The 11 Best Baby Sunscreens That Won't Irritate Their Skin

Looking for the perfect baby sunscreen? These sunscreens for babies will keep your little one safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Baby on a beach
Pablo Martn Rodrguez / EyeEm/Getty Images

Babies are… well, delicate. So it's probably not surprising that little ones need special kinds of sun protection when spending time outside. Although experts don't recommend slathering a newborn with sunscreen (instead, shade them from the sun's rays with umbrellas, canopy strollers, and light blankets), it's okay to start using baby-specific sunblock once your child is six months old.

But is baby sunscreen really any different than the formulas we use as adults? "Baby sunscreens are generally fragrance-free and contain mineral blocker ingredients only, such as zinc oxide," New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, tells Health. And because applying sunscreen on children can be challenging, Dr. Zeichner also recommends choosing the highest SPF protection available. "While in theory, any sunscreen above SPF 30 gives very little additional benefits, in reality, we do not apply as much as we should and definitely do not reapply as we are supposed to. So, that SPF value gets diluted out."

To make sure you're prepared, we tapped dermatologists for their recommendations. From natural and waterproof formulas to sun lotions for sensitive skin, we've rounded up the safest sun blockers for your little one.

The best baby sunscreens to buy in 2021

Best Overall: Thinkbaby Baby Sunscreen SPF 50+

Thinkbaby Baby Sunscreen SPF 50+
Amazon

A favorite among both dermatologists and parents for its all-in-one formula, this zinc oxide-based sunscreen offers long-lasting protection from the sun's UVA and UVB rays as well as a high water resistance of 80 minutes. It also contains hydrating aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil, plus antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E to nourish your little one's skin. Unlike similar mineral sunscreens, this sensitive skin-friendly SPF absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn't leave a tacky white cast behind or have an unpleasant smell.

"We live in Texas so a good sunscreen for our 20-month-old son is an absolute must, especially since his daycare takes him outside to play twice a day," one Amazon shopper explained. "Thinkbaby's sunscreen has worked great for us; there is a clear difference before when we left him at the daycare without versus with the sunscreen."

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby SPF 50

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby SPF 50
Amazon.com

Recommended by Dr. Zeichner, the zinc oxide in this formula provides reliable sun protection and is gentle on sensitive skin. This drugstore sunscreen is also hypoallergenic, water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and will not sting your baby's eyes. Plus, it's budget-friendly and absorbs quickly into the skin.

"Both of my children have very sensitive skin and use zinc sunscreen," one reviewer wrote. "Their pediatrician recommended Neutrogena Pure & Free and it works without [giving them] rashes. Thank goodness we found this sunscreen. It is thick and white but most zinc sunscreens are and this one [has] less white residue."

Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Amazon.com

Dr. Zeichner votes for this nourishing baby lotion—it's SPF 50 and enriched with colloidal oatmeal, which keeps your baby's delicate skin barrier well hydrated. It's also sweat- and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

"I am careful in selecting sunscreen for my child with eczema, and this sunscreen does not aggravate his skin," according to an Amazon shopper. "It goes on smoothly and I don't have to worry about harsh chemicals or irritating scents."

Best Tear-Free: Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
Amazon.com

A favorite of Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City: this non-allergenic, tear-free, mineral sunblock will protect your child's delicate skin without causing any irritation—even if it gets in their eyes. And extra points for being water-resistant and oxybenzone-free, which also makes it reef-safe.

"We bought this sunscreen to put on my daughter's face," explained one reviewer. "Several other brands seem to irritate her and cause her eyes to water. We haven't had any problems since we switched to this brand."

Best Stick Formula: Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick

Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick
Amazon

This adorable tube is a zinc oxide-based stick made with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and cocoa butter, and it's super easy to apply thanks to its smooth-gliding, mess-free formula. Dr. Zeichner suggests making "four passes back and forth to apply enough of the product to the skin."

According to one Amazon reviewer, it's great for babies with sensitive skin. "[My daughter] is sensitive to sunscreen and her eyes will puff up if I get anything near them," they said. "It's so easy to apply and rub in. I keep one in my purse and one in her diaper bag. I also use it on myself occasionally."

