SafeMama Safer Sunscreen Cheat Sheet

Last updated on June 1st, 2022 at 02:17 pm

Updated for 2022 the safer sunscreen cheat sheet is here! Since 2007 our cheat sheets have helped parents make informed product decisions. This Cheat Sheet covers what to look for in a safer non-toxic sunscreens.  

Our goal is to give you as many safer sunscreen options as possible. 

Before you know it you’ll be a wiz at choosing a non-toxic sunscreen!

SafeMama Tip: Remember to read those labels.  Manufacturers change formulations often.

Why Should You Choose a Non-Toxic Sunscreen?

My youngest son would get rashes from sunscreens. This is one of the many reasons I started looking deeper into what was in sunscreen and why it could cause rashes.  
What I discovered is that products are filled with a toxic soup of chemicals. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens, to name a few.
Why wouldn’t they cause a rash?
Luckily now there are safer sunscreen options.
 

Ingredients To Avoid in Sunscreens 

SafeMama™ Sunscreen Criteria. All sunscreens I approve need to be free of the following bad ingredients.

Basically, they should contain a considerable amount of natural ingredients. 

Check out our Glossary to better understand the above ingredients. 

What Is The Worst Chemical In Sunscreens?

The sunscreen ingredient I mainly recommend avoiding is the synthetic chemical oxybenzone. It is the active ingredient found in most sunscreens that are not mineral-based. 

Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor that can affect

If Oxybenzone is listed as an ingredient on sunscreen, I recommend not using it. Learn more about Oxybenzone and sunscreen at Cancer.org

What Is The Best Active Ingredient In Safe Sunscreens? 

The active ingredient in natural sunscreens is either  Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.

I prefer Zinc Oxide over Titanium Dioxide but I have a few sunscreens listed here that contain both (I’ve grouped them accordingly).  Read more about Zinc Oxide at the Babo Botanicals blog.

There have been some studies done that could classify Titanium Dioxide as carcinogenic to humans.  They are preliminary studies but the evidence so far is showing that rats exposed to inhalation of the powdered form of Titanium Dioxide developed respiratory tract cancer.  That said, there have been no conclusive tests showing that topical use causes the same reaction – so here is where you get to make your own judgment call and I just outline your options!

Micronized vs Nano Particles in Sunscreen Does It Matter?

There have been many reports that micronized vs. nanoparticles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide have the ability to pass through the skin more easily (which is why they aren’t as white as others). There is also a concern that nano-titanium dioxide/zinc oxide particles have higher photo-reactivity than coarser particles and may generate free radicals that can cause cell damage.

Some manufacturers have addressed this issue by coating the particles to prevent free radical formation.  I am comfortable recommending sunscreens with Micronized zinc or titanium (most natural sunscreens ARE). 

NANO zinc or titanium is something I feel should be avoided and I have not included any sunscreens using nanoparticles in my list. In most cases, I have confirmed with the company that the particle sizes are larger than 100nm.

Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) in Sunscreen

Years ago the EWG put out their Sunscreen Guide and with it, made public some information regarding retinyl palmitate and its use in sunscreen.

A study done by the FDA revealed it may speed the growth of skin lesions and tumors in lab mice.  The study is still in a controversial stage at this point but it is easy to avoid so I have not included any sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate. Most companies have eliminated it. Learn more about Vitamin A in sunscreens here

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen For UVA and UBA rays.

Some sunscreens do not protect you against both UVA and UVB rays.  

UVB rays are the ones responsible for making you turn pink or red in the sun, also known as sunburn.  

UVA rays are the nasty ones responsible for getting down into the underlying layers of skin causing wrinkling, aging, and in some cases skin cancer.  

Choose a sunscreen that protects from both UVB and UVA  also referred to as “broad-spectrum”.  

Lucky for us greenies, the primary ingredients in natural sunscreens, Zinc Oxide, and Titanium Dioxide both provide broad-spectrum protection. (Read more about it: SkinCancer.org).  

The FDA changed the law and this year sunscreens will be required to label their products as broad-spectrum or place a warning label.  

Make sure you look for the Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB wording on labels.

EWG Skin Deep Sunscreen Rating

I include these in each listing as a convenience to you. Truth be told I don’t put a lot of weight on the rating to make my choices on products but it’s a beginner’s gauge if you can’t decipher ingredients lists.

I do not agree with all the EWG top recommended choices.  Some of them contain hormone-mimicking ingredients I think should be avoided.  However, if your top concern is UVA/UVB protection vs ingredients than their reports can be of much use to you.  I am confident that natural sunscreens provide more than adequate protection and are a safer choice overall.

