10 Best Sunscreens for Kids & Babies in 2019
When it’s beautiful out, who can say no to a day at the park or the beach? If you’re taking your family to enjoy the outdoors for an afternoon, you know that you’ll need to lather up those little ones to keep them protected from nasty sunburns and harmful rays. Not every sunscreen is great for children, but there are plenty of quality options out there. Below, you’ll find ten of our favorite formulas for kids and infants. Put those sunglasses on and get out there!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 33 hrs of research
Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
Light, fruity fragrance
Easy to rub in
Lightweight and made from botanical ingredients
- Alba Botanica Tropical Fruit SPF 45
- Banana Boat Family Size
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Mineral
- Thinkbaby Safe SPF 50+
- Banana Boat Simply Protect Mineral-Based
- Sunology Safe Mineral SPF 50
- Babyganics SPF 50
- Australian Gold Non-Greasy Lotion
- Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30+
- Neutrogena Wet Skin SPF 70
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Sunscreens for Kids Reviewed
1. Alba Botanica Tropical Fruit SPF 45
Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
Light, fruity fragrance
Easy to rub in
Lightweight and made from botanical ingredients
It comes in a pretty small bottle; 4 oz isn’t a whole lot, so stock up
Alba Botanica is a natural, feel-good sunscreen. It’s made from 100% vegetarian products and botanical ingredients, carries an SPF 45 rating, and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The lightweight feel is nice for everyone, but especially for fussy children. It bears a light fruity fragrance and applies extra smoothly. It’s available as both a lotion and a sprayRead more
Unlike many other natural lotions, this sunscreen won’t get stuck and refuse to rub in. Kids love it, parents love it, and it keeps everyone safe while they lounge about, swim, play, and enjoy the sun! Alba Botanica is dedicated to providing body-nourishing products, and this kids’ sunscreen is no exception.
The sun is fun and often feels great but it can be dangerous to spend too much time outdoors without protection. UV rays, especially UVB rays, cause skin damage and have been linked to cancer. Sunscreen helps to block out some of these rays during your family’s time in the sun, saving them from pesky sunburns.
It’s nice to put on a sunscreen that doesn’t feel too oily or so thick that it won’t rub in. This is a great consistency, feels nice, nourishes the skin, and also protects it. Plus, it smells pretty good!
Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this formula is free of octinoxate, oxybenzone, and gluten. It’s biodegradable and has not been tested on any animals.
2. Banana Boat Family Size
Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic (mineral-based)
Won’t sting eyes
Easy for kids to safely apply to themselves
Convenient pump bottle
Long-lasting even in water; not greasy
Can leave face with a white film
Very thick - need to rub in well
Kids love to play in the great outdoors. During summer, nothing can be more fun than spending hours upon hours playing with water and associated water toys. Whether it’s in the beach, the swimming pool in your backyard or even a public pool, kids’ water adventures can be guaranteed to be safe and fun without the unnecessary pain of sunburns. Unfortunately, applying kids sunscreen lotion can be tricky especially around the eyes. While you can ask your child to close his or her eyes as you rub on the formulation, it is still possible that your kid will feel a little sting especially within the immediate perimeter of the eyes. In some instances, tearing can also occur because of the irritating substances contained in some sunscreen formulations. If this happens, your kid simply will not be able to enjoy summer. Sure, he or she is protected against UVA and UVB radiation; but, if he or she simply will not enjoy the thrill and fun of summer, then it will prove pointless. This is effectively addressed by the Banana Boat kids sunscreen.Read more
With an SPF rating of 50, you can guarantee endless fun for your child without him or her having to be bothered by the sting or irritation in his or her eyes.
The Banana Boat features a unique formulation that will never sting your child’s eyes so that the application of this fantastic integumentary protectant becomes a very easy task that even your kids will be able to perform on their own.
This thick lotion is one of the best because it hits on a common problem of sunscreens - stinging the eyes. Outdoor activities in the sun make the face sweat and so sunscreen usually sweat into the eyes eventually. Also, with children, they frequently may rub their eyes or face getting the sunscreen lotion into their eyes. With this Banana Boat brand, there is no need to worry about stinging eyes. Many adults use this sunscreen because of that feature. This lotion is even long-lasting in water.
