The sun is out and temperatures are rising, and as we start to head into the summer months, parents everywhere are stocking up on sunscreen. But how do you know which are the safest for little bodies? Luckily for us, the Environmental Working Group has just released their picks for the best and worst sunscreens for kids and babies.
First, let's start with the ones to avoid. These particular sunscreens either don't work well, contain potentially harmful ingredients or a combination of both, leading them to land on the top 14 worst sunscreens list:
- Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
- Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
- Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70
- Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray Kids, SPF 70
- Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70
- Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Water Babies, SPF 70+
- Coppertone Sunscreen Stick Kids, SPF 55
- Coppertone Sunscreen Stick Water Babies, SPF 55
- Coppertone Sunscreen Water Babies Foaming Lotion, SPF 70
- CVS Health Children’s Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
- Equate Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
- Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Sticks, SPF 55
For the most part, the sunscreens that scored the safest were mineral-based versions with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients.
So what should you be buying instead? Here are the EWG's picks for the 19 safest sunscreens for kids and babies:
The EWG also gives some general tips for when parents are out shopping for sunscreen:
- Keep an eye out for ingredients like retinyl palmiate, which has been linked to sun sensitivity, and oxybenzone, a known hormone disruptor. You'll want to avoid putting these on your little ones.
- Avoid aerosol versions. Not only do they not provide enough even coverage, kids can inhale them and get harmful chemicals into their immature lungs.
- Avoid anything with an SPF 50 or higher, which "give people a false sense of security." In reality, a sunscreen with SPF 50 doesn't protect better than one with SPF 30. Even SPF 15 is fine, the most important thing is to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before your child will be outside and then to reapply at least every two hours.