There’s something new under the sun when it comes to keeping your baby’s skin safe from harmful rays. Summer 2012 is the deadline for all sunscreens to meet the FDA’s new guidelines requiring stricter criteria for sunscreen labeling and products.
For parents navigating the world of sunscreens, natural products are the way to go. “Sunscreens are tricky; we need them to protect us from the sun, but most of them are filled with ingredients that are harmful,” says Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director of Practically Green. “The safest ones on the market contain minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) instead of harmful chemicals (like oxybenzone and octinoxate).”
Zinc oxide is the natural mineral ingredient that provides an actual physical barrier against the sun. It rests on top of the skin. While this sometimes leaves more of a white or chalky residue, the protection is stronger. And parents can see where they may have missed a spot. Because zinc oxide products provide an actual barrier to the skin, they start to work immediately. Parents avoid the typical hassle associated with chemical sunscreens of having to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Additionally, because of the potentially negative effects of nano particles (used to make sunscreens spread more smoothly), parents should look for sunscreens made using non-nano zinc oxide.
“Mom and baby can usually share sunscreens. [But] keep in mind that most pediatricians do not suggest sunscreen for babies under 6 months of age,” Zissu notes. “And never underestimate the power of a good hat, shade, staying out of the sun when it is strongest, and sun-protective clothing.”
As always, parents should test out the product on a patch of their baby’s skin to check for a reaction before applying all over. From towelettes to lotions to sticks, there’s a sunscreen to fit your baby’s needs.
Star Naturals Baby Natural Sunscreen Stick SPF 25
Provides natural, broad coverage and is easy to stow away in the diaper bag in its compact stick form. Uses zinc oxide but is non-whitening and also water resistant.
Green Babies Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 30
Green Babies offers its broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen that contains 20 percent zinc oxide and uses non-nano sized particles of zinc oxide. It is water resistant up to 40 minutes. Natural pine bark resin is the water resisting agent.
Neutrogena Pure & Free® Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60
This product provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with Purescreen™. It’s fragrance-free and contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, perfect for baby’s delicate skin. Also available in a formula for baby’s faces and in a stick.
Coppertone® Water BABIES® Foaming Lotion SPF 75 Sunscreen
Providing a nice foaming texture, this popular sunscreen is available in lotion, spray, and stick. It’s water resistant up to 80 minutes.
Badger Baby Sunscreen contains an organic base of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba & Cocoa Butter that’s moisturizing and soothing. Water resistant for up to 40 minutes, the product has the mild scent of Chamomile and Calendula, and can be used by the whole family. Badger uses non-nano particles.
Adorable Baby Sunscreen by Loving Naturals SPF 30
This 100 percent natural and organic sunscreen is made for babies and goes on clear. It uses non-nano zinc oxide. Available in stick and lotion form.
AVEENO Baby Natural Protection Sunblock Stick with SPF 50 for Face
Aveeno Baby contains MINERALBLOCK Technology with 100% naturally-sourced active ingredients. This oil-free formula is also fragrance-free and waterproof. ACTIVE NATURALS colloidal oatmeal forms a protective barrier to help prevent irritation and keep a developing baby’s skin soft. Retains SPF after 80 minutes of activity in the water or perspiring
Baby UV/Kids UV Color Me Pink (or Blue) Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
Pick the color your child prefers! The color fades away with application but is great for helping parents see where to provide that extra dollop for safe full skin coverage. Provides Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection using zinc and titanium and no parabens.
Seventh Generation Baby Sunscreen SPF 30
Made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, this sunscreen by Seventh Generation (for the Wee Generation), provides Broad Spectrum SPF 30. The water-resistant formula features non-absorbing mineral sun filters that stay on the skin’s surface to defend against harmful rays. Contains no chemical sunscreens, parabens, gluten, or PABA.
This organic sunscreen is water resistant up to 80 minutes. It has no noticeable smell. It uses non-nano particles, with average zinc oxide particles greater than 110nm. Thinkbaby benefits the Livestrong organization.