 

Safer Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide Only Including Lotions, Sprays & Creams.

 

1. Earth Mama Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen

 

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Protection:
SPF 30
Active Ingredient: Non-nano, uncoated Zinc Oxide 21.5%
Skin Deep Rating SPF 30: 1
Notes:  SafeMama TOP PICK!!! I can’t tell you how excited I was when Earth Mama – the OG of safe, natural, painstakingly cultivated products for mamas, babies and well, everyone, came out with a line of sunscreen. 

Every ingredient is vetted and tested for efficacy, and safety. Earth Mama only uses the most natural organic ingredients possible to help lighten the toxic load on our systems.  On top of all that they have an Uber-Sensitive version for those who just need a little extra TLC in the skin department. What’s even better is that they also have Lady Face™ Tinted Sunscreen sticks for us sassy mamas. Contour, anyone?)  I could go on forever about my Earth Mama love but you can go check them out or yourself!

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, 21.5% Inactive Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Fractionated Coconut) Oil*, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Tocopherol, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera)*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract* *Organic

 

2. ThinkBaby (ThinkSport) SPF 50+ Sunscreen for Kids

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Protection: SPF 50+

Skin Deep Rating 2 

Notes: ThinkBaby came out with their sunscreen a few years ago in an effort to make the safest sunscreen possible. They use mostly natural ingredients and it has no harsh scent. Just good ingredients that protect really well. Thinkbabys sunscreen has also passed the Whole Foods Premium Care requirements. Leave it to ThinkBaby to come out with a safe product.  ThinkSport has changed the formula a couple of times and I’ve not had the chance to test it.  The latest ingredients list looks fantastic.   

Active Ingredient: non-nano Zinc Oxide 20%

Other Ingredients: purified water, caprylic /capric triglyceride, polyglycery-4 isosterate, cetyl dimethicone, hexyl laurate, glycerin, hydrogentated methyl abietate (pine wood resin), magnesium sulfate, caprylhdroxamic acid, glyceryl caprylate, sorbitan sesquioleate, papaya, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, hyalurounic acid (plant-based)

 

3. Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen 

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Protection: SPF 50
Skin Deep Rating: 2

Pros: Clear! We love clear! 

Notes: I’ve always been a fan of this brand, they create really lovely products and focus on making them safe and effective. This new sunscreen from Babo Botanicals is pretty great!  It goes on totally clear, applies easily, and really isn’t sticky.  It also smells like green apples!  No synthetic fragrances or dyes and it’s gluten-free.  I’ve used this at the park on a sunny day with the kids and no burns.  Nice brand and nice product!  I particularly love their Clear Zinc Sport Stick for carrying around.

Active Ingredient: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 20%

Other Ingredients: Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Bisabolol*, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf Extract*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract*, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Tocopherol, Water (Aqua). *Certified Organic Ingredients

 

4. Badger Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

 

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Protection: SPF 40
Active Ingredient: Non-nano, uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%
Skin Deep Rating SPF 40: 1
Notes:   Badger is always at the top of my list because they have lasted my test of time. They really work and I trust their safety. 

Years ago many natural sunscreens were thick and white and difficult to use on a daily basis. Today the landscape of sunscreen has changed and Badger has mastered making their sunscreens less white on the skin without compromising the safety (still safe non-nano sized particles).  No longer does “clear” mean “nano”.  

Badger also has active sunscreens which are thicker and stay on great for swimming, without the “sticky” feeling.  

The Baby Sunscreen is a beautiful 8 ingredient formula with gentle chamomile and calendula for sensitive baby and kid’s skin. 

Active Sunscreen Ingredient:
Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%

Base Ingredients:
Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E, Organic Calendula Flower Extract, Organic Chamomile Oil, Organic Seabuckthorn Fruit Extract

98% Organic Ingredients – Certified Non-GMO

 

5. Raw Elements Eco Formula SPF 30+

 

Raw Elements Organic SPF 30 Zinc Sunscreen, 3oz (2-Pack)
5.0
Pros:
  • SPF 30+
  • Broad-spectrum protection
  • Reef safe
  • Biodegradable Bio-Resin Tube
  • Safe for all ages
  • Never runs or stings eyes
  • Very water-resistant (up to 80 minutes)
  • Soy, gluten and nut free
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Protection:
 SPF 30+
Active Ingredient: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 23%

SafeMama Rating: 5 Stars
Skin Deep Rating SPF 30: 1  EWG Verified
Notes: This sunscreen has a thicker consistency but spreads very easily and the whiteness factor is minimum, but there.  This is great for swimming, heavy sweating, or water play. 

