It’s hard to avoid all the articles recently talking about the safety of sunscreen. If you love to play outside like our family, sunscreen is one of those summer necessities you spend a lot of time applying and reapplying. What’s really in the sunscreen you use for your family? Here’s my cheat sheet of what to look for in your sunscreen and what to avoid. Plus I’ll share some of my favorites that all get grade of 2 or better on the EWG Guide for Sunscreen.
What do you want in your sunscreen?
- Mineral based products using zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
- No false promises. It shouldn’t read “sunblock” or “waterproof”. These terms are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels. Water-resistant is ok.
- Broad Spectrum label which protects against both sunburns and aging.
- SPF of 30-50.
What to avoid in your sunscreen?
- Oxybenzone or any other chemical based lotion that has an ingredient ending in “one.”
- Spray sunscreens. Aerosol based sprays contain nano particles that can be inhaled into the lungs and cause hormone disruption. Yes they are easy to use, but they are TOXIC!! The FDA is finally investigating this issue. Read more about why you should avoid spray sunscreens here.
- Anything claiming to have an SPF over 50.
For my top picks, I’m including brands that I’m familiar with or have tested out myself. I also choose sunscreen products that you can get at your local drugstore, Whole Foods or on Amazon.
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick, SPF 50 (Rating 2)
- COOLA Suncare Baby Moisturizer Mineral Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 50 (Rating 1, this is what I’m using on my kids now)
- COOLA Suncare Plant UV Face Moisturizer Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 30 (Rating 1, I’m using this as my face sunscreen for everyday. Did you recently see the article about how wearing sunscreen keeps skin looking younger?)
- Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Lotion, SPF 50 (Rating 2)
- Coppertone Sensitive Skin Suncreen Lotion, SPF 50 (Rating 2)
- Dolphin Organics Naturals Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 32 (Rating 2)
- Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia, SPF 40 (Rating 2)
- Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm, SPF 15 (Rating 2) (I’ve shared my thoughts before in a past sunscreen post.)
- Mustela Broad Spectrum Mineral Sun Stick, SPF 50+
- Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
Further Reading: My friend Lori shared her thoughts on finding the best non-whitening sunscreen. For a very detailed cheat sheet with product reviews you can read Kathy’s SafeMama’s 2013 recap.
Disclosure: I have received some of these products in the past and none for the purpose of this review. All opinions shared here are my own. The Amazon link is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase via Amazon it helps support this site. Thanks!
Great list! I’ve tried many of the sunscreens you’re recommending. I’m using COOLA right not and I love it, although it’s a bit pricey. Have to admit that I’m a little shocked Coppertone’s rating is a 2 on Skin Deep! Thanks for the shout out.
I was surprised too with the Coppertone too, but I’m happy there is an affordable option that is healthy and safe. Plus it’s easier to grab on vacation if you run out of your sunscreen.
I did a double take on the Coppertone, I am surprised to see a mainstream brand received such low rating! We’re using Seventh Generation and BabyGanics cover up stick (rating of 1) right now.
I’m curious to try the Seventh Generation. I use a lot of their other products and have been very happy with the new “Wee” line for the kid’s baths. The cover up sticks are a must for those squirmy faces!
I was so excited to find a few Coppertones rated 2 by EWG last summer. You can get it for $4-$5 a bottle with coupons and sales. Their Water Babies Pure & Simple is also a 2, and that one can be easier to find than the green kids’ bottle.
We’ve been using coppertone sensitive skins because it was eating well and the ewg’s list. I noticed today that paraben is on the list of ingredients! I will be going back to CA baby which we previously used.
Interesting. Which ingredient should we be aware of?