As the weather warms up, the clothes start coming off……
Ok, stop picturing Ryan Gosling shirtless.
In all seriousness, less clothing means your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t get me wrong. I love to feel those warm rays of sunshine dancing off my skin, thawing away the cold winter. That doesn’t mean that I go outside unprotected though.
Truth be told, I never really thought about what sunscreen to use before Eleanor was born. I went to Target and bought whatever was on sale. Turns out, that might not have been the best option. Not only was I not using a strong enough SPF, I was using all sorts of chemicals. Some of which are known to be harmful to the environment and others that might have been harmful to me.
We definitely did not want that for Eleanor so we began researching what sunblocks work best for babies. Here is a list of the 5 best sunblocks to protect your family this summer. These are our favorites that have a great rating through The Environmental Working Group.
This is our favorite sunscreen and the one we keep coming back to. The high SPF is great for babies and adults alike. The active sun blocking ingredients are made up of 7.5% octinoxate, 5% octisalate, and 11.7% zinc oxide (sunscreen grade > 100nm). While these are not all mineral based, and the octinoxate gets someone dismal ratings, the overall score from EWG is 2 out of 10 on a harmful scale which is still within the green rating.
The formula is thick and the zinc makes it hard to rub it on completely clear, but it does seem to work in eventually. It’s non-allergenic and tear-free. Plus, it’s water resistant so it’s less likely to run into eyes.
Babyganics makes other versions of this sunscreen including a pump spray version, but the zinc content is lowered to 11.2% taking the EWG rating up to 3 and moving it to the orange category.
Pros: No PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles, high SPF, tear-free and water resistant
Cons: Contains some chemicals, does not go on clear
California Baby makes some great products and their sunscreen is among the best. The active ingredient is 12% titanium dioxide (sunscreen grade) so it is 100% mineral based. The super sensitive version of California Baby’s sunscreen scores a 1 out of 10 and is one of the best rated sunblocks on EWG and earned Web MD’s Expert’s Choice Award.
One thing I wish was different is the SPF rating. It’s only 30+ when I prefer 50+. However, 30+ is sufficient for proper sun protection as there is debate whether anything higher than 30 provides more blocking benefits. Like any mineral-based sunblock there will be a white film that sits on top of your skin at first.
Pros: 100% mineral-based
Cons: Pricey, does not go on clear, not 50+ SPF so may need more applications
For those of you that like stick sunblocks, Aveeno has a great one. Stick sunblocks are super convenient and often easier to apply on a squirming toddler so we like having a few on hand. An added benefit is that there is less risk of spilling and oozing so the can easily be put in your purse or a diaper bag for those impromptu park outings.
Aveeno’s active ingredients in this sunblock include 8% titanium dioxide (sunscreen grade) and 6.8% zinc oxide (sunscreen grade > 100nm). Like the other sunblocks there will be a white film with this one as well. That’s because both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide offer protection by sitting on top of the skin and this product contains them both.
The EWG gives the Aveeno Baby Naturals Protection Face Stick an overall rating of 2 out of 10, noting that there a two chemicals in the products ingredients with orange ratings of 3 and 6.
Pros: 100% mineral-based, convenient stick application, high SPF
Cons: Does not go on clear, stick application can miss spots if not careful
This is the only sunblock on the list that is not geared specifically toward babies and children. However, it does carry the sensitive distinction and that is very important. The sensitive line does not contain parabens (along with the Blue Lizard face and baby lines). Like the previous sunscreen it contains both titanium dioxide (sunscreen grade) at 5% and zinc oxide (sunscreen grade > 100nm) at 10%.
It receives a great score of 1 out of 10 on the EWG list of sunscreens and has the best overall UVA/UVB protection of the 5 sunblocks on the list.
Pros: Great UVA/UVB protection, fantastic EWG rating
Cons: Does not go on clear, can get mixed up with other Blue Lizard lines easily, not 50+ SPF
Our final sunblock on the list is another 100% mineral-based product. Kiss My Face is known for it’s natural products made without phthalates, fragrances, artificial colors or any other animal ingredients. But, their sunblock goes a bit further and claims to be made without nanoparticles.
The EWG gives this sunblock a rating of 2 out of 10. However, four of the ingredients contain warnings for allergen concerns – something to keep in mind if your kiddo has allergies. This sunblock also contains both titanium dioxide (sunscreen grade) and zinc oxide (sunscreen grade > 100nm) at 6% each.
One thing to note is several reviews say this sunblock rubs on easily if applied on cool skin and not in direct sunlight. But, if you try it out in the sun or on hot skin, it has a tendency to gum up. It’s also not water resistant so it’s better for a day in the park instead of at the pool
Pros: Rubs in clear with some effort. 100% mineral-based
Cons: Can gum up, not water resistant
While these sunblocks are listed for kids, there’s no reason they can’t be used by the whole family. Keep it simple and make sure to pack one of these with you on your next outing. You’ll be doing your kids a favor (and maybe saving their life!) and helping out the environment too.
Is your favorite sunblock included in this list? Let me know in the comments below. And, please share on Pinterest so we can make sure more kids are protected this summer!