Choosing a Safe Sunscreen for Your Kids is Hard; Here are Some Suggestions

Six years ago, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM). JDM can be exacerbated by the sun so we became much more diligent about sunscreen. It’s not easy to escape the sun in south Louisiana but there are options to help lessen the effects. I’m the type of girl who loves products & shopping for products so we’ve tried many different things.

Different Types of Sunscreen

I learned there are two major types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens use chemicals that soak into the skin and block UV radiation. These include benzophenones (oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, dioxybenzone), menthyl anthranilate, and avobenzone. Physical sunscreens use ingredients that are blockers or barriers on the skin. These ingredients include zinc and titanium dioxide. This sunscreen sits on top of the skin and is not absorbed. It’s up to you to decide which you prefer for your family.

Our Favorite Beach Sunscreen for Kids

Our hands down favorite for the beach or any prolonged sun exposure is ThinkBaby/ThinkSport. It’s the same stuff no matter which name. It’s non toxic, free of PABA, parabens, & nano particles. This stuff does go on white but that goes away. When applying to Daisy’s body for a day at the beach, I appreciate the white as it helps me cover every inch of her. She has been on the beach several times for hours at a time (she loves digging in the sand) and not even had a tan line. We also have really loved everything from Sun Bum.

Editor’s Note: If you need more tips on taking your little one to the beach, please check out our post on taking baby to the beach!

Our Favorite Everyday

If you want something that blends in better to the skin, we’ve had great luck with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer. I asked other moms of JDM kiddos which sunscreen their families love and that one was an overall favorite. Moms report it goes on without leaving a greasy or white residue. We also love colorscience Sunforgettable Brush On Sunscreen SPF 30. Now that Daisy is older, the ease of this one is unbeatable (expensive though).

Other Good Sun-Blocking Options

Other options we use to help block UV are hats/shirts from Sunday Afternoon. We make Daisy wear her hat when she’s on the playground at school and it really helps. She also wears long sleeve swim suit tops and shorts from Lands End. They fit well & keep her well protected. She doesn’t complain about them being uncomfortable or hot.

A Few Other Tips

It’s important to note that sunscreen has expiration dates that must be followed for it to be effective. Also, be sure to use enough sunscreen every time you apply (& reapply & reapply). There are a ton of options when it comes to sun screen and keeping kids safe from the sun, and there’s nothing worse than wasting a bunch of money on a product that doesn’t really work for you. I’d love it if other people shared their favorites and why they liked them so much.

choosing a safe sunscreen
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7 Comments on "Choosing a Safe Sunscreen for Your Kids is Hard; Here are Some Suggestions"

  1. Super helpful article….. thanks for saving me tons of time researching! I will definitely be trying the products you mentioned.

  2. Thanks for the swim suit link! I have a red head and have been looking for a suit with good coverage to protect her ultra fair skin! Bonus, there’s a sale going on right now!

  3. Great info! One thing to add. Make sure whatever sunscreen you choose it’s labeled “Broad Spectrum” (our sunscreens are an example and I believe the ones mentioned in the article are as well). Only sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays are allowed to be labeled as such by the US Food and Drug Administration. It’s important to get the full protection as both types of UV rays cause skin damage.

  4. Great article! also offers a safe, wonderful, toxic-free sunscreen at an affordable price, way cheaper than others sold in stores (especially with their preferred customer discount)!! 😉

  5. Thanks for the helpful information! I have always hated sunscreen! I had to fight my parents about it growing up.. And I still honestly don’t use it like I should. However I am protective in other ways… I wear sun shirts… Hats and always carry an umbrella. From airshows to market days I am walking around with an umbrella…. Haven’t had a sunburn in at least 5 years … Even without sunscreen… That’s how much I avoid the sun! However now that I have a little one I want to be able to hold him and enjoy being outside with him more …so sunscreen is a must. I think I’m going to try the honest company sunscreen and really going to see how the physical ones work because sunscreen has always itched and made my skin rash worse… Never knew there was a difference!

  6. Thanks for information , reall y informative article . We use Honest sunscreen and it works great on all my kiddos even one with sensitive skin .

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