If you’re doubtful, we can say that the formulation has been tested by recognized ophthalmologists. And if your kid has rather sensitive skin, its fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formulation should be a welcome bonus. The Banana Boat is here to make sure your kid gets the most fun from the warm summer sun.
3. Neutrogena Pure & Free Mineral
Easy to apply
Quick application and no need to rubbing in
Protects up to 80 minutes
You don’t get very much product
Occasionally leaves a white residue
Neutrogena is another brand that’s highly trusted because of their facial and skin products. They’re known for producing gentle, but effective formulas, and this one is specifically designed for babies.Read more
With an SPF level of 60, the coverage is water-resistant and will last a solid 80 minutes. This sunscreen will protect your baby’s skin against harmful UVB and UVA rays and won’t irritate it in the slightest due to the fragrance-free formula.
The cool thing about this sunscreen is its unique stick form which allows parents to roll sunscreen on their child’s skin rather than rub it in, which can often be a messy and uncomfortable process. This way, parents need only uncap, roll on, and the baby is ready for a day in the sun!
Although it might be challenging to tell where you’ve applied sunscreen already, a roll-on formula is genius for kids who can’t sit still. It’s quick, easy, and they can even do it themselves if they’re old enough -- Not to mention, it’s the same size as a stick of deodorant and super easy to travel with.
We all know how difficult it can be to apply sunscreen to children at times, especially when they’re restless and amped up to go and play. A roll-on sunscreen makes this process easier, faster, and the best part? There’s no mess!
4. Thinkbaby Safe SPF 50+
Free from parabens, phthalates, PABA, and other harmful chemicals
Mineral-based, natural formula
Water resistant for 80+ minutes
No animal testing
Some customers complained that they still got burned; there may be a quality control issue with some of the batches
This mineral-based sunscreen has been #1 on the Environmental Working Group's guides to best sunscreen since 2010. It’s free of harmful chemicals, including avobenzone, oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, PABA, and 1,4 dioxane.Read more
With an SPF of 50, it’s one of the highest coverages and is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
It has more awards than any sunscreen line, including appearing on Allure’s “Best of” list and being the highest-rated SPF as per the FDA’s 2012 rules. It’s natural, it’s effective, and it makes beach days with baby fun and hassle-free, at least insofar as sunscreen goes.
It’s a top-notch environmental pick. If you’re looking for something natural, this is a certified winner. It goes on smooth and cool, and apparently stays on pretty well too, as plenty of users said they had to wash it off with soap, water, and a little elbow grease. Vitamin D is a necessary element of healthy, developing bodies. But too much sun can be just as dangerous as not enough. This sunscreen protects baby from harmful UV rays while still staying natural and free from nasty, unsafe chemicals.
The formula is not animal-tested, so you can feel good about your safety and the safety of our fuzzy little friends. A non-nano zinc oxide formula helps protect baby’s soft skin from the sun, without being too oily or difficult to apply.
5. Banana Boat Simply Protect Mineral-Based
Water and weather resistant
Free of parabens and other harmful ingredients
Simple, mineral-based formula
Can be difficult to rub in
Can be messy and leave stains
Looking for something natural and free from nasty chemicals? The Banana Boat Simply Protect is a mineral-based formula meant to protect your kids from harmful UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen is SPF 50, allowing for long bouts of play before reapplication. It’s made from a mineral base, and it stays put no matter what your little one is up to. It’s especially handy for active families who need protection from long hours in the sun.Read more
It’s tear-free, made to be mild and gentle so in case it gets in your kids’ eyes, not to worry. It lathers on quickly and easily so everyone can spend less time fussing and more time having fun
It can survive time in the sun, pool, ocean, wind, sand, high heat, and it even withstands under sweat. It’s recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and is a great all-day lotion. Just remember to apply it roughly every hour!
It’s nice to see sunscreens trying to produce formulas that rely most heavily on simple, mineral-based and natural ingredients. This sunscreen will stay put once applied, doesn’t require much to get good coverage, and comes in a tough, durable casing so you can tote it around with you and not worry about it exploding in your bag.
Its ingredient list is simple and features 25% fewer ingredients than some sports sunscreens. This broad spectrum protection has no oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, or added oils and fragrances.
6. Sunology Safe Mineral SPF 50
Moringa oil helps to moisturize skin
Has the highest level of water-resistance
80 minutes of full-coverage protection
Doesn’t include oxybenzone or avobenzone
The absorption rate isn’t great and really needs to be reapplied frequently
If you’re looking for a great sunscreen that’s mineral-based and great for kids aged six months and older, Sunology is a great choice. The top two ingredients listed are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide which protect against powerful UV rays that could potentially cause under-skin damage as well as painful sunburn. It comes with the approved highest level of water-resistant, 80 minutes, and an SPF level of 50 which is great for kids.Read more
Sunology calls their sunscreen “low hazard” in regards to the environment because one of their missions is to create quality products that also reduce harmful environmental effects. That means that when you’re using this sunscreen not only are you protecting your kids, but also the environment.
What really puts this sunscreen a step above the rest, however, is its exclusion of oxybenzone and avobenzone, which are harsh chemicals that are used in some other lesser sunscreen.
Excluding the use of two major chemicals that are relatively harsh for kid’s skin is one thing that we love to see. This sunscreen does the job naturally without the use of chemicals that shouldn’t be in contact with children, and that’s something we support fully.
In addition to being free of those, Sunology has created this without parabens and it’s also PABA-free. To add to this gentle formula, the addition of natural moringa oil was also added to keep skin feeling moisturized and fresh with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C.
7. Babyganics SPF 50
No real scent
Water-resistant for 80 minutes
No animal testing
No hazardous chemical ingredients
Feels a little chalky/thick
Some users still experienced sunburn even when using as instructed
Smooth and safe, Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. This hypoallergenic formula goes on smoothly and gently. It’s tear-free, as well as being a pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested and approved.Read more
The NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend helps to nurture and moisturize baby’s skin while guarding against the sun. It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes, and the company does not practice animal testing.
With an SPF of 50+, you can enjoy your time in the sun knowing that Babyganics has got your back (arms, chest, legs, and face too).
This formula is all-natural and free of harmful chemicals. It’s gentle, nongreasy, and protects against harmful UV rays that can cause burns, wrinkles, skin spots, and disease.
Free from PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances, and nano-particles, this formula is a blend of tomatoes, sunflowers, cranberries, black cumin, and red raspberries, along with other powerful ray-resistant ingredients.
8. Australian Gold Non-Greasy Lotion
Light, pleasant scent
80 minutes of water-resistance
Antioxidant benefits via the acacia extract
Australian Gold has become a household name by providing safe, reliable products for decades. This broad-spectrum sunscreen is rated at 50+ SPF, with guaranteed UVA and UVB protection.Read more
Mineral-based sunscreens work well for some skin types, while other users feel that they don’t do quite as thorough a job of guarding against burns. This gentle Australian Gold mixture is guaranteed to keep skin safe, while still being pretty natural and non-greasy.
The acacia extract utilized means your skin reaps antioxidant benefits in addition to this formula’s protective powers. It’s water-resistant for 80 minutes and features the signature light scent of Australian Gold.
Mineral-based lotions block sun rays, but this traditional formula absorbs UVA and UVB rays to keep your skin, young, fresh, healthy, and free from nasty burns.
Oil-free and full of vitamin C (via the Kakadu plum fruit mixed into every batch), this sunscreen smells fantastic, feels fantastic, and keeps your family safe from harmful rays. It’s cruelty-free and hypoallergenic, so all kinds of kids and their parents can enjoy.
9. Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30+
Color-changing “smart bottle technology”
The formula includes all-natural minerals
Great for kids and adults
Needs to be reapplied every 40 minutes or so
You might see Australian sunscreen and be wondering how it stacks up against the other sunscreens on our list. We’re happy to tell you that Blue Lizard holds its own as far as sun protection goes, and it even has the scores to prove it. Certified as number one by the EWG as the “top choice” for sunscreen, it protects skin against harmful sun rays for a total of 40 minutes before reapplication is needed. This formula is also water-resistant and safe for babies, in fact, it’s specifically made for them. There are absolutely no additives or fragrances used in the formula of this sunscreen which makes it non-irritating and great for those hot summer daysRead more
The addition of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide really help to block and deflect harmful sun which is exactly what you want for your baby on sweltering hot days outside.
What’s even cooler is the bottle it comes in -- In the presence of potentially harmful UV sunlight, the bottle actually changes color. It’s what Blue Lizard calls “smart bottle technology” and it’s something that really comes in handy on a cloud or overcast day when you might think there’s no need for sunscreen.
While this sunscreen does need to be reapplied more often than others, the fact that it has all-natural minerals included in the formula really put it a step above.
Blue Lizard sunscreen is mineral-heavy which makes it more natural than some others, including Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide that are both gentle and safe for your baby’s skin. It’s dermatologist-tested and has a reputation for having over 20 years of trusted products, and that’s something we can definitely get behind.
10. Neutrogena Wet Skin SPF 70
Mess-free stick applicator
Can be applied to wet skin - no need to dry
Provides broad-spectrum UV protection
Does not leave white skin or stains
Good for the face - does not sting eyes
Only lasts 2 hours - must reapply often
There are instances when, because of sheer excitement, your kid will already be in the water even before they have applied kids sun protection on their integument. Most UV blockers work based on the premise that it should be applied first before sun exposure or before going in the water. You don’t have to fret, really, because leading skin care company Neutrogena has formulated a special product designed to address such concerns. The Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Stick Sunscreen is specially formulated to be applied on already-wet skin. There’s no need to dry the skin first before the product can be applied. It’s mess-free since your kid will be holding on the container and not the formulation itself.Just think of the Wet Skin Stick as the sunscreen equivalent of your deodorant stick. It won’t leave white stains on your kid’s skin and won’t even drip off.Read more
At any rate, your child will get the right amounts of the unique formulation to compete with Neutrogena’s patented Helioplex technology with each application. Now, don’t ever think that just because it’s labeled “wet” your child can no longer use it dry.
The Neutrogena Wet Skin Stick can be applied onto the skin regardless of moisture conditions. The effectiveness of its active ingredients lasts 2 hours so it is important to reapply as soon as possible.
The wonderful Wet Skin Stick for kids has several benefits because of the design of the product. Because it is in a stick form, kids can easily apply it themselves and it is not messy. It can be applied to the face more easily than other sunscreens, especially around the eyes because it can be put precisely where you want it. The Wet Skin Stick does not sting eyes either and there is no trace of a white film afterward. Although its best feature is that it can be applied to wet skin, it must be applied often. Every two hours is best.
Unlike lotions or creams where you have to actually hold and apply the product with your hands, the Wet Skin Stick easily glides over wet skin, penetrating through the layer of moisture, and giving your child superb broad spectrum UV radiation protection.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
These are all sunscreens, meaning they protect skin from the harmful rays of the sun. They, in general, will not protect from sunburn or suntan, although individual observances can attest to the facts that some people will not burn or tan with a certain product. If the label says it will prevent tan or burn, then it should, but most of these products provide a protective layer for the skin as a screen.
Most sunscreens have some level of protection in water, but some may need to be reapplied to provide the best protection for the skin. Usually the thicker the lotion the better the protection. If the lotion goes on oily and thin, then after being in the water, you will need to put more sunscreen on. For sensitive or very tender skin, it would not hurt to apply again even if the lotion says it protects in water. It is better to err on the side of caution for sunscreen.
To give you the best kids’ sunscreens, we had to review current recommendations by various health organizations as well as regulating agencies. Since skin protection is vital in the prevention of serious skin conditions like cancer, we had to make sure we’re listing the correct products.
