Natural sunscreens for babies can help keep your child safe from harmful UV rays. It is also better for their skin, their health, and the environment!
Here is everything you need to know about non-toxic sunscreens and our picks for the best natural sunscreens for babies and kids.
Best Sellers - Most Popular All Natural Non-Toxic Sunscreens for Babies
Brands purchased the most by our readers
What is Natural Sunscreen?
Natural sunscreen, also called "physical sunscreen", uses natural ingredients to form a physical shield between your skin and the sun’s UV rays. They use mineral blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that sit on top of the skin and block the sun's rays.
Most parents prefer natural sunscreens because they don't contain harsh chemicals that can cause health problems, and they are eco-friendly.
How to Choose the Best Natural Sunscreen?
3 easy steps to choose the best natural sunscreen for babies and kids.
1. Carefully Review the Ingredient List
First, identify the ingredient list and review it carefully.
There aren’t any standards that sunscreen must meet to call itself “natural”. The FDA hasn’t set definitions or limits on this hazard.
If you aren’t careful, you can wind up paying more for sunscreen that says, "all natural", "non-toxic", "vegan", “biodegradable” or “reef-safe” when it is just marketing jargon.
2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals Such as Oxybenzone and Octinoxate
Second, avoid sunscreens that have harmful chemicals listed below.
Source: National Ocean Service
Sunscreen manufacturers include these chemicals because they are effective in blocking UV rays. However, studies have shown that they contribute to coral bleaching and can cause health problems.
3. Look for Chemical-Free or Mineral-Based Sunscreen
Third, stick to sunscreens that are chemical-free or mineral-based. These sunscreens typically have natural ingredients and are less likely to harm your baby's skin.
Look for sunscreens that use mineral blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and active ingredients such as non-nano zinc oxide. These are effective in blocking UV rays but won't harm the environment and don't absorb into your child's skin.
Additionally, look for ingredients that will soothe and hydrate your baby's skin naturally such as coconut oil, aloe, shea butter, and chamomile extract.
More importantly, dermatologists say that chemical-free or mineral-based sunscreen is better for children with sensitive skin.
Our Picks for the Best Natural Sunscreens for Babies
All of the sunscreens on our list are confirmed by the Environmental Working Group ("EWG").
1. Babo Botanicals Mineral Sunscreen
Babo Botanicals is formulated for sensitive skin. This zinc-based, mineral sunscreen is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
Customers love that they don't use any harsh chemicals or irritants. Instead, they use plant-based ingredients such as shea butter, coconut, and calendula. They also love that it is reef-friendly and good for the environment!
2. Baby Bum Fragrance Free Sunscreen
This travel-sized sunscreen is 100% mineral-based protection for your little ones. Its plant-based formula is easy to rub in and won't leave an oily residue.
It is easy to see why this is a best seller. There are tons of positive ratings from customers; see what people are saying!
3. Thinkbaby Mineral Sunscreen
This broad-spectrum sunscreen protects kids from both UVA and UVB rays. Thinkbaby is the first sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care requirements. It doesn't contain PABA, parabens, phthalates, BPA, oxybenzone, avobenzone, petroleum, gluten, dairy, or toxic chemicals.
It provides the highest water resistance per the FDA, offering babies continuous protection for up to 80 minutes.
Lastly, it is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and non-toxic.
4. Badger Baby Sunscreen
This pediatrician-tested sunscreen is water-resistant and won't leave a greasy residue on your baby's skin. It rubs in well, has a light scent, and only uses seven ingredients.
You can't go wrong with Badger! They are a family-owned, women-run B Corp established in 1995.
5. Raw Elements Zero Waste Sunscreen for Babies and Kids
This sunscreen is specifically formulated for children. It is hypoallergenic and made from natural ingredients such as chamomile, sunflower, and coconut to protect and hydrate sensitive skin.
Furthermore, the packaging is 100% plastic-free! It comes in a zero-waste tin that is recyclable and compostable.
6. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
Blue Lizard is a highly rated brand out of Australia that produces reef-friendly sunscreen. This mineral-based sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Customers love that it is paraben-free, fragrance-free, and great for babies and kids with sensitive skin.
7. Babyganics Mineral Sunscreen
Babyganics is popular with parents because it is tear-free and unscented. It is made without PABA, parabens, phthalates, nanoparticles, or synthetic fragrances.
