Protecting your little one’s precious skin from the sun is important, and whilst the best advice is to avoid sun exposure completely, especially in babies under six months, this is not always practical.
A baby’s skin has hardly any melanin, which is the pigment that helps protect from the Sun’s rays, so if your little one is in direct sunlight, keep them covered so the rays don’t hit the skin directly.
Older babies and toddlers can enjoy playing in the sun if they are protected with a high-factor sunscreen. We’ve got everything you need to know about applying sunscreen/sun cream, and the best ones on the market. Once you know which products are for your little one, staying safe in the sun is stress-free.
Both UVA and UVB rays can damage a baby’s delicate skin. If your baby is younger than 6 months it is really important to keep them away from direct sunlight whenever you can. After 6 months, your baby needs at least 15 SPF protection, and higher protection is better. Between 11 am and 3 pm, keep your little one under shades as these times are the hottest. We have more information about how to keep your baby safe during hot weathers with sun exposure.
Best sunscreens for babies and children
Green People Organic Children Lotion SPF30
This sunscreen from Green People is a natural sun lotion suitable for children with sensitive skin, or those prone to prickly heat. Offering 97% UVB protection (the rays that cause burning) and high protection against UVA and UVB rays. It’s made from 78% organic ingredients including Aloe Vera, beeswax and avocado, sunflower and olive oil and it’s gentle on eczema and psoriasis. It’s thicker than some other products on this list, but it rubs in well.
Child’s Farm 50+SPF Sun Cream Fragrance Free
With an SPF of 66.8, this water-resistant sun cream from Child’s Farm offers brilliant UVA and UVB protection. It’s water resistant and dermatologist approved for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, in fact, Mums rave about how gentle it is on their eczema-prone babies, who often react to other branded creams. It’s quite thick so only use a small amount when applying. Suitable for babies and children older than six months.
Banana Boat Mini Kids Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50
With an SPF of 50, this little tube is a great one to have in the baby bag when out and about. It’s suitable for the whole family, whilst being hypoallergenic, water-resistant and fragrance-free, meaning it’s suitable for babies too. Unlike some other sunscreens on this list, this one is more of a milky consistency, meaning it’s not as thick and sticky on the skin – a good choice if you’ve got a fussy toddler who hates having it put on.
Bepanthen Baby Sunscreen/Suncream SPF 50
It’s small enough to fit in your baby bag and has a high enough protection to ease any worries that your little ones might be getting burnt. It’s been developed with extra sensitive skin in mind and is water resistant. It’s thick and creamy and a few mums reported on the sunscreen being good for eczema-prone babies.
Nivea Sun Baby 50+ Moisturising Lotion
Suitable for babies from three months, this protective sunscreen has an SPF protection of 50+ and a UVA protection of four stars. The sunscreen is easy to rub in and absorb and washes off your child’s skin easily. It also doesn’t feel overly greasy on the skin, which is good for fussy ones who hate the feel of sunscreen.
A once-a-day sunscreen, P20 has a five star UVA protection and factor 30 SPF. It’s a good choice for school-aged children, or little ones who hate having sunscreen put on and its water resistant and quick drying. It’s got more of an oily texture than most of the creams on this list, and it’s very quick and easy to apply with the spray action. It can stain, however, as it is a yellowish colour, so avoid dressing your little one in white clothing after applying.
SunSense Kids Roll on with SPF50
When your little ones are school age, it’s a good idea to send them to school with a sunscreen they can re-apply at lunchtime, to ensure they are protected throughout the day. Most little ones will find a roll-on easier to apply on their own and this SPF 50 stick from SunSense is easily absorbed, pediatrician-tested and extra water resistant.
Garnier Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Anti-Sand Sun Cream Spray SPF50
This clever sand resistant formula is non-sticky and easily absorbed to avoid that sticky feeling. It’s water resistant and has a high SPF factor. It’s also a great choice for fussy babies, as it’s quick and easy to apply with the continuous, any angle spray. It’s also a good one for school-aged children to apply to themselves thanks to the mist spray application.
UltraSun SPF50 Extreme Sun Lotion Once a Day
Another one-a-day sunscreen, UltraSun’s Extreme lotion only requires one application in the morning, although reapplication is recommended for complete protection. A good option for tots who hate having sunscreen applied, it’s got a thick consistency and an easy to use pump dispenser. It can take a while to rub into the skin, but it’s worth it for the long protection.
Organic children Sun lotion - SPF 30
Green Peoples Children's Lotion is the best option if your little one has sensitive skin or eczema. This is a totally organic product and offers 97% of UVB protection.
Uvistat Kids Sun Care Lipscreen SPF 50
Your baby’s lips are often forgotten when you apply sun protection, but they are as sensitive as any other part of the skin. So, if you are also concerned about your baby’s lips, add this sun care lipscreen to your bag.
Soltan Kids Anti-sand protection Suncare Spray SPF 50+
When managing to apply a sun cream one big issue is its stickiness and residues. Thinking about these, Soltan Kids made the perfect product for you and your baby. This is a quick-drying sun care product that will keep the mess away from your baby.
Incognito Skin Suncream Insect Repellent
This is a product with a triple action working as sun cream, insect repellent, and moisturiser. It was launched in 2017 bringing a natural and organic formula. In addition, this sun care product is incredibly hydrating.
Banana Boat Kids UltraMist Clear Spray Sun Protection SPF 50
A super spray that will make your life so much easier that you won’t want anything else, as it can work from any direction making sure that will catch every part of your little one when they can stop moving around. It's also tear-free.
Evy Technology Sunscreen Mousse SPF 50
This is another good product if your concern is long lasting e high-protection for sensitive skin. Evy claims that it's also recommended by dermatologists.
FAQs about the best babies and children sunscreens/sun creams
Are babies and children sunscreens/sun creams safe? Can sunscreen cause cancer?
Yes, if you are using a good quality one, you can trust 100% in the effectiveness. The Skin Cancer Foundation affirms that sunscreen protects your and your baby skin from skin cancer, so if you are using a good quality one, you don’t need to worry about getting cancer from the product.
Can sunscreen prevent heat rash?
The best way to prevent heat rash is making sure you are using one of the best sun creams listed above. Also, if your little one has really sensitive skin, you will need to avoid direct sun exposition, but remember that every baby needs some daily sunbath.
Does sunscreen have an expiration date?
If you are worried about your sunscreen going out of date, that is a good concern to have. Every beauty product has an expiration date. Check the information on the bottle and don’t use for more than one year, replacing for a new one.
How to clean sunscreen from clothes?
You need to use a laundry detergent that’s designed to cut through oils and grease. Your baby clothes can get dirtier when your baby is wearing sun cream because most of them contain oils to help moisturise the skin and replace moisture that’s been lost through sun exposure.
How often should I apply sunscreen to my baby?
According to the NHS, babies and children should wear sunscreen between March and October in the UK. The sun protection factor (SPF) should never be any lower than 25, and preferably 50. During the summer months, it should be reapplied every few hours, especially after swimming. If you are going to be in and out of the pool, look for a waterproof sunscreen with a four-star UVA rating.
Can I use one sunscreen for the entire family?
You’ll need to choose a sunscreen specially formulated for babies and toddlers. Not only are these better suited to sensitive skin, but they also work in a different way. Conventional sunblocks will use chemicals to absorb and dissipate the sun’s rays, whereas children’s sunscreens will often use minerals to create a physical barrier from the sun.
What hours should I keep my children out of the sun?
Of course, it’s not always possible, especially when they are at school or nursery, but the sun is hottest at midday. If your children are outside, ensure they are properly protected during this time.
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