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There are ZILLIONS of infant sunscreen options out there for you to choose from.
And choose you must, my friend, because the American Skin Cancer Foundation says that a single sunburn can double a child’s chances of getting skin cancer later in life.
I’m not a fan of those odds. Know what else I’m not a fan of?
Seeing my kid’s swimsuit line in JANUARY because she spent most of the summer looking like a ripe tomato.
Which is why we have sunscreen in the first place, right? If we’re all going to skip around the beach half-naked, it makes sense that we should slather something over the dermis layer.
And by “something” I definitely mean not butter.
Do you really want your baby looking like Kramer? Because if you’re not using sunscreen, he’s going to. (Even if you avoid the butter.)
I didn’t think so.
But here’s the catch. Not all infant sunscreens are created equal, and trying to determine the “safe ingredients” from the “give us cancer ingredients” can give you headaches. (Have you ever tried reading those labels? #nightmare)
Not to worry, friend. That’s what this article is here. It’s the ace up your sleeve.
6 Words You WANT to See
On Your Infant Sunscreen Label
Firstly, I should start out with an apology. I’m about to mislabel something.
Technically, the items I’m sharing here would be considered sunblock and not sunscreen. (Something I learned in this really helpful summer skin article here.)
Sunblock is something that sits on your skin, blocking it from the sun’s rays. Sunscreen is something that is absorbed into your skin, like sand going through a screen.
Those are the technical “correct” terms to use with these things…but frankly I don’t know anyone this side of the Atlantic who is going to say “I need to get some baby sunblock!” so I’m going to be a poor educational example and incorrectly use term “sunscreen” instead.
Don’t sue me. I’m a victim to cultural colloquialisms.
The Magical Phrases You’re Searching For
Here’s a short list of the keywords and phrases you want to see on your kid-friendly sunscreen. Don’t panic if you don’t see them all, just shoot for most. (You can get all this on a free label cheat sheet here!)
- Broad-Spectrum ~ This means it covers UVA and UVB rays.
- For Infants / For Kids ~ Children have less melanin in their skin than adults, so they need more protection than we do.
- SPF 30+ ~ The higher the SPF, the more sun protection the sunscreen has. Do a search for “Today’s UV Index” to find out how much protection you need on any given day.
- PABA-Free ~ the old fashioned PABA formulas have been linked to skin irritation. If you can’t find that phrase on the bottle, look on the ingredients list. Aminobenzoic acid is PABA, so do a happy dance if it’s NOT printed there.
- Expiration date… ~ Yes, a safe infant sunscreen will have an expiration date listed. The sunscreen you purchased when your oldest was in diapers? TOSS IT. (Me? …a hoarder? Never!)
- Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mexoyrl SX, or Avobenzone ~ These are active ingredients the FDA recommends for a safe infant sunscreen.
Just so you’re aware, these infant sunscreens are going to feel a little different than perhaps what you’re used to. The active ingredients (zinc oxide, etc.) sits on the skin, rather than getting absorbed into it. This can confuse first-time users, who are expecting it to magically disappear.
…With My Little Eye…
3 Phrases You DON’T Want to See
on Your Infant Sunscreen Label
Here are the things you DON’T want to see on your baby’s sunscreen label.
- SPF 70 ~ Studies haven’t shown that any product over SPF 60 is effective at blocking rays. In some cases, it could backfire, giving parents a false sense of assurance.
- Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) ~ laboratory tests have linked this to skin tumors and cancer.
- Oxybenzone ~ disrupts hormones and can trigger skin allergies.
These are no-no’s on ANY sunscreen, honestly, but definitely something you want to avoid using on your kids!
Heather’s Top Infant Sunscreen Picks
I hear your brain working…albeit a little slower than usual. (You’re tired, I get it!)
Sure, I’ve given you a sunscreen label cheat sheet, but sometimes it’s easier to just have someone TELL YOU which infant sunscreens have the “right stuff”, you know? Take one more thing off your to do list.
Fortunately for you, the friendly folks at iHerb.com let me do a little “sunscreen shopping” and pick out a few things to try out over the weekend on my kids (and my baby nieces and nephews)
Here’s what they kindly sent over:
I’m going to talk about those aloe vera products in a second, but I first want to draw your eye over to those four infant sunscreens. Let me lay out what I like about each one.
Kiss My Face Sun Spray Lotion
I think the spray on this is AMAZING. It’s not the typical crap-spray that comes out of the can (and promptly blows away before it touches the skin). It has some depth that helps it stick. I used it pretty much all weekend.
