5 Best Gentle & Effective Sunscreens for Kids

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Now that summer is here, it’s time to have a little fun in the sun! But first, sunscreen. Protecting skin from the sun should be important for everyone, everyday, but it’s even more so for our little babes who are extra sensitive! I’ve rounded up a handful of sunscreens specifically formulated for kids and babies, all of which can be delivered to your doorstep with the click of a link (many are also available for Target curbside pickup if you need them same-day). The main criteria I looked for were mineral-based formulations that are gentle on young skin, contain broad spectrum protection(protects from both UVA and UVB) of at least SPF 30, and have water resistance of 80 minutes which is the highest level of water resistance per the FDA.

Before I get started, one thing to note is that most people are not applying nearly enough sunscreen, and are not RE-applying often enough. One time is not enough to last the whole day! The individual formulations should specify on the bottle or tube how often they need to be reapplied to ensure protection. I recommend applying to your kiddos (and yourself – don’t forget to protect your skin too, mama) before getting them dressed/in their swim gear, to help make sure that their skin is fully covered and doesn’t end up burning along the edges of their swimsuit or clothes because that area was missed (I speak from experience). Make sure not to forget areas like the tops of feet, behind the knees, eyelids, and tops of ears that are often overlooked but burn easily (I have experience here too, trust me #fairskinproblems). By applying prior to getting dressed, you’re also allowing the sunscreen enough time to get started working – if you apply when you are already playing outside or at the pool, that’s too late. Aim to apply about 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Lastly, in addition to wearing sunscreen, try to physically cover skin as much as possible with hats, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, and shade. Nothing puts a damper on summer fun like a raging sunburn!

5 Best Sunscreens for Kids

ThinkBaby SPF 50 – This one has been mentioned more than any others in the various mommy groups in my newsfeed. It’s praises are sung for its clear, non-greasy formula that rubs in easily, and has a yummy, tropical scent. It also contains hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and vitamins C and E to help hold in moisture and protect skin from future damage. It is cruelty-free, gluten free and vegan. 

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby SPF 50 – This 100% zinc oxide formulation boasts the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, is tear-free, and comes in both a cream and stick formulation, the latter of which is great for touchups and getting tricky spots like on kiddos faces. 

Blue Lizard Baby SPF 50 – On top of being gentle on skin and reef-safe, this sunscreen features “smart bottle technology” – the bottle turns pink when exposed to harmful UV rays as a reminder to apply. 

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 50 – Contains colloidal oatmeal, which known for soothing and nourishing sensitive skin and it also has the NEA Seal of Acceptance. It’s also tear-free and is available as a cream and stick.

CeraVe Baby SPF 45 – In addition to zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this product includes ceramides and aloe to help repair damage and restore the skin barrier. This has the NEA Seal of Acceptance.

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Courtney Pope
Courtney is a hometown girl who never planned on staying in Kansas or even having a family of her own, and now resides in Andover with her college sweetheart Zack (m. 2012), their twin daughters Ella and Emily (b. 2016), and their dogs Lady and Roscoe. She is a bank auditor for her 'day job,' and when she isn't chasing her toddlers or failing to conquer the never-ending piles of laundry and dishes, she enjoys going on dates with her husband, experiencing old favorites and new adventures through the eyes of her kids, iced coffee and hot tea, and devouring audiobooks and podcasts (savoring the rare paper book when time allows).

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