Finding the best sunscreen for kids and babies can be tricky, as every child may have different reactions to certain ingredients, consistencies or application methods. Our skincare experts have already established optimal sunscreens for sensitive skin as well as products made with entirely natural formulas. But you may be wondering if these same picks are engineered with children in mind, especially if you’ve been worried about recent headlines around sunscreen safety.
Officials within the Food and Drug Administration recently made some updates to guidelines for sunscreen manufacturers with top safety issues front and center. Because there is still room for future regulation and further restriction on active ingredients that may enter the bloodstream, “we recommend that parents use sunscreens with mineral actives such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on their kids,” explains Birnur Aral, Ph.D., executive director of the Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab.
Experts and analysts within the GH Institute conduct thorough tests on all types of sunscreens for adults, including those made with natural and mineral formulas, zinc oxide SPF, sunscreens for the face as well as more recommendations for body application. While our experts didn’t explicitly test sunscreens on kids or babies in large-scale consumer studies, they used established criteria and expertise when evaluating the products below, as well as consulting with real parents and dermatologists to curate a list of the best sunscreens for little ones. Verified public reviews from customers were also taken into account when creating our in-depth best kids and babies’ sunscreen ranking.
Neutrogena is a household name for sun protection for a reason: This formula is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and it comes recommended by pediatricians, dermatologists, and the National Eczema Association. “I have very sensitive skin and Neutrogena is one of the only brands I don’t have a reaction to, so I use the baby version for my kids,” says Lexie Sachs, executive director of the Textiles Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Neutrogena even has a zinc oxide sunscreen for adults that performed well in our face-specific sunscreen test.
This hypoallergenic sunscreen from Coppertone is the brand’s most gentle option. It’s formulated with soothing ingredients and zinc oxide and made without fragrance, so it won’t irritate your baby’s delicate skin. One reviewer says that they even got a bit of sunscreen in their eye and didn’t experience any burning sensation.
Sun Bum’s traditional sunscreen for adults is one of the best sunscreens for sensitive skin, so this version for babies is another great pick. Stick sunscreens are especially good for kids’ or babies’ noses, says Sabina Wizemann, senior chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, since they can reach small spots (think scalp and ears, too). They’re also ideal for easily throwing in your beach bag or diaper bag, but Baby Bum also comes in lotion and spray form.