Highest SPF: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo Kids Sunscreen SPF 60

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo Kids Sunscreen SPF 60
dermstore.com

Formulated with antioxidants and vitamin E, this gentle sunscreen for babies protects against free radicals, while SPF 60 shields UVA and UVB rays. Dermatologist-tested, it's created without parabens, oil, or fragrance, making it ideal for even the most sensitive skin types.

"We've tried a few different kids sunscreen and this is easily the best," according to one reviewer. "Applies like a slightly thick lotion, not really a scent, and protects very well."

Best for Sensitive Skin: All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion

All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion
Amazon.com

"I love the All Good sunscreens as they are kid-friendly and contain soothing and calming ingredients like chamomile," says New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD. This waterproof option is no exception; with a non-nano zinc formula, it contains organic green tea and rose hips to repair damaged skin, plus organic chamomile to soothe sensitive skin. "If you're going to be in a pool, remember to reapply often as baby skin is sensitive," reminds Dr. Engelman.

It's also earned a seal of approval from Amazon reviewers. "I was searching for a good sunblock for my toddler—trying to find one safe for the ocean, easy to apply, and most importantly protect and not irritate my son's sensitive skin—and this one is the best I've tried," one shared. "This goes on smooth and easy."

Best Budget: Hello Bello Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50

Hello Bello Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
walmart.com

Founded by beloved Hollywood couple (and parents) Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, this affordable, reef-friendly baby sunscreen is packed with moisturizing and soothing ingredients like shea butter, organic coconut oil, green tea, avocado, cucumber extracts, and more—so it's safe for even the most sensitive skin, says Dr. Zeichner. Plus, since it's a mineral-based formula, it'll reflect UV radiation and is less likely to irritate delicate baby skin, adds Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Reviewers also noted it has a lovely scent as well. "The sunscreen is creamy and doesn't feel oily or greasy," one Walmart shopper wrote. "It has kept my daughter protected each time we've gone outside to play or swim and kept her protected on our trip to the beach. My daughter hasn't even remotely burnt once, so the sunscreen is doing its job. Smells great, too."

Easiest to Rub In: Babo Botanicals SPF 50 Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Babo Botanicals SPF 50 Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion
thrivemarket.com

Created by a mom of three, this lightweight, fragrance-free formula is made with 100% non-nano zinc oxide, making it perfect for your baby's sensitive skin. It goes on sheer—so there's no white cast—and it's reef-safe and water-resistant for 80 minutes. Also nice: It can be used on both your little one's face and body, so you don't have to lug multiple bottles of sunscreen to the beach.

"Once it's rubbed well, any white tint is almost completely unnoticeable," explains one reviewer. "I follow the instructions for reapplication and haven't had any issues with burning. It's got a great matte finish. "

Best for Baby and Mom: Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50

Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50
Supergoop

When you're in a pinch, it's good to have an SPF on hand that can be used on both your skin and your baby's. "Many baby sunscreens actually have a similar formula to adult products made for sensitive skin," Dr. Zeichner says. Packed with rice antioxidants and sunflower and rosemary extract, this broad-spectrum sunscreen absorbs quickly, protects from both UV and free radical damage, and helps soothe and calm delicate baby skin, as well as your own. Great for face and body, the moisturizing lotion fights dehydration and is sweat- and water-resistant, making it a good choice for hot days at the park and afternoons by the pool.

"This sunblock is perfect," one reviewer praised. "Light and easy. Not thick and hard to spread. Using it mostly for my kids who are a pain when it comes to sunblock to begin with. They've been applying this on their own to their faces before school without complaint."

Best for Scalps: Sun Bum Baby Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray

Sun Bum Baby Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray
Amazon

With its gentle and wide-reaching nozzle, this mineral sunscreen spray allows you to protect your baby's scalp from the sun's harmful rays. Housed in a travel-size bottle, its hypoallergenic formula is enriched with coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter for extra hydration and nourishment. Since it's free of fragrances and other irritants, this fast-absorbing pick—which has a water resistance of 80 minutes—can also be used on your baby's face and body.

"Legit the only thing I could find that hasn't given my 19-month-old a rash," said one shopper. "Easy to spray and easy to rub in."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles