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10 Best Natural Sunscreens For Kids (And Baby Safe)

Sun exposure is great and has health benefits, but too much too fast can be problematic. Therefore, using the best natural suncreen for kids and babies is important. You want to avoid harmful chemical sunscreens but provide ample protection from the sun's rays when your child's skin has had enough exposure.

natural sunscreen for kids

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As a family that has very fair skin, I have had to take precautions throughout the years to protect my children's skin as well as mine. I am an advocate of getting out into the sunshine because our body needs it to make vitamin D3.

But at the same time, sun damage can occur if we allow our skin to soak in the sun's rays for too long of a period of time at once. Additionally, the sun's uv rays are stronger certain times of the day.

Using natural sunscreens have allowed us to still get a healthy dose of sun while avoiding all of the harmful chemicals. This is especially important for our kid's and baby's skin.

This post goes over the best sunscreen options for kids and babies that contain natural ingredients that are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Safer Sunscreen Ingredients To Look For

Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide is a non-penetrating sunscreen that reflects the sun from the surface of the skin. By doing this it blocks the body from the sun's rays. This offers the skin protection from the sun without harmful ingredients soaking into the body.

This sunscreen ingredient also works against both UVA rays and UVB rays. The active ingredients in a broad spectrum sunscreen need to protect against both of these types of rays. This is how the sunscreen best protects the skin from sunburn and from skin damage.

UVA vs UVB Rays

UVB are shorter rays and UVA are longer rays. What this means is that UVB rays focus on the outer layer of skin which cause the surface of the skin to burn. People usually thinks of protecting the skin from burning when applying sunscreen.

UVA rays on the other hand also need to be considered because these rays penetrate several layers of the skin. The UVB rays cause long-term damage to the skin such as wrinkles and can also trigger cancer cells. 

Although both rays need to be blocked, the sun should not be thought of as the enemy. The skin does need sunlight and a certain amount of sun is helpful for the production of vitamin D. A healthy balance should be sought out.

However, since kids' and babies' skins are extra sensitive, it is important that the skin is aptly protected. Using natural mineral sunscreens along with the correct protective clothing will help to accomplish this.

Lastly, Zinc oxide does not cause negative skin reactions or irritate pre-existing skin conditons. Conventional sunscreen filled with toxic chemicals are known to cause skin irritations. These types of sunscreens also put you at a higher risk for potentially getting skin cancer.

Nano Zinc Oxide vs. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Nano zinc oxide

  • Contains smaller particles
  • Absorbs the sun's rays and scatter them away from the body 
  • Is not as heavy of an ingredient
  • Does not leave a white or tinted coating on the surface of the skin
  • There is concern of nano zinc oxide soaking into the cells of the body (the health risks for this are still being studied)


  • Contains larger particles. 
  • Reflects the sun's rays away from the body.
  • Tends to be heavier and needs to be rubbed in better (may leave a whiter appearance)
  • Particles stay on the surface of the skin instead of soaking into the skin
  • Although this form tends to be whiter in appearance, new non nano zinc formulas are being developed to combat the white cast appearance on the skin making the appearance clearer 

Titanium Dioxide

A second safer ingredient to look for when choosing a sunscreen for protecting your child's skin is titanium dioxide. This ingredient has a lower penetration rate, therefore, the skin has a lesser chance of absorbing it.

However, titanium dioxide can cause respiratory concerns if ingested. Therefore, products containing titanium doxide  in a spray or in powder form should be used with caution. Additonally, although studies have shown that it does not penetrate into the skin causing health issues, some are skeptical and still left questioning if this is always the case.

After the titanium dioxide absorbs the sun, a chemical reaction takes place which causes free radicals. Free radicals cause harm to the body's cells.

Titanium dioxide has been safely coated to prohibit this problem from occuring when used in skincare products. Also, the coating has additional benefits such as decreasing a white residue from forming and enhancing protection from the sun.

Ingredients To Avoid

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate 
  • Homosalate 
  • Octocrylene 
  • Avobenzone 
  • Vitamin A Additives - (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acitate, retinyl linoleate, retinol)
  • Benzophenone
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate   
  • Parabens
  • Fragrance
  • Para-aminobenzoic
  • Benzylidene Camphor
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Phthalates
  • These chemicals are toxic to the body and should be avoided. Studies have shown these harmful ingredients to penetrate the skin and pose health risks from hormone disruption and rashes, to skin damage and cancer. The information is alarming!

    Oxybenzone and octinoxate alone have been linked to endocrine and reproductive issues, kidney function, and thyroid problems. Hawaii and Key West banned the use of these ingredients due to the harm they cause to the oceanlife.

    You will see a lot of natural sunscreens label the sunscreen saying no oxybenzone right on the bottle. This is great news, but there are more chemicals than just this one to be aware of.

    The safest sunscreen that you can use is one that uses a mineral formula with non nano zinc oxide or non nano titanium dioxide. The titanium dioxide formula should be in lotion, cream, or stick formation only.

    10 Best Natural Sunscreens For kids and Babies

    There are quite a few sunscreens out there that are a good option in terms of a better sunscreen than the sunscreens on the market containing harsh chemicals. However, we should aim for higher standards than even that when it comes to out kids.

    Therefore, I have narrowed the list down even further to include only the sunscreens that are safest for our child's skin and strong enough for the whole family. There is something for a variety of needs.

    Babo is obviously high on my list, and I consider it the best option. Therefore, I have included several that are specifically best to use with kids and babies that are Babo products. There are some that did not make the list due to ease of use, application process, and so on. 

