While it’s healthy for kids to get a dose of vitamin D, it’s important to protect them from UV rays with children’s sunscreen. These formulas are specially designed to offer protection without the harsh ingredients often used in adult sunscreens. Instead, children’s sunscreens feature naturally derived ingredients that won’t irritate skin, like aloe vera or oatmeal. Many formulas are even safe to use on the face because they’re gentle, non-comedogenic, and non-irritating.
To help you find the best children’s sunscreen for your little ones, we’ve compiled this buying guide. In addition to covering key features to compare between formulas, we’re sharing a few of our favorites at the end. Our top choice, Thinkbaby’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+, is Leaping Bunny-certified, gluten-free, and vegan.
Mineral sunscreen refers to sunscreen which blocks UV rays by forming a physical barrier on skin. While effective, these sunscreens can leave a chalky residue and can be difficult to spread.
Chemical sunscreen seeps into skin and absorbs UV rays to keep damage and burns at bay. One of the pitfalls of chemical sunscreens is that they can irritate skin and clog pores, and their ingredients, such as oxybenzone, have been proven to be harmful to marine life.
Cream sunscreens remain the most common formula because they spread easily across skin. Gel sunscreens are better for areas with hair, such as around the scalp. Spray sunscreen is convenient with its effortless application; however, some parents are concerned with kids breathing in its vapors. Stick sunscreen is good for small patches, such as on the face.
SPF refers to the amount of protection a sunscreen offers against UVB rays. Generally speaking, the higher the SPF, the better the protection. With that said, it’s a hotly debated topic whether high SPF sunscreens offer significantly more protection than lower SPF ones.
Broad-spectrum children’s sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are known to cause premature aging and skin damage, while UVB rays have been connected to skin cancers. Not all children’s sunscreens are broad-spectrum, though it’s recommended to stick to these to protect children’s skin on all fronts.
Water-resistant sunscreens are a smart choice for children. They hold up the longest in wet environments, such as beaches and water parks. They’re also ideal for wear during outdoor sports since they won’t dissolve or drip off when kids sweat.
Sensitive skin formulas remain a popular choice among parents. These formulas leave out ingredients that clog pores, irritate skin, or cause breakouts. They’re free of synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes, parabens, and phthalates. Some sensitive skin formulas are safe to use with specific skin conditioners, such as eczema or acne.
Entry-level children’s sunscreens cost $10 and below, but they’re not very water-resistant. Mid-range formulas, such as those designed for sensitive skin, cost between $10 and $20. Many organic formulas from specialty brands can run as high as $25 to $40.
A. It’s recommended to reapply every 90 minutes to two hours. If kids go for a dip in the water or sweat excessively during a sport, you may need to reapply more often. This rule holds for water-resistant formulas as well.
A. Yes, and it’s actually quite common for adults with sensitive skin. Children’s sunscreen tends to be formulated a bit differently, so it’s less likely to result in breakouts or irritations. Many adult sunscreens fall short in these departments. Some adults prefer using children’s sunscreen on their face because the formulas are gentler.
Our take: This quick-to-absorb formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it an appropriate choice for water parks.
What we like: Leaves out avobenzone, oxybenzone, and parabens. Won’t leave an oily residue. Easy to spread onto skin.
Our take: Solid option if you’re looking for a sensitive-skin-friendly formula. Loved by kids and adults.
What we like: Mineral-based broad-spectrum formula. Gentle enough to use on the face and won’t sting the eyes.
What we dislike: Leaves a chalky-white film on skin, which can be somewhat difficult to remove.
What we like: Naturally derived ingredients. Holds up well through sweat and can be worn for sports.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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Sunscreen, Neutrogena, Skin care
World news – GB – The best children’s sunscreen