Finding a safe and effective (natural) sunscreen for baby

Summer is quickly approaching, and we are spending a lot more of our time outdoors. My little one loves to spend every waking minute outside, and she is also as fair as they come, so I want to keep her safe from skin damage that could lead to skin cancer. I have been searching for a safe and effective sunscreen since her first summer – trying at least 5 different sunscreens.

I did a ton of research (too many hours to count) between EWG and reading online reviews to find the best sunscreen for my baby. EWG has an entire area of their site dedicated to sunscreen and sun protection. They also publish a thorough (read: long) guide each year on their top rated sunscreens that takes into account the safety of the contents of the sunscreen along with how effective it is at protecting you from the sun.

To save you some time, I am sharing my top sunscreen picks for babies over 6 months along with my quick guide to sun safety.

Sunscreen Ratings

Over the last year, I have tried 5 different sunscreens from 4 brands for my baby. I am sharing my favorites along with my reviews on the others. For all of the sunscreens listed, I include the rating from EWG which falls on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is the best score and 10 is the worst score that a product can receive).

My baby has yet to get burned, so all of the sunscreens that we tried have been effective. You will also notice based on the EWG ratings that I have only used sunscreens that were rated a 1. You do pay for what you get and the quality of ingredients will cost you. Most of the below sunscreens will cost nearly double their chemically activated counterparts that you are accustomed to seeing on the drug store shelves.

My opinions on sunscreen are all based on how easy they are to apply, product contents, value/price and scent.

1. Badger Baby Sunscreen 

EWG Rating: 1

The Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream in the Chamomile & Calendula is our favorite. It goes on easily and does not make her look like a ghost like a lot of mineral sunscreens. The ingredients are completely natural and (almost) completely organic.

My top rating for the Badger Baby Sunscreen is because my baby actually likes when I put it on. She even hates when I put on lotion after her bath, so this is truly remarkable. On multiple occasions, she has signed “more” to me and actually wanted me to rub more sunscreen on her. If you have attempted putting sunscreen on a baby, you know this is huge. If you haven’t, then picture your hands covered in white while trying to capture a wiggling baby and attempting not to get white cream all over yours and the baby’s clothes.

The scent of this sunscreen is mild but pleasing. Your baby will still smell like a baby.

I am starting with our favorite so you can stop reading now and click through the link to buy it on Amazon.

2. Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen

EWG Rating: 1

The Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen is fairly easy to apply to baby but requires a bit more rubbing than the Badger Baby Sunscreen to make the white go away. My baby does not enjoy this one as much and has never made it easy for me to rub it on her.

The scent is super mild but is a bit more chemical smelling than the Badger Baby Sunscreen.

The ingredient list is not entirely natural like Badger but it does have the same EWG rating. It is cheaper than the Badger Baby Sunscreen by almost $2 per ounce, so if you are looking for a safe an economical choice, this is the best option. I’ve purchased the Blue Lizard Baby 8.75 ounce for around $20. This size bottle could last you all summer.

3. TruBaby Water & Play 

EWG Rating: 1

The TruBaby sunscreens had the most non-existent scents of all of the sunscreens that we tried, so if that is a priority for you, you will love this line. I am going to review the Water & Play along with the Everyday Play together, primarily because I didn’t notice a difference between them. I just happened to apply Water & Play when I knew she was going to get wet and used the Everyday Play for any other time.

Both formulations are all natural and received the EWG rating of 1. They were slightly more difficult to apply than the Badger Baby Sunscreen but equivalent to the Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen.

The TruBaby sunscreens are slightly more expensive than the Badger Baby Sunscreen. You get a 2 Oz bottle for the same price as the 2.9 Oz bottle of Badger.
4. TruBaby Everyday Play

EWG Rating: 1

See #3 above.

5. California Baby Year Round Stick

EWG Rating: 1

I generally like the California Baby products, so I wanted to try out the sunscreens. I started with the California Baby Sunscreen Stick because I thought it would be a great product to have handy in the diaper bag and wouldn’t have the risk of exploding. This product is last on my list because it was terrible to apply. The stick is not soft enough to easily apply to your baby’s face. I pictured it being soft like a chapstick and gliding on but that was not the case. I tried using this stick a few times before I gave up.

Quick Guide to Sun Safety

  1. Do not trust an SPF rating over 50 to protect you more. The SPF (sun protection factor) refers to UVB protection only and also gives you a false confidence in protection, leading you to spend too much time exposed to the hot sun.
  2. Don’t use sprays. I know they are quick and easy to put on, but you are spraying chemicals into the air and then hoping some of the sunscreen actually stays on your body.
  3. Avoid oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) by checking the ingredients. Both ingredients are commonly found in sunscreens sold in the U.S. Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor and allergen and retinyl palmitate causes skin damage.
  4. Make sure your sunscreen protects against UVB and UVA rays. Many U.S. sunscreens still only protect against UVB rays. You can look for the words multi spectrum, broad spectrum, and UVB/UVA protection to indicate an ingredient is present to protect against UVA rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are both ingredients commonly found in mineral based sunscreens that provide UVA protection.
  5. Wear clothing and hats with a UPF 30+ rating. The best way to protect your skin from the sun is to obviously avoid it. Since we all want our kids to be outside playing in the summer, the next best way is to cover our skin. Many kids swim companies now sell rash guards and apparel with UPF 30+ ratings that will help to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.
  6. Don’t forget sunglasses. Yes, putting sunglasses on a baby is a pain but you need to protect their eyes from the sun. I am still trying to get my little one used to them. It is a constant battle to keep her sunglasses on, but eventually she forgets that she is wearing them.
  7. Keep your newborn in the shade. You are still not advised to put any sunscreen on babies under 6 months so get an umbrella or tent and hang out with baby in the shade.

I hope you are having as much fun as we are getting outside to play everyday. Let me know if you have any other summer sun tips or sunscreens that you love!



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