    All of the sunscreens below contain Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. One of them on the list includes both Titanium dioxide and Non-Nano Zinc. That Sunscreen is referenced as such


    All of Babo Botanicals' products are EWG (Environmental Working Group) certified. They also are fragrance-free making them suitable for those individuals sensitive to chemicals. Lastly, their zinc is the non-nano form making it broad spectrum yet safe to use. This applies to all of the products below from Babo Botanicals.

    Babo's Sensitive Baby lotion has a SPF of 50. This sunscreen is suitable for all ages and water resistant. You will just have to reapply the sunscreen according to the manufacturer's instructions on the tube.

    • created with non-nano zinc oxide and sunflower oil
    • Organic herbal blend is infused into the product for better skin protection

    Sunscreen sticks are wonderful to use on kids. The face is a difficult area to apply sunscreen to. The mineral stick makes it so much easier for even young children to apply it by themselves (or maybe with assistance). This helps eyes to be avoided and therefore less fits to be thrown.

    The size of the stick also makes it handy for keeping it on hand in several places - (the car, pocket book). The product gets rave reviews for going on smoothly and working well.

    Who does not love the convenience of a sunscreen spray? I know my family does for sure! We do not usually use the baby formula but instead the regular sunscreen Babo formula that is SPF 30 instead of SPF 50, but this is our go-to sunscreen on vacation. It is lightweight and sprays on nicely.

    The coverage is great as well. The baby spray has a stronger SPF which makes it ever so slightly stronger of coverage over the SPF 30 we use. There is no white residue left after spraying it on either. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

    This sunscreen is in balm form. The gentle formula is still great for kids yet can withstand a little bit more play and action. Bentonite clay is used for ruggedness and oils such as jojoba and passion fruit are added for soothing and moisturizing benefits. This is a great alternative that can fit nicely into a backpack or even a larger pocket.

    This sunscreen is rated certified EWG on the Environmental Working Group's website, however, the bottle says it is rated as a #1. The rating change may have been to further and more detailed research of the product's ingredients.

    The sunscreen recently updated its look as well. Addtionally, shaking the tube prior to application is suggested to obtain a smoother and creamier sunscreen. We have used this sunscreen and it goes on rather thick at first but rubs in clear.

    This sunscreen is a nice and effective lotion sunscreen that is resistant to sweat and water and reef safe.

    Earth Mama's Uber-Sensitive Sunscreen is great for kids and babies and those with sensitive skin conditions. It is sunscreen lotion designed for problems with eczema. Due to kids' and babies' sensitive skin types, some may want to use a sunscreen specifically formulated for skin problems in mind. 

    This sunscreen is rated a EWG #1. The ingredient to be aware of in this sunscreen is rice bran oil due to rice's pesticide and arsenic levels. However, Earth Mama uses organic rice bran oil eliminating the fear of pesticide use. This is something to consider if it still bothers you.

    The families give the sunscreen rave reviews regarding the way the skin reacts to the sunscreen and its effectiveness. 

    Another eczema safe sunscreen is this sunscreen from the company TruKid. Aloe vera, jojoba oil, and sunflower oil are used to provide moisture while nano zinc is the active ingredient providing skin protecting power.

    Like the other sun protection products on the list, the company is PETA certified, Reef-friendly, a non-nano formula, and they use safe and sustainable practices regarding packaging and creation. Additionally, this unscented sunscreen receives the highest rating on the EWG website. 

    Lastly, the company recommends that the sunscreen be applied more frequently (at every 40 minutes) than many of the others on the list. Keep this is mind when deciding your sunscreen priorities and needs.

    Also scoring highest on EWG's certified clean products list is Stream2Sea. This everyday sunscreen is safe and effective for the whole family. It is created to be a non-greasy formula that is clear and goes on light.

    Some of the inactive ingredients include jojoba and olive oil, Squalane oil, aloe vera, and green tea, giving it antioxidant benefits. Additonally, turmeric root extract is included in the formulation. Turmeric provides anti-inflammatory benefits. 

    Stream2Sea EcoStick is created with both Non-Nano Titanium Dioxide and Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. The soothing herbs chamomile and calendula are both infused for skin calming properties.

    This stick is another safe and effective choice for parents who want to give kids the freedom of applying sunscreen on their face. This can save time. Also, applying sunscreen to the kids face is sometimes a not-so-fun chore. This alleviates one step.

    The broad-spectrum and water resistant face sunscreen stick is a great option overall.

    The last suncreen option on the list is Pipette. The lotion-based sunscreen is designed for the most sensitive skin, baby's. It uses ingredients which calms skin stressed by the sun and environment while protecting it from both UVA and UVB rays.

    Besides non-nano zinc, squalane and Bisobolol are both used to provide comfort and moisture to the skin. This lotion is another good option for those looking for a thicker sunscreen lotion which absorbs into the skin without leaving a white cast on the skin.

    This post gave you the best sunscreen options for kids and babies that contain natural ingredients that are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.


    1. https://projectsunscreen.com/blogs/news/everything-you-want-to-know-about-zinc-oxide
    2. Vinardell MP, Llanas H, Marics L, Mitjans M. In Vitro Comparative Skin Irritation Induced by Nano and Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2017 Mar 4;7(3):56. doi: 10.3390/nano7030056. PMID: 28336890; PMCID: PMC5388158.
    3. https://www.100percentpure.com/blogs/feed/nano-vs-non-nano-sunscreen
    4. https://beminimalist.co/blogs/skin-care/is-it-safe-to-use-a-sunscreen-that-contains-titanium-dioxide
    5. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
    6. Suh S, Pham C, Smith J, Mesinkovska NA. The banned sunscreen ingredients and their impact on human health: a systematic review. Int J Dermatol. 2020 Sep;59(9):1033-1042. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14824. Epub 2020 Feb 28. PMID: 32108942; PMCID: PMC7648445.

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