I’ve used ThinkBaby on my kids for years (even past the “baby” stage), so I knew it was going to be winner. It does leave a white-residue, but I’m cool with that because it’s my indicator that I need to give Bella another round. (She burns unbelievably fast if I’m not watching. Must be those Irish genes!)
Acure Organics Sun Stick
Every parent can attest that the worst part of putting sunscreen on our wiggly squirmy kids is the face. I don’t know who came up with the concept of the sun stick, but I know I’ve put at least one of their kids through college. I keep an extra one of these in my purse, it hides perfectly in one of the pockets.
BabyGanics Sunscreen Spray
BabyGanics is well-known for their commitment to baby- and eco-friendly products. This spray has a stronger SPF than the others. It doesn’t have my favorite pump (that goes to Kiss My Face), but it’s definitely a great option if your baby loves splashing around in the water, because it is water-resistant.
Why You Need Aloe Vera
in Your Medicine Cabinet
I realize it may seem a little random to be suddenly talking about aloe vera in an article about infant sunscreen…but bear with me. They actually are related.
At some time, you’re going to head home after a day out and about, and realize with horror that some portion of your child’s skin was missed in the application process and raw, red skin is starting to flame up.
Firstly, don’t beat yourself up too badly. We’ve all been there.
Secondly, pull out the aloe vera soothing gel from your medicine cabinet (which will be there because you’re reading this). Here’s why…
- It feels amazing. It’s instantly soothing. (Talking from experience here, people.)
- The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends using it for sunburns.
- iHerb has it for super cheap: $7.20
- Use this aloe vera cleanser during bath time (avoid the eyes!) to avoid irritating the skin any further and help speed the healing process along.
Trust me, this is something that you don’t realize how desperately you need it until you REALLY NEED IT. Pick it up now and thank yourself later.
Where to Find
iHerb carries largest and most affordable collection of organic and natural sunscreen solutions, for sure. Their website is easy to navigate and find EXACTLY what you’re looking for, without getting distracted, picking up novelty socks for your aunt for Christmas, but still managing to FORGET the sunscreen you need for the weekend?
- They have over 35,000 natural and organic products to choose from. This volume allows them to have prices 30-40% cheaper than anywhere else. (Volume. It helps!)
- I got my order super fast, within just a few days. This is good news, because I had a “beach event” on the weekend, and not a single sunscreen in the house.
- iHerb is a Google Trusted Store and their customer service team provides 24/7 support in 10 different languages.
- Not in the USA? Nein problemo! iHerb ships to over 160 countries.
They are also currently offering a $5.00 discount for new customers to give them a try. Click here to have this discount automatically added to your order. (Yes, it’s bribery, and it totally works. At least on me. I’ll take that latte money, yessirrebob!)
Go Forth and Sun in Confidence
How are you feeling about your sun adventures, then? More confident?
Let’s go through a little checklist to see how prepared you are to protect your child from the evils of Sinister Sun:
- You know how to read the infant sunscreen labels. (Not 100% sure about this one? No prob, Bob. Just use this free printable.)
- You’ve stocked up on a good spray infant sunscreen, a sun stick, and a lotion.
- You’ve got an aloe vera soothing gel on the way for any sunburn whoopsies.
Looks like you’re all set! All you need now is to remember to bring them to the beach… 🙂
Have you used any of these infant sunscreens before? What did you think of them?
Have You Read These Yet?
- How the Seasons Can Ruin Your Baby’s Soft Skin (and How to Fight Back)
- Everything a New Warrior Mama Needs to Know About Baby Care
- The Most Adorable Infant Swimsuits You’ll See All Year
- How to Take Your Kids to the Beach (and Actually Enjoy Yourself!)
- 10 Awesome Family Beach Games That Will Fit in Your Beach Bag
- 21 Spectacular Toddler Swimsuits Sure to Make a Splash
This post was sponsored by iHerb who gave me several different sunscreens and products to try as well as compensation for my time to write this article. All the opinions shared here are my own, though, because I’m stubborn and don’t like being told what to do.
Heather is the Chief Encouragement Officer here at MightyMoms.club and has been writing and encouraging parents online since 2007. She’s a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, has been a featured parenting expert writer on blogs like DaveRamsey.com, SimpleKids.net, Cafe Mom, and others. If it’s 2am and you’re desperate to read SOMETHING, check out her deepest darkest secrets, including why she really shouldn’t be allowed to blog.