Safe Fun in the Sun: The Best Sunscreen for Kids and Babies

Kid applying sunscreen

Are you anticipating many fun days in the sun with your children? One way to ruin a fun day is to go home with a sunburn.

Children have more sensitive skin than adults that's more susceptible to sunburn. Even worse, their sensitive skin means they might be irritated by a sunscreen that's fine for you.

With this in mind, it's important to choose the best sunscreen for children that are formulated specifically for them. Not only does this help them avoid discomfort and irritation, but they can also avoid skin cancer like melanoma in the future.  

Read on to learn about the best chemical-free sunscreen for toddlers and what to look for when you're buying sunscreen!  

Sunscreen for Kids and Babies

When you're looking for the best sunscreen for babies and older kids, you'll want to keep in mind that their age plays a role in what you should purchase. For instance, you'll want to choose a specific sun protection factor (SPF) for young children versus older children.

Infants Under 6 Months

If your infant is under six months old, they are not meant to be exposed to direct sunlight so you shouldn't need to apply sunscreen.

However, in case your baby’s skin is exposed to some sun in the pram or carrier (cheeks, top of hands), our SPF 50 Vegan Sunscreen is suitable from 3 months+. The formula is perfect for extra delicate or sensitive skin.

If you are out and about with baby in tow, you'll want to keep them in the shade or remember to bring an umbrella or put the cover up on the pram.

You'll also want to keep them dressed in lightweight clothing with tight weaves that cover up their skin. It's also recommended to get them a hat with a brim that also shades their neck.

Older Babies and Kids

Once your baby is older than six months old, you'll want to start applying sunscreen to them regularly. Most dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. This is because, at SPF 30, you'll be blocking 97 percent of the sun's harmful rays.

You can go up to SPF 50 to increase that percentage by a little, but it's important to keep in mind that no sunscreen of capable of blocking 100 percent of the sun from your child's skin.

You'll also want to keep in mind that the SPF of sunscreen doesn't change between sunscreen formulated for adults versus sunscreen for children. Sunscreen for sensitive skin is typically labelled for children to help them avoid irritation. 

Lastly, you'll want to look for a water-resistant sunscreen. This is because it'll remain on your child's skin longer, especially if you're at the beach or pool. However, remember to keep reapplying at least every two hours.

At People4Ocean, we use the kindest ingredients in all our sunscreens as we believe all skins - no matter your age - deserve the best protection and safest ingredients. Sun protection should be simple and healthy for all, that's why we have created an ageless, gender neutral range suitable for the whole family. All our sunscreens are also water-resistant 3 hours, using sustainable beeswax or plant-based candelilla wax.

Girl sitting on the sand in sunscreen and a hat

Sunscreen Buying Tips

Now that you know that a minimum SPF of 30 is recommended for babies and children over six months old, there are still a few factors to keep in mind in order to purchase the best sunscreen for your child. These include the right ingredients and formulations.

Ingredients to Look For

Mineral (physical) sunscreens are recommended for children rather than chemical sunscreens. This is because they're overall less irritating and are most effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays.

As you're looking for mineral sunscreens for children, look for the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The sunscreen active Zinc oxide blocks UVA and UVB rays on its own – unlike chemical UV absorbers that need to be combined with other chemicals to ensure broad spectrum and photo-stability.

Ingredients to Avoid 

Overall, you'll want to avoid chemical sunscreens for children. They work by absorbing the sun's rays within the skin versus mineral sunscreens that act as a shield on top of the skin. 

You'll also want to avoid any type of spray sunscreen. The reason for this is because it can be hard to apply it thoroughly to your child's body. There's also the risk of your child inhaling the spray. 

There is strong science that has detected 8 sunscreen chemical absorbers in breastmilk and placenta. Sunscreens chemicals are systematically absorbed into the bloodstream as early as 30 min from application, with ingredients such as Oxybenzone or Octinoxate particularly harmful as they are known hormone disruptors and allergens.

Applying Sunscreen

It's important to keep in mind that even a natural sunscreen for babies can be unhelpful if you're not applying it the right way. Sunscreen needs to be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours if you're still being exposed to the sun. 

However, an important and handy fact to know is that mineral sunscreens start acting as soon as they are applied to the skin (since there is no need for absorption), so if you do forget to apply sunscreen to your kids in advance, they are still protected.

Parents often overlook these parts of the body: 

  • Ears
  • Hairline
  • Tops of feet
  • Lower lip

Even after sunscreen is applied thoroughly, parents also need to remember to try and avoid the hottest parts of the day from 10am to 2pm. Even if they can't, staying in the shade with an umbrella, long sleeves, and a wide-brim hat can be helpful.

Toddlers are prone to squirming around and trying to get out the door as fast as possible, so try and make a routine of applying sunscreen before you step outside. You can also try applying sunscreen to their faces while they're still strapped in the backseat of your car.  

The Best Chemical-Free Sunscreen for Toddlers: Do Your Research

When it comes to the best physical sunscreen for kids, look for ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. This is because the sunscreen will sit on top of your child's skin like a shield, helping them avoid irritation from chemicals and block the sun from inflicting damage.

Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 at least 15 minutes before sun exposure. If your child is still out in the sun two hours later, remember to reapply it so that it remains effective, regardless of the SPF rating.

Although you may have difficulty applying sunscreen to a wriggling toddler at first, making a routine of it will soon get them used to the application! Many parents have given us great feedback about how their kids love the smell of our sunscreens and don't get stingy eyes - which makes it so easy it is to apply People4Ocean sunscreen on kids who usually get so fidgety! 

Ready to enjoy the sun with your children through the best chemical-free sunscreen for toddlers? Shop our sun products today!  

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