The ingredients are as good as it gets:

Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Sunflower Oil, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E

Other Ingredients: Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Organic Green Tea), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Organic Black Tea), Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (Organic Hemp Seed Oil), Cera Flava (Organic Beeswax), Coffea Arabica Seed Extract (Organic Coffee Bean), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Organic Sunflower Oil), Mangifera Indica Seed Butter (Natural Mango Butter), Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil (Natural Rosemary), Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Butter), Tocopherol

That’s it.  This brand also has a sunscreen stick which I list below. Also, non-GMO Project Certified.

 

6. TruKid Sunny Days SPF 30

 


Protection:
 SPF 30+

Skin Deep Rating: 1 for Ezema formulated sunscreen and 2 for Sunny Days Sunscreen

Perks: Organic ingredients and they have a sunscreen that is eczema safe  Cons: Dimethicone (if that is a concern for you)

Notes: TruKid sunscreen was one of the first I ever tried and truthfully, I still really love it.  It performs well, feels good, and smells good.  It protects really well and I think this is a great one to use for kids with skin allergies. I approve of this one wholeheartedly because of its more than respectable ingredients list.  They have several variations but the main one, that everyone loves (it smells like oranges) has a great formula.  I think it’s a good pick overall. This one is great for everything including day-to-day since it’s not sticky once applied.  There are a few different formulas including one specifically for eczema, a water and sport version, and solid sticks.

Active Ingredient: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 20%

Other Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglyceride (Coconut), Sorbitan Stearate (vegetable), Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl Dimethicone (Sand), Dimethicone (Sand), Castor Oil, Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Punica Granatum Extract (Pomegranate Juice), Hyaluronic acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin (Vegetable), Polyaminopropyl Biguanide

*ingredients in bold = organic

 

7. Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30

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Protection:
SPF 30
Skin Deep Rating: 1

Pros: This works fantastic, goes on light, and stays put. Cons:  Expensive.


Notes: I became a Beautycounter consultant last year with a friend. I love their message and their mission to get safe products in the hands of everyone.  I use Protect All Over on myself regularly and it works really well, smells light, has great coverage and I never experience any burns when using it. It is even useable on my rash-prone son who is sensitive to lots of sunscreens. Titanium dioxide is even out for us. The drawback is the cost and as a consultant, I will openly admit that these are high-priced luxury items (along the lines of shopping at the Clinique counter).  It works, I love it. Comes in a solid stick and lip balm too.

Active Ingredient: Non-nano Zinc Oxide 14.96%

Other Ingredients: purified water, caprylic /capric triglyceride, polyglycery-4 isosterate, cetyl dimethicone, hexyl laurate, glycerin, hydrogentated methyl abietate (pine wood resin), magnesium sulfate, caprylhdroxamic acid, glyceryl caprylate, sorbitan sesquioleate, papaya, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, hyalurounic acid (plant-based)

 

Safer Sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide.

 

Green Beaver Kids Sunscreen SPF 40

GREEN BEAVER Spf 40 Kids Lotion, 90 ML

Made in Canada. Canadian residence choose the Buy from Green Beaver button.

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Protection: SPF 40
Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 8%, Titanium Dioxide 8%
Skin Deep Rating: N/A


Notes: I have known about Green Beaver for a while and have reviewed their natural toothpaste in the past.  I’m listing the kids versions but from looking over the whole line they all pass my requirements.  Not 100% chemical-free but free of the major red flags and uses non-nano uncoated zinc. You’ll all be pleased to know it comes in a spray version too (which is all zinc and no titanium and comes in SPF 27).  I have not tried these yet – it’s a Canadian brand that will make Canadian readers happy! They have been redesigned and repackaged as well, they look great and the ingredients pass inspection too.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 8%, Titanium Dioxide 8%

Other Ingredients: Non-Medicinal Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Beeswax*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pongamia Glabra (Karanja) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil*, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Jojoba Esters, Aqua, Trihyroxystearin, d-alpha Tocopherol, Alumina, Beta-sitosterol, Isostearic Acid, Squalene, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Lecithin. 100 % of the total ingredients are from natural origin *57% from organic farming certified by Ecocert Greenlife according to Ecocert standards available on http://cosmetics.ecocert.com

 

Coral Safe Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 30

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Protection: SPF 30
Skin Deep Rating: 2

Notes: This brand has a great ingredients list overall and rates well in Skin Deep. Personally, I have not tried this one. From the reviews I have read, it sounds like it may go turn you a little ghostly. But its a safer alternative and worth mentioning here. 

Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Titanium Oxide 6% & Zinc Oxide 6%

Other Ingredients: Aloe Vera Gel Juice ,Deionized Water, Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Coconut Oil, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Gluconolactone, Glycerin, Soybean Oil, Sunflower Oil, Lecithin, Mango Butter, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Vitamine E, Xanthan Gum

 

California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion

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Protection: SPF 30+ 
Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Titanium Dioxide 
Skin Deep Rating: 2
Notes: California Baby SPF 30 goes on thick and works well but it’s sticky and makes you look a bit white. However, this is one of the more effective brands. Their website claims its not greasy but that has been the case for me.  Perhaps they have changed their formula since I last tried it. Many parents have been using this one and I think it would fit well for swimming or beach days when you need something durable.  ”   

 

 Safer Sunscreen Sunblock Sticks 

 

ECO STICK SPF 30+ By Raw Elements

Protection: SPF 30+

Skin Deep Rating: 1

Notes: When it comes to ingredients, Raw Elements has an incredibly safe product.  The stick version is just as safe as the lotion above.  Minimal organic ingredients and in a handy wide tube. Goes on whiter than others but is great for protecting noses and ears, etc during hot summer days.  Durable protection at its finest.  I think the price point is a bit high for such a tiny stick of sunscreen but it does last for quite a while.  I also love the shape, easier to apply.

Active Ingredient: non-nano Zinc Oxide 22.75%

Inactive Ingredients: Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Organic Green Tea), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Organic Black Tea), Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (Organic Hemp Seed Oil), Cera Flava (Organic Beeswax), Coffea Arabica Seed Extract (Organic Coffee Bean), Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Natural Candelilla Wax), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Organic Sunflower Oil), Iron Oxides, Mangifera Indica Seed Butter (Natural Mango Butter), Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil (Natural Rosemary), Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa Butter), Tocopherol * USDA Certified Organic
** Certified Natural

 

Babo Botanicals Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick

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Protection: SPF 30
Skin Deep Rating:

NotesSafeMama.com Award Winner. 

Kathy says, “I don’t know how they did it, but Babo Botanicals made a sunscreen that isn’t white.  No matter how much you put on, it goes on CLEAR.  It’s a miracle.  It smells like green apples, smooths on well and did I mention it’s not white?? This would be great for lips too because it’s clear.  I cannot tell you how much I hate having white lips from natural lip blocks!  I have always had a soft spot for Babo Botanicals and this is why… they keep making great products.  This product is also vegan for those looking for a vegan solution.  Love this product!  I won’t live without it. My new summer staple. “

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 19.7% (non-nanoparticle)

Inactive Ingredients: Beeswax*, Bisabolol*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Jojoba Esters, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf Extract*, Octyldodecyl Oleate, Oryzanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Tocopherol. *CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENTS

ThinkBaby Sunscreen Stick

Protection: SPF 30
Skin Deep Rating: 1
Notes:  SafeMama has loved ThinkBaby from the very beginning. They are carefully crafted with the best ingredients that get the job done. Click HERE to read one of our ThinkBaby reviews

Active Ingredient: Non-nano,  Zinc Oxide 20%

Inactive Ingredients: helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil(1) cocos nucifera (coconut) oil (1) cera alba (beeswax) (1) euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax(1) ricinus communis (castor) oil (1) copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax(1) butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter (1) theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter (1) tocopherol (1) aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice (1) 

 

Safer Spray and Aerosol Sunscreen

Camps require it, parents love it, and companies are jumping on the bandwagon.  Unfortunately, there are concerns about the particles from the spray entering your child’s lungs

I prefer the lotions and the stick sunscreens from a safety standpoint.

But if you choose a natural sunscreen spray be sure you take precautions such as

  1. Avoid spraying these on your kid’s faces, it’s natural but inhaling this stuff is not a great idea. Use a natural brand cream on faces and sprays for all-over coverage. 
  2. Re-apply more often than you think you need to.  They don’t cover as well as lotions and creams do unless you are really diligent.  
  3. Shake these up before use – the ingredients could separate in the bottle and you won’t get the coverage the product promises.

1. Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 30

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Protection:
SPF 30
Skin Deep Rating: N/A

Pros: Clear, lightweight, water and sweat-resistant, hypoallergenic and great for extra sensitive skin.  Cons: Can be a little drying.
Notes: I’ve always been a fan of this brand, they create really lovely products and focus on making them safe and effective. This new continuous spray sunscreen from Babo Botanicals is pretty great!  It sprays on light and clear and will stay on and protect for up to 80 minutes of water play or sweating.  It is unscented and hypoallergenic so it’s ideal for people with sensitivities or allergies.  No synthetic fragrances or dyes and it’s gluten free.  Definitely one of my new favorites. I’ve tested this out on myself during exercise and it stays put.  I have had trouble with the spray nozzle breaking before I’ve used all the products but hopefully, they have worked out the kinks with that.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 12% (Non-Nano) Minerals

Inactive Ingredients:  Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Bentonite, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract*, Coco Glucoside, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Heptyl Undecylenate, Jojoba Esters, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Nasturtium Officinale (Watercress) Flower/Leaf Extract*, Pueraria Lobata (Kudzu) Root Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Flower Extract*, Water (Aqua). *Certified Organic Ingredients

 

 

Sunscreens That Almost Make the Cut (Fine in a pinch)

But don’t due to a questionable ingredient. Some of you think I’m too strict and some of you think I’m not strict enough. I’m always torn when a really great sunscreen doesn’t make the list because there are one or two ingredients that don’t sit right with me. 

  1. Phenoxyethanol is a deal-breaker for me.  Not because I’m trying to make your life difficult (I swear that is not my intention) but because I’ve read the information that makes me wonder if it is just another paraben in the grand scheme of things.  Some of these are good products, products I’ve used and liked but were cautious to recommend.
  2. Dimethicone has been a big question mark too.  There has been some questionable info published about it and I can’t seem to get a straight answer on that information from a 3rd party with no particular company involvement.  Companies that use it swear by its safety (and it even rates low in Skin Deep).  Companies that don’t seem to have good reasons to avoid it. It’s a chemical derived from sand meant to provide lubrication (makes a product go on smoother). Companies that don’t use it choose natural oils or butter instead. I do have one or two brands up there in the list that contains it but they were void of any other of my red flags so they passed, but I still made a note if it’s there.  It will have to be a judgment call on your part if you want to avoid it or not.  All

The sunscreens below are free of chemical sun-blocking ingredients, parabens, phthalates, PEGs, and propylene glycol.  

So if you need something quick and don’t have time to scour for the safest, these will do.

FINALLY: One brand I will not include on any list is BabyGanics Sunscreen.  I get TONS of questions about this one and I refuse to endorse it.  It’s loaded with chemicals over the years they have use (to name a few; PEG, phenoxyethanol, dimethicone and it uses chemical sunscreen ingredients).  EWG rates it a three which blows my MIND.  BabyGanics is Greenwashing at its finest.

Sunscreen Usage and Sun Tips

Follow the directions on the sunscreen for proper sun protection. 

Our motto is “everything in moderation”. This means sun exposure too.

It’s ok to be out in the sun for 20 minutes without covering every square inch of your kid with SPF 80. Sun exposure is good for us to think Vitamin D! Also it had been studied that people, especially kids, with regular moderate time in the sun are healthier. Furthermore, kids may have less risk of developing conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or other auto-immune deficiencies.

But sunburns are not good, so choose a safe sunscreen for long days in the sun.  

How To Safely Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure

No need to bake in the sun all day. Keep cool and stay in the shade!

Hats, clothing, and shade umbrellas are good all good options. 

Investing in some SPF Protected clothing, that reduces the need for so much sunscreen is a good idea too. SwimZip makes great SPF Swimwear for kids.

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I also like Baby Banz Sun Hats for baby and kids.  The wide brim bucket hat has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating of 50+ helps keep the sun off kids’ faces. If you can avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10-2 pm is recommended.  

Can’t keep hats on your kids? Wear one yourself.  Kids are more likely to keep them on if you’re joining in.

Most importantly enjoy the outdoors and fresh air!

Be sure to check out our Safer Bug Repellent Cheat Sheet for safe choices to keep the buggies at bay.

My General Disclaimer

No, I am not a chemist or a scientist or a doctor even.

This is just how an educated woman is able to contend with selecting products for our kids.  Based on the massive amount of materials I have read, ingredients I have researched, and the people I have interviewed, these are my top recommended sunscreens. 

To clarify, I look for products that are made with real natural ingredients and use large particle physical sunscreen (Zinc Oxide is my top choice but I do have some on here with Titanium Dioxide as well). 

If you do not like my recommendations you are welcome to do your own research. 

I am always open to hearing what other parents, chemists, doctors or scientists want to share with me.  Finally, this is also not a comprehensive list.  There may be perfectly good sunscreens out there that are not on my list simply because I am unaware of them.  If you would like me to check out a particular brand, please feel free to email me about it.  Thanks!