Safe Sunscreen Guide for Kids + Babies

While most of us are aware of the need for sunscreen while in the sun, what's less widely known is that sunscreen needs to be safe and non-toxic - especially on kids and babies. Conventional sunscreens use chemical SPFs to filter out UVA and UVB rays, but all of these chemical SPFs are highly toxic and get absorbed through the skin. Children are at even great risk of this exposure, as their skin more easily absorbs products and their smaller, growing bodies are more impacted by toxins. So how to keep your little ones safe from the sun and chemicals? Below, an easy guide for shopping with confidence plus a list of my favorite sunscreens.

Sunscreen Shopping Tutorial

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  1. Avoid chemical sunscreens: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These are chemical filters, many of which are hormone disruptors, skin allergens, possible carcinogens, and harmful to oceans and aquatic life. They will be listed on an ingredient label under "active ingredients," so check the packaging and steer clear. 
  2. Choose mineral sunscreens: non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are physical blockers that literally create a barrier between UVA and UVB rays and skin. Look for these in the "active ingredients" list.
  3. Avoid anything with the word "fragrance" or "parfum" on an ingredient label, unless it says it's comprised only of essential oils. This is an all-encompassing term protected under trade secret laws that can contain hundreds to thousands of toxic ingredients. Unscented does not necessarily mean free of chemical fragrance, so beware. 
  4. Avoid methylisothiazolinone, a chemical preservative found in most sunscreens and a skin sensitizer and allergen. Look for it on the "inactive ingredients" list.
  5. Choose lotions and sticks over sprays. While easy to apply, aerosol sprays are easily inhaled and dangerous to us and the environment. A few mineral sunscreen brands now make  sprays with air-powered pumps, which is much safer.

Favorite Sunscreens

  1. Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 and Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 (air-powered)
  2. Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 - Fragrance Free and Clear Zinc Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 - Fragrance Free
  3. Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream SPF 30 and Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
  4. Goddess Garden Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion and Baby Natural Sunscreen