Sunscreen is a year-round necessity to prevent skin damage and skin cancer, but it’s especially important during the summer, when UV rays are the strongest. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that all kids ages 6 months and older should be lathered in sunscreen whenever they’re outside, whether they’re playing at the beach or biking down the street. But with hundreds of sunscreens on the market, how do you choose which one to use?
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a few tips on its website for narrowing down your options. First, a sunscreen should say “broad spectrum” on its label, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should also have a sun protection factor (SPF) between 15 and 50, although many experts recommend using at least SPF 30.
Sunscreen is made with either physical ingredients that block UV rays, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or chemical ingredients that absorb UV rays, such as avobenzone. While both types of sunscreen are considered safe and effective, there has been some talk lately that According to Harvard Health, however, there’s no evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans.
To help you choose the sun protection that meets your child’s needs, we’ve rounded up the Environmental Working Group‘s top-ranked kids sunscreens to keep them safe from UV rays all summer long
Sunscreen for active kids
Badger Kids Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF 40
It may smell like a creamsicle, thanks to tangerine and vanilla essential oils, but this is one hard-working sunscreen. And with clear zinc oxide as its active ingredient, it won’t leave a white cast on the skin like other mineral sunscreens.
Sunscreen for kids with eczema
CeraVe Baby Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 45
Both the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the National Eczema Association approve of this mineral sunscreen, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides to keep your little one’s skin super soft.
Organic sunscreen for kids
Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Made with organic sunflower oil, plus sesame oil and beeswax, this vegan sunscreen moisturizes while it protects. However, it’s only water resistant for 40 minutes, so you’ll want to remember to reapply every hour if your kids are swimming.
Sunscreen for kids with sensitive skin
Earth Mama Organics Kids Uber-Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
Does it get more sensitive than uber-sensitive? A favorite of the EWG, this pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested sunscreen soothes skin with organic colloidal oatmeal and organic shea butter.
Sunscreen stick for kids
Thinksport Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Just the right size to slip into a pocket or a backpack, Thinksport’s sunscreen stick makes it easy for busy kids to reapply on the go. Like all physical sunscreens, it starts reflecting sunlight as soon as it’s applied, and it continues working up to 80 minutes in the water.
Spray sunscreen for kids
Banana Boat Kids Free Clear Ultramist Sunscreen Spray SPF 50
Free of alcohol and other irritants that might sting eyes and bother sensitive skin, this invisible sunscreen is perfect for wriggling toddlers and impatient kids. Plus, it gets a thumbs up from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
SPF lip balm for kids
EOS Shea + SPF 30 Aloe Lip Balm $
Don’t forget about their lips! This EOS balm protects from UV rays with avobenzone, homosalatedoes and octocrylene, and its iconic round shape makes it fun to apply.