This sunscreen goes on a bit thick and white, but reviewers say it rubs in and offers good protection when applied liberally.
8. Neutrogena Pure & Free Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Furthermore, Neutrogena is the #1 sunscreen brand used most often by dermatologists for themselves and their families. Tear-free, fragrance free, water-resistant, and broad-spectrum protection, it checks all of the boxes for a great natural sunscreen!
9. Aveeno Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen
Aveeno has also been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance and has tons of reviews on Amazon.
Specially formulated for baby's delicate skin, it contains naturally sourced, 100% zinc oxide active ingredient and skin-soothing oat, and is both sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
Aveeno offers continuous protection and is great for using on your baby's face and body. It is as mild as water and locks in moisture without stinging or irritation.
10. Coppertone Pure and Simple Baby Sunscreen
Coppertone is made with nourishing botanicals (tea leaf, sea kelp and lotus extract) and will keep your baby safe from the sun.
It is free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, parabens, dyes, and fragrance. It is easy to see why it was voted Most Trusted Sunscreen Brand by American Shoppers based on the 2021 Brandspark American Trust Study.
11. California Baby Sunscreen
California Baby is allergy tested and does not contain gluten, soy, oats, dairy, or nuts (except coconut). It is non-invasive and not absorbed into the skin, just making a protective layer on top of the skin.
Furthermore, it is gentle and soothing. The calendula extract gives your child's skin extra hydration.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if my child has a sunscreen allergy?
Natural sunscreen is likely a better option for people with sunscreen allergies, especially babies and kids. Dermatologists recommend using mineral-based sunscreen because it contains fewer chemicals.
2. What if my child has eczema?
3. Is natural sunscreen as effective as normal sunscreen?
Yes, it is just as effective. Natural sunscreen brands offer tons of SPF options (anywhere from SPF 15 – SPF 50 or more).
4. Will it rub in well?
Yes, it will. Natural or mineral-based sunscreens used to leave a “chalky cast” for people with darker skin tones, while chemical-based sunscreens did not. However, advancements have improved the texture and appearance of mineral-based sunscreen to the point where it is easier for people to use.
5. Why is it important to use natural sunscreens for babies?
70% of sunscreens on the U.S. market contain harsh chemicals, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals can cause cancer and hormonal issues. They also damage the earth's coral reefs.
Furthermore, some popular vacation destinations, such as Cozumel, Mexico, have banned chemical sunscreens through federal regulations and only allow biodegradable or mineral sunscreens.
6. How do chemicals in sunscreen cause health problems?
Studies show that chemicals in sunscreen are harmful, especially to children. A lot of them are carcinogens that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, and other health problems.
7. How does sunscreen hurt the environment?
Sunscreen rinses off our skin while in the water or after showering. It enters the ecosystem and acts like an oil or pollutant, covering coral reefs and essentially suffocating them. This is called "coral bleaching".
8. What is coral bleaching?
Coral bleaching is when algae leaves the coral's tissue due to pollution. The algae is the coral's main source of food. Without it, the coral gets sick and turns white.
A well-known study found that 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the ocean and impact coral reefs every year.
9. Why are coral reefs important? Why is coral bleaching a problem?
Coral reefs are important to our environment and economy. They protect coastlines from storms and erosion, house fish and other wildlife, and support our local economy through tourism.
Additionally, coral reefs are important in the development of new medicines to treat cancer, arthritis, and other diseases.
10. How does my sunscreen damage coral reefs if I don't go into the ocean?
The harmful chemicals in sunscreen can still reach the ocean even if you aren't at the beach. When you shower, all the sunscreen on your skin rinses off and goes down the drain, eventually reaching our rivers and oceans. You can read more about it here.
11. What is the Environmental Working Group (EWG)?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping consumers live healthy lifestyles.
12. What else can I do to protect my baby from the sun's harmful rays?
Experts recommend using sun-protective clothing like sun hats and swim shirts. Extra layers from sun-protective clothing are one of the most effective ways to protect your child.
Similarly, parents should monitor time spent in direct sunlight and stay in the shade as much as possible. Consult your child's pediatrician to develop a sun-protection plan if your child has sensitive skin.
13. What does SPF stand for? How much should I use for my child?
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”. The EWG recommends choosing sunscreens within the SPF 15–50 range that offers broad-spectrum protection.
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