2021 Guide to Best Kid Sunscreensby Elizabeth MacDonald
You worry about what your baby eats, how much she sleeps, and if she’s healthy – constantly, right? Not that you need one more thing to worry about, but have you given any thought to what sunscreen you are using on her?
It seems trivial, but sunscreen is more than a lotion creating a barrier on your baby’s skin. Sunscreen is absorbed into the skin and any harmful ingredient can then impact your child in a laundry list of alarming ways. The Environmental Working Group describes how “the ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone are all systemically absorbed into the body after one use,” and how they can be detected on the skin and in the blood for “weeks after no longer being used.” This includes being found in breast milk and urine! Spray sunscreens can also be inhaled, which means that the ingredients can be ingested and cause lung problems and issues for other organs.
The list of ingredients on the back of each label is alarming, but the scariest ingredient you need to avoid is oxybenzone. It is easily absorbed through the skin, causes allergic skin reactions, and impacts the endocrine system, disrupting hormones. The scariest part is that children are at an even higher risk of chronic problems from this ingredient. It lowers the testosterone in adolescent boys and increases the risk of future endometriosis in girls.
Another terrifying ingredient is octinoxat, which also continues to be absorbed well after its single application. It has been banned in many countries across the world due to it’s threat to ocean life. This chemical impacts the thyroid and possibly triggers progesterone and androgen production. There are also findings that it causes allergic reactions after being exposed to the sun.
There are multiple other ingredients that impact hormones and are linked to cancers, chronic breathing issues, allergic reactions, and more found in common sunscreen brands. The good news is that there are safe and affordable sunscreen choices on shelves everywhere now! But how do you know which one to purchase?
2021 Best Kid Sunscreens
The Environmental Working Group has completed its annual evaluation, researching over 1,800 sunscreen options for 2021. They continue to advocate for mineral based versions, but want you know that, “manufacturers use forms of minerals coated with inert chemicals to reduce photoactivity. To minimize the risks to sunscreen users and maximize these products’ sun protection, EWG supports stronger guidelines and restrictions on the types of used zinc and titanium in sunscreens.” This means that all mineral versions are not the same, so take notes and pick one from their safe list.
Top 5 Sunscreens for Kids
Badger brand tops the list again this year with four versions making the top 12 lotions list. It is easy to find, easy to apply, rubs in well, and does its job to keep sunburns at bay.
Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 can be found on Amazon and has 5-star reviews from users and the EWG.
TruKid Sunny Days Sport SPF 30 tops the charts with rave reviews, too. It prevents burning, is gentle on the eyes, and one bottle goes a long way.
Organic beeswax and avocado oil make this sunscreen a favorite for application and feel.
These are only the top 5, with dozens more on the EWG's low-scoring options!
- You do need new sunscreen each season, as they break down in the bottle. If you notice clumping, throw it out and get a new bottle.
- Reapplication is the key to a burn-free experience. Reapply every 90 minutes and wait 15 minutes before getting wet.
Enjoy your summer sun without the worry of sunburn or negative side effects from your sunscreen.