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.
This Thinksport formula is one of the most popular sunscreens for kids and babies, and it even has an average 4.5-star rating across over 2,000 Amazon reviews. At less than $15, it’s an affordable sunscreen considering mineral sunscreens are often pricier than chemical formulas.
One reviewer says it’s her favorite sunscreen to use on her son because it “goes on like moisturizer, doesn’t leave a white cast, and smells faintly like coconut (delicious!).” The brand also makes a version for babies, and both are water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
A favorite of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Executive Technical Director (and mother of three!) Rachel Rothman, this Babyganics sunscreen is very transparent about what’s inside — the labels are easy to read and they clearly state which active ingredients are used. Its plant-derived ingredients include a unique blend of tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin, and raspberry seed oils.
Our lab analysts have noted Babo Botancials’ offerings in previous tests for our best sunscreen rankings, particularly for its budget-friendly price while incorporating numerous high-quality ingredients. The organic shea butter and coconut oil base of this lotion is formulated with FDA-approved active zinc oxide and dries supremely (especially for little ones who like to splash and play in water!). Both current reviewers and feedback established in related GH lab tests indicated that Babo Botanicals’ thick, luxe lotion doesn’t easily rub off on fabrics but is easy to rinse off when necessary.