Sun's out, and so is the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) annual list of the best sunscreens for children. This year, the organization looked through hundreds of beach and sport sunscreens to find the 23 best options specifically marketed for babies and kids.
You no longer have to spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing potentially misleading marketing claims and ridiculously long and complicated ingredient lists. To find the safest products for your little ones, the EWG looked at what health hazards were associated with the listed ingredients, the effectiveness and balance of the product's UVB and UVA protection and how quickly the sunscreen breaks down.
Preference was given to fragrance-free formulas and water-resistant or "sport" formulation sunscreens, "as those tend to offer greater staying power." All of the top sunscreens were in the 30-50 SPF range because sunscreens with a higher sun protection factor mislead people into baring their skin longer and exposing themselves to more harmful UV radiation.
Here's the full list of top sunscreens for 2018, specifically with children in mind:
- Adorable Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- All Good Kid's Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Lotion Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 50
- Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla, SPF 30
- Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Baby, SPF 50
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+
- BurnOut Kids Sunscreen, SPF 35
- California Baby Calendula Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
- Equate Baby Zinc Sunscreen Mineral Lotion, SPF 50
- Goddess Garden Organics Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Hawaiian Sol Sol Kid Kare, SPF 50
- Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
- MDSolarSciences KidCreme Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 40
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50
- Nurture My Body Baby Organic Sunscreen, SPF 32
- Sunology Mineral Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50
- Thinkbaby Sunscreen, SPF 50+
- Thinksport Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+
- Tom's of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- TruBaby Water & Play Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Waxhead Sun Defense Baby Zinc Oxide Sunscreen, SPF 35
As for what to avoid, the organization found that two-thirds of the products they examined offer "inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients." These ingredients include formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor that was recently banned as a sunscreen ingredient in Hawaii) and retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin. They have a more complete list here.