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Best sunscreen for kids

Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under the age of 6 months, so it’s best to keep infants out of the sun or place them in protective clothing when they go outside.
Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under the age of 6 months, so it’s best to keep infants out of the sun or place them in protective clothing when they go outside. (BestReviews)

Sunscreen for kids

No matter how old you are, sun safety is important. It’s especially crucial for babies and children, though, because their skin is so delicate. Unfortunately, the very thing used to protect kids from damaging UV rays — sunscreen — can also irritate their sensitive skin. It can cause eyes to sting and tear, too.

That doesn’t mean you should skip sunscreen for your children, though. You just have to be careful to choose a formula that’s gentle enough for their skin. Kids usually aren’t big fans of sunscreen applications either, so it helps to use sunscreen that’s quick and easy to apply without too much squirming.

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Looking for a great sunscreen to apply before your children hit the beach or pool? Keep reading for our list of the best sunscreens for kids that can protect your little ones from burns and other damage without any irritation.

What to look for in sunscreen for kids

When it comes to sunscreen for kids — and even adults with sensitive skin — mineral-based formulas are always the best bet. They’re gentler on the skin because they physically block the sun’s UV rays with minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of absorbing them with chemicals. Mineral sunscreens are better for the environment, too.

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In terms of formula, sprays are typically the easiest to apply to an uncooperative kid. You have to apply them carefully to ensure adequate protection, though. Lotions can be messy and time-consuming to apply, but they’re usually the easiest to apply correctly. Stick sunscreens don’t make as much mess, though you need as many as four swipes over each area for full coverage.

Sunscreen for kids should also be water-resistant so you know your kids are protected even when they’re splashing in the pool or the waves at the beach. You can also find sunscreens that are tear-free, so you don’t have to worry about your little one’s eyes stinging too much.

Best sunscreens for kids 2021

Aveeno Kids Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50: Available at Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

With 100% naturally sourced zinc oxide, this tear-free, mineral-based sunscreen won’t irritate your kids’ sensitive skin. It contains oatmeal to help soothe the skin and can be used on the face and body. It’s also water-resistant for 80 minutes and doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates or fragrances that might trigger a reaction.

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Bob Kids Brush-On Mineral Powder Sunscreen: Available at Amazon

If you’re tired of fighting with your kids during sunscreen application, this unique mineral-based powder sunscreen may be the formula for you. It even features a built-in brush for quick and easy application. It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is reef-friendly. The formula is also hypoallergenic, vegan and paraben free.

Babyganics SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion: Available at Amazon

Formulated for even the youngest children, this nonallergenic sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays that won’t irritate delicate skin. It’s pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested and doesn’t contain any parabens, sulfates, phthalates or fragrances. The formula is cruelty-free, too.

Baby Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Stick: Available at Amazon 

This convenient stick sunscreen makes applying sun protection to your kids’ faces much easier. It’s 100% mineral-based and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue. The formula contains zinc oxide, shea butter, coconut oil and cocoa butter to soothe and moisturize the skin and is reef-friendly for use in saltwater and other natural bodies of water.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo Kids Gentle Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60: Available at  Ulta, Amazon and Lovely Skin

This pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested sunscreen is non-comedogenic and free of fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dyes and aluminum, so it won’t irritate your children’s delicate skin. It also contains antioxidants, including vitamin E, to leave the skin soft and smooth and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Badger Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30: Available at  Amazon

This non-GMO, gluten-free, mineral-based sunscreen is packed with organic ingredients that help soothe the skin, including sunflower oil, beeswax and chamomile. It’s naturally water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes and features a light natural scent. This formula is eco-friendly and biodegradable.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+: Available at Buy Buy Baby

Free of parabens, fragrances and common chemical sunscreens oxybenzone and octinoxate, this sunscreen is gentle enough for kids’ sensitive skin. The zinc-based formula offers broad-spectrum protection and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. Its bottle also features a unique technology that turns pink when exposed to UV light, so you’ll remember it’s time for your kids to reapply.

Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Spray: Available at Amazon

A convenient spray sunscreen, this formula doesn’t contain any octinoxate or oxybenzone, two of the most common chemical sunscreen ingredients that cause skin irritation. It’s also alcohol, tear and sting-free, so you don’t have to worry about irritating little eyes. It provides broad-spectrum protection, is water-resistant for more than an hour and is reef-friendly.

Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Zinc Fragrance-Free Sunscreen Lotion: Available Skin Store

This gentle mineral sunscreen doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue or white cast, so kids usually don’t complain about wearing it. It’s also fragrance, soy- and gluten-free and won’t cause irritation. It’s water- and sweat-resistant, too.

Coppertone Pure and Simple Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50: Available at Amazon

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There's a good reason that this sunscreen is recommended by pediatricians — the formula uses minerals to block UV rays and is free of fragrance, dyes and other chemicals. It won’t cause tearing or stinging eyes either and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

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All Good Baby and Kids Mineral Sunscreen Butter Stick: Available at Amazon

This easy-to-use stick sunscreen contains organic chamomile to help soothe the skin, while nano zinc oxide provides UVA protection. The buttery texture allows it to glide on easily and is suitable for the face and body. It also features a hydrating coconut oil base, which helps create a powerful sun and wind barrier.

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen: Available at Amazon

A water-resistant sunscreen, this spray is designed to be applied to wet skin, so you don’t have to dry your kids off before reapplying. It’s hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and PABA-free. It also provides highly effective broad-spectrum protection for even the most active children.

Thinksport Kids SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen: Available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

This broad-spectrum sunscreen is mineral-based, using zinc oxide to physically block UVA and UVB rays from the sun. It’s dermatologist tested and offers up to 80 minutes of water resistance, too. It doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue, either.

Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen Spray SPF 50: Available at Amazon

This spray sunscreen features a natural tropical fruit scent that many kids enjoy. It features a variety of botanical ingredients and boasts a cruelty-free, vegetarian formula. It’s earned a recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation and is free of parabens, gluten, oxybenzone and octinoxate.

CeraVe Sunscreen Stick: Available at Amazon

Containing essential ceramides that help restore the skin’s natural barrier, this stick sunscreen can help protect kids’ sensitive skin. It dries to a clear finish and doesn’t contain any oil to clog the pores. Kids can wear it in the water for up to 40 minutes.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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