Finding the best sunscreen for kids can be challenging, whether you're going swimming, enjoying a picnic in the park, or planning a spring barbecue.
Sunscreen should be high on the priority list while you and your family enjoy the pleasant spring season.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, daily use of an SPF 15 sunscreen will reduce the risk of melanoma by 50%.
However, you must ensure that whatever you apply to your child's extra-sensitive skin is absolutely safe.
We’ve compiled the 5 best sunscreens for kids that are also sustainable so you don’t have to!
What is The Best Sunscreen for Kids?
A few painful sunburns as a kid will more than double a person's lifelong risk of contracting serious skin cancers.
A hat and shirt have the greatest protection from the sun, but you should still apply sunscreen daily even with those safeguards.
For infants under the age of six months should be kept as far away from the sun as possible.
As for toddlers and children, a day in the sun necessitates the use of sunscreen.
Chemical allergens, as well as the sun's UV radiation, are particularly irritating to the skin of young children.
The best type of sunscreen for kids is the one you will use again and again.
Just make sure it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, be sure to apply it generously!
What Should You Avoid In Sunscreen For Kids
Sunscreen ingredients should not irritate the skin or worsen skin allergies, and sunscreen formulations should be able to withstand high UV radiation without sacrificing potency or forming potentially dangerous breakdown products.
Here’s what you should avoid
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means, but here are some of the more common and disturbing ingredients we came across in many mainstream sunscreens.
Be sure that when you’re choosing a sunscreen that you’re also avoiding ingredients like parabens and sulfates.
If any of your options have any of these in them, they shouldn't be your choice for the best sunscreen for kids.
Benzophenone-3, also know as Oxybenzone
A widely used ingredient in FDA-approved sunscreens.
It is very good at lowering UV Ray penetration, but it is also a dangerous irritant for eye contact and slightly hazardous for direct skin contact.
A popular ingredient in chemical-based sunscreens approved by the FDA.
Avobenzone is often used in place of Oxybenzone, but it is also a benzophenone and has the same risks as Oxybenzone.
This ingredient functions similarly to oxybenzone in that it penetrates the skin and is also used to aid in the integration of other chemicals.
It also photodegrades when exposed to sunlight, increasing free radicals in the skin, increasing the risk of some forms of skin cancer, and causing photocontact allergies to sunscreens.
Formaldehyde, Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin, and Hydroxymethylglycinate
While formaldehyde is not specified on any of the personal care goods, many of the preservatives used as paraben substitutes RELEASE formaldehyde!
Formaldehyde releasers include Diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin, and Hydroxymethylglycinate.
Formaldehyde has been listed as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
It is also a toxin to the ecosystem.
There are insoluble or biopermanent materials with sizes ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers, and can be 100,000 times smaller than a human hair!
Nanomaterials can behave differently in the body and environment than non-nano materials.
Nano sunscreens can damage the environment as they wash off people's bodies.
Be sure the mineral sunscreen, copper, or titanium you're using is non-nano quality.
Octinoxate / Octyl methoxycinnamate
A popular UV filter that has been approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens.
It is absorbed through the skin and has been detected in human urine, blood, and breast milk, indicating that it is absorbed systemically.
It is an endocrine disruptor capable of mimicking hormones.
Our Top Five Best Sunscreens for Kids
#1 Best Sunscreen for Kids - My Swim Baby Swim Hat
Originally, when I set off to write this blog and do my research, I wasn’t going to include anything that was NOT a cream, balm, or spray.
That all changed the more I kept reading.
Wearing a hat can be one of the best sunscreens for kids!
Especially those tiny babes and those children who have intensely sensitive skin.
Protect your baby from the harsh rays of the sun with the My Swim Baby Sun Hat!
The wide brim will keep the sun off the delicate skin of your little one’s face and head!
The reversible brim has a custom My Swim Baby print on one side and a coordinating solid color on the other side.
Match it to your baby’s cloth swim diaper and rash guard or any of their beach and sun wear!
#2 Best Sunscreen for Kids - My Swim Rash Guard
My kids live in these.
They’re not too thin to where I’m concerned they’ll tear, but they’re also not too thick to where they’re hot!
They’re perfect for a day in the park or a day in the water.
My Swim Baby UV shirtsare UPF 50+ to protect little one’s delicate skin from the harmful rays of the sun while they’re outdoors and in the water!
For comfortable play in the sun, these lightweight shirts are breathable and dry quickly, even while being worn!
The solid colors of My Swim Baby UV Shirts are easy to coordinate with your child’s swimwear and summer clothing.
#3 Best Sunscreen for Kids - thinkbaby
I LOVE THINKBABY. I am yelling. Sorry about that!
It’s not often that I’ll put a product before Lusa or Balm Baby, but thinkbaby deserves to be here.
It’s a truly great product that’s safe, smells like oranges, and goes on without being greasy!
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen offers a safer alternative for protecting your baby from harmful UVA/UVB rays, free radicals, irritants, and biologically harmful chemicals found in many “natural” baby sunscreens on the market.
What Makes ThinkSport Sunscreen a safer alternative?
Organic BPA free Non-Aerosol & Biodegradable Reef Safe Non-Toxic Dermatologist tested
#4 Best Sunscreen for Kids - Lusa Organics Sunshine Butter Hello Sunshine!
This sunscreen is made in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and is made with all organic ingredients.
While I still can’t pronounce Viroqua correctly I can pronounce every single ingredient in this sunscreen!
Sunshine Butter is made with 20% non-nano zinc oxide for a product you can trust for the whole family.
The full ingredient list is *Coconut oil, *shea butter (fair trade), *avocado oil, non-nano zinc oxide, *beeswax; and lavender essential oil.
Way to go Lusa-Again!
#5 Best Sunscreen for Kids - BALM! Baby - SUN 30SPF Natural Mineral Sun Screen
I said I wouldn’t lead with Balm Baby or Lusa, but Balm Baby had to make my list of top sunscreens for kids!
This organic formula made in Hawaii!
You’re about to get Aloha’d!
Their proprietary blend of natural Sun Protectants and soothing skin oils offers the perfect sunscreen for water play and all ages.
It offers SPF30+! Perfect formulation for the face and safe for the lips!
This natural and reef safe formula contains Extra Virgin, organic olive oil, non-nano 25% zinc oxide, sesame seed oil**, candelilla wax (vegan), virgin, raw macadamia nut oil**, virgin, organic coconut oil, tocopherol (vitamin e T-50), and French lavender essential oil.
But WAIT! There’s more!
This sunscreen Doubles as an awesome Mad Diaper Rash Treatment!
Because it contains 25% NON-nano zinc when "prescription" diaper ointment is needed, it replaces that need with a natural alternative! (just be sure to use a liner when cloth diapering).
Conclusion - Sunscreen for Kids
Did you learn something today? I know I sure learned a lot.
Like a scary amount of information.
I feel that so many of us start cloth diapers without really living that crunchy life until we dive off the deep end.
Or at least- do our homework a little bit more.
Even us oldies still have things to learn.
Did I know that I should look for more natural products, sure!
But labels can and often are misleading.
I sincerely hope that this blog helped guide you today in finding the best sunscreen for kids, and even you!
While you’re out and about in the sunshine, don’t forget to pack a beach blanket.
Beach Blankets can be used at the beach of course, but we don’t go anywhere without them.
They pack up easily and if the kids (read I) want to sit in the grass we don’t have to worry about it being wet.
Or (those like me) don’t have to touch the grass!
Click HERE to grab a beach blanket today for your next outing!