First, the product must provide a broad spectrum of UV protection. It must be able to protect against the harmful rays of both UVA and UVB light. While we know that UVB radiation is what gives our skin the reddish appearance and the associated pain of sunburn, it is the effects of UVA radiation that we want to minimize as this has been associated with the development of certain types of skin cancer. Many sunscreens only offer UVB protection. That’s why it’s imperative that we get only those with both UVA and UVB protection.
The sun-protection factor was also considered. While existing world health regulations have placed a limit on the SPF that can be written on product labels, currently placed at 50+, we know that an SPF of 30 is sufficient for protecting the skin of our kids especially if they will be staying on the beach or even in the pool for extended hours
Most, if not all, of the sunscreens featured here, include natural ingredients that are plant-based or organic. Safety is one of the main concerns when choosing skin protection for children or those with very sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens can be quite harmful even though they do provide good protection from the sun. Many of these sunscreens also have added vitamins and minerals to help put back into the skin what the sun’s rays can take out.
The ingredients used in the formulation of these products were also evaluated. Safety is a paramount concern. We may be preventing the development of skin cancer but, if the same substances we apply on the skin of our kids will result in other health problems, then it wouldn’t really be offering them protection at all.
When all of these were thoroughly evaluated, we ran the products for another pass, this time focusing on the product rating. A four-star product rating assured a kids' sunscreen a place in our list. We also considered customer feedback and comments from reviewers. It’s one thing to base one’s knowledge of literature. It’s a different matter to listen to how well the product actually works in the real setting
Other Factors to Consider
If you want to search for the correct sunscreen for your child yourself, then it is important to consider the following tips in choosing the right sunscreen for your child.
Always choose safe ingredients
It is very important to always choose safe sunscreens, particularly those do not that contain retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone as these ingredients have been implicated in toxicities. Nano-particles should also be avoided. Safer ingredients are those that contain metal oxides like zinc and titanium.
Always go for broad-spectrum formulations
Studies now show that UVA rays are responsible for the long-term damage to cells and tissues of the skin which can lead to the development of melanoma and other forms of cancer. While the process is insidious, it can be mitigated if adequate UVA protection is provided. The sunburn that often occurs with excessive exposure to the sun’s rays is caused by UVB radiation. It is thus, important to choose a product that gives protection against both types of ultraviolet radiation.
The sun protection factor (SPF) of a product is very important as it represents the fraction of the sun’s rays that are able to penetrate the protective layer before it reaches the skin. For example, if you have an SPF 15, this is expressed as 1/15th, meaning the only 1/15th of the sun’s radiation will reach the skin. The higher the SPF, the lesser is the amount of radiation that will reach the skin. However, because there are no clear studies indicating an SPF higher than 50 is sufficiently more effective than lower SPF, many organizations, including the FDA, capped the SPF at 50. Manufacturers, therefore, are advised not to label any sunscreens beyond 50 SPF. If they wish to, they can list the product as 50+ instead.
No sunscreen will specifically say that it is for infants of a few months or younger, but these are all safe for infants and children to use. Even adults might prefer to use these sunscreens thinking that the safety of tender or sensitive skin would be at the highest level in these products, and they are correct in that assumption. These products are all safe for children of any age.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, most if not all of these sunscreens will come off easily with soap and water in a regular bath. No hard scrubbing should be necessary.
No, they do not if rubbed insufficiently. It will protect best if rubbed in all the way, so the skin can absorb the ingredients which protect from the sun’s rays.
No, they are not greasy nor do they leave a greasy film on the skin. Rubbing the product in until it is not visible is the key to great skin protection and a non-visible, non-greasy feel and look.
All of these products can be used for the skin on the face and the body. They are very safe and will not leave residues or cause skin problems in general.
It depends on your activities. Mineral sunscreens are unlike regular chemical sunscreens in that they must be applied again if you get into the water for swimming or rub off the protective layer, say as you are drying off with a towel. Chemical products can withstand this, but natural, mineral sunscreens must be put on again after rubbing or swimming.
No, these sunscreens do not stain clothes.
There is a slight smell or fragrance to these sunscreens, but it is not overpowering or bothersome. These products were made with young children in mind, so the only fragrance detectable would be mostly the natural plant oils used.
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