Protecting your baby’s precious skin from the sun is important, and while the best advice is to avoid sun exposure completely, especially in babies under six months, it's still wise to buy the best baby sun cream for your baby's delicate skin.
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 to children, and have found the best on the market.
More related articles from Motherandbaby.co.uk
The best baby sun cream to protect babies and children
We've shortlisted some of the best sunscreens to protect your children's skin. Scroll down to find one that's right for you.
It’s worth noting, a lot of these sunscreens will not be recommended for babies under six months when they are advised to be kept out of the sun entirely.
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 others, but it rubs in well.
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 applied.
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.
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 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 it's 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 it will catch every part of your little one when they can stop moving around. It's also tear-free.
This is another good product if your concern is long lasting, high-protection for sensitive skin. Evy claims that it's also recommended by dermatologists.
FAQs about the best baby sun creams
How often should I apply baby sunscreen to my baby?
According to the NHS, babies and children should wear sunscreen between March and October in the UK. The sun protection (SPF) factor 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, so a regular adult sunscreen will not be suitable for children. Not only are these better suited to sensitive skin, they 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.
Dr Jennifer Crawley is a leading paediatric dermatologist and consultant for Childs Farm.
"UVA rays damage the tissue that provides skin with elasticity, and contributes to skin ageing, while UVB rays don’t penetrate as deeply, but can damage a cell’s DNA and cause it to become cancerous," she says. "SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures the amount of UVB protection the sunscreen offers.
"It’s important to choose a sunscreen with a high SPF – at least 30 – to ensure a good level of protection. I’d recommend involving your child in the application process so it becomes a fun task that you do together, rather than a dreaded battle."
Which baby sun cream do you use? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
Why not join thousands of mums and start your very own Amazon Baby Wish List? They're absolutely free to create and perfect to send to your family, friends, and colleagues to make sure you're getting the baby products you really need... Click here!
For parenting tips, tricks and advice you can trust, click here to download a free digital issue of Mother and Baby magazine.