two, this sunscreen by Babyganics is one of the more popular sunblock options on the market. Made from plant-based ingredients, this sunscreen does not include chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, making it reef-safe and good for the environment. This SPF-50 sunscreen is also fragrance-free, non-allergenic and has been commended for being exceptionally water resistant. An easy-to-apply stick application makes this product a favorite among parents with kids who complain about having to wear sunscreen.
Keep in mind: Some customers say this sunscreen goes on thick and takes a little extra rubbing to absorb into the skin.
Good for: Taking to the beach or the pool as this sunscreen provides 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance.
(Most versatile — $$)
Why it’s great: Available as a lotion, face stick and a spray, this Baby Bum sunscreen can also be purchased as a set of two for added convenience. 100% mineral-based, this sunscreen is vegan, fragrance-free and water-resistant. Made from plant-based ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and zinc oxide, this sunscreen hydrates and moisturizes skin as well as protects it from the sun. Designed to be non-greasy, this sunscreen is easy to apply and absorbs quickly. Perfect for baby’s sensitive skin, this sunscreen is also paraben-, sulfate-, silicone- and phthalate-free.
Keep in mind: Some customers say this sunscreen is a little gritty, but that’s the case with most mineral-based formulas.
Good for: Babies with extra sensitive skin, including eczema as customers report that this sunscreen did not cause any reactions or exacerbate dry skin.
The Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Mineral sunscreen is our overall top recommendation. It's the highest quality product we have found with the most affordable price making it the best value on our list.
FAQs about Baby Sunscreen
1. Is it safe for babies to wear sunscreen?
Yes! Sunscreen is safe to use on babies, especially products that have been designed with gentle and natural ingredients for babies’ sensitive skin. The Academy of American Pediatrics advises that for babies under six months, a minimal amount of sunscreen should be applied to the face, backs of hands, and tops of feet. For babies that are older than six months, parents can use sunscreen on any part of their child’s skin that’s exposed.
2. What should I look for in a sunscreen for babies?
The best sunscreen options for babies will have an SPF of 30 or higher and will protect your baby’s skin from UVB and UVA rays. Look for a sunscreen that’s fragrance-free and mineral-based as these options tend to contain fewer chemicals and harsh irritants. If you’re not sure whether a product has a mineral-based formula, check the label. You’ll want a sunscreen that has ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
3. How do I apply sunscreen on a baby?
Apply sunscreen to exposed skin gently but thoroughly. Reapply every two hours, especially if your baby is getting in the water.
4. How often should babies wear sunscreen?
Babies should wear sunscreen anytime they’ll be in a sunny environment where there won’t be adequate shade for a prolonged period of time. That being said, doctors don’t advise putting sunscreen on your baby every day and suggest keeping your baby in the1shade as much as possible instead.
5. What are other ways to make sure my baby doesn’t get a sunburn?
While sunscreen is an effective way to prevent sunburns, it’s not fool-proof. Be sure to keep your baby in the shade as much as possible so she doesn’t get overheated. If you’re headed to the beach or the park, it’s never a bad idea to bring a pop-up canopy or umbrella with you so baby can avoid being in direct sunlight. Dressing your baby in protective clothing, such as hats and long sleeves also helps but if it’s a hot day, make sure those extra layers are lightweight and breathable to keep baby cool.
Sunscreen is a simple and effective way of preventing sunburns, which means it’s a necessary evil for parents and kids alike. While it’s no fun to apply a layer of sticky sunblock to a squirmy baby, it’s crucial to keep your little one protected from damaging UVA and UVB rays. There are lots of sunscreens available today that are made with natural and non-toxic ingredients, including options with 100% mineral formulas. This is important because sunscreens without harmful chemicals are not only safer and gentler for your baby’s sensitive skin, but they’re also more environmentally friendly. Whether you’re looking for a spray, a stick, or an old-fashioned tube of lotion, sunscreen is a must-have anytime you’re planning to be out in the sun. So sit back and slather up! You’ll be able to rest easier knowing a sunburn isn’t in your baby’s near future.