No one wants their child to experience the sunburn we did back in the day – not only is it extremely painful (blisters, ouch!), but it can greatly increase their risk of skin cancer later in life. The latest parental generation seems to be much more well-versed in the virtues of protecting our kids’ skin, but there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the toxic ingredients in sunscreen that, over time, could be just as damaging.
Luckily, The Environmental Working Group provides a great comprehensive list of the best sunscreens that not only provide protection from the sun’s UV rays, but also contain the safest ingredients. The group recommends staying clear of sunscreen containing Oxybenzone which can disrupt the hormone system, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) which can speed the development of skin tumors when exposed to sunlight, and any sprays which release harmful nano-particles into the air which can then be inhaled.
Freaked out yet? Fortunately, at the top of EWG’s list are sunscreens that provide great sun protection without the use of these harmful chemicals. Cue sigh of relief.
We’ve tested countless sunscreens that the EWG has given their top “1” ranking, and unfortunately, most are not the easiest to apply (especially to squirmy kids who are attempting to escape the goopy stuff), and many leave them looking pretty ghostly.
However, there are a few gems we can proudly give our What Moms Love seal of approval. Give them a try, we promise you will never go back to the chemically stuff again.
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THINKBABY/THINKSPORT SPF 50+ SUNSCREEN
- Free of biologically harmful chemicals: no avobenzone, oxybenzone, paraben, phthalates, paba, 1,4 dioxane or UV chemical absorbers
- Active ingredient is 20% Zinc Oxide (non-nano)
- Highest SPF (50+) and water resistance (80 minutes) allowed by the FDA
AND best of all: it applies smoothly, doesn’t feel oily or sticky, and won’t leave a white residue on your skin. Hurrah!
Thinkbaby and Thinksport Kids’ use the exact same active ingredients, the only difference is that they have slightly different scents. We suggest purchasing the one that’s the lowest price.
RELATED: We also highly recommend ThinkSport’s stainless steel water bottle. See 5 Safe, No-Leak, Easy-To-Clean Water Bottles For Big Kids (Yes, They Do Exist!)
BLUE LIZARD AUSTRALIAN SUNSCREEN BABY 30+ SPF
Blue Lizard’s Baby Sunscreen is another mineral-based formula we love. It provides 30+ SPF broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, 40 minutes water resistant and is paraben and fragrance free. Their Smart Bottle Technology turns the bottle pink when harmful UV rays are present – reminding you to apply (or reapply) your sunscreen – smart indeed!
Blue Lizard Baby is specially designed for delicate skin, but although it’s deemed “baby”, don’t hesitate to use it for your big kids (and yourself!). They do market a “Kids” version, but it is a slightly different formulation that receives a “2” from the EWG, whereas their “Baby” version gets their top “1” rating.
It rubs in just like a lotion, and we found that it has great staying power, especially when it comes to being applied to the face – if your child has issues with sunscreen stinging their eyes after a day at the beach, this is the one for you!
TRUKID SUNNYDAYS SPF 30+ SUNSCREEN
- Non-nano, free of Gluten, phthalates, parabens, and vitamin A
- Eczema-safe with good-for-you ingredients like organic aloe, moisturizing coconut, sunflower, and jojoba oils
TruKid is smooth and easy to apply – even on an impatient 2-year old. It absorbs well, and the white haze disappears quickly once rubbed in. The smell reminds us of a creamsicle – perfect for those hot summer days.
California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+ Sunscreen: Super safe, great protection, but white tinge lasts a little longer than we’d like and it is almost twice as expensive as Thinkbaby/Thinksport.
Badger Baby SPF 30 Sunscreen: Safe ingredients, certified organic base ingredients, but does have a slightly greasy feeling.
Have you tried any of these on our list? What are your favorite safe sunscreens? Give us the lowdown in the comments below.
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