Sunscreen for Kids—Everything You Need to Know - The North County Moms
Lauren Geller MD and her family on beach

This story originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.

Sunscreen for kids is one of those necessary evils every parent deals with in summer. Most kids will whine or try to wriggle their way out of it, making it feel like you’re trying to put sunscreen on a wild animal instead of a kid. Plus, trying to decide which sunblocks to use can feel overwhelming – sticks vs sprays, chemical vs mineral, not to mention rash guards, sunglasses, etc. To sort through what you actually need to know this season, we’re sharing the below interview with Lauren Geller, MD, a Westchester, NY-based pediatric dermatologist associated with Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Plus, see below for a Top Ten list of sunscreen brands our moms are loving for their own kids!

What are the main differences in the sunscreen choices on the market today?
Chemical blockers contain ingredients such as benzones and absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The main ingredients in most physical blockers are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which reflect or scatter UV radiation. In infants and young children, I prefer the mineral sunscreens to minimize absorption of any chemicals. These are also preferred in children with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema as the chemical sunscreens can cause an irritant or allergic reaction in some.

Do you like any of the sticks/brushes/sprays etc. as alternatives to lotions?
Lotions are generally preferred over sprays but if using a spray sunscreen, you want to make sure you are applying enough and rubbing it in well. I love sticks for the face in kids and it is something they can learn to apply themselves.

Do you have any other tips for application on squirmy kids?
Wearing hats, sunglasses and sun protective clothing such as rash guard shirts and bathing suits can be really helpful tools for sun protection as well especially for that squirmy kid! If they are wearing the sun protective clothing, there are less areas that need sunscreen reapplication throughout the day.

Great tip! Do you have any particular brands or products you love as a mom, or as a dermatologist? For instance, our moms say a lot of their kids love Blue Lizard because it has the cool color changing cap, ha!

Blue Lizard Baby or Sensitive Skin mineral sunscreen has always been one of my favorites and is still what I use on my own children. And I agree, it is fun to watch the bottle change color with UV exposure. They now also make sprays and face sticks as well.

The best sunscreen is the sunscreen your child will wear though. Some sunscreen is better than no sunscreen!

Anything else you’d like to share about sun protection and kids (maybe that sunblock is only a part of the strategy)?
Other things to remember:

  • You want to look for sunscreens that have a sun protective factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Make sure the sunscreen says it provides “broad spectrum” coverage against both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every two hours.
  • Sunscreens are no longer able to state that they are “waterproof” and they should also be reapplied after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible and try to do more of your activities earlier in the morning or later in the day versus midday during the sun’s peak hours of intensity.

5 Sunscreen Brands Moms of The Local Moms Network Love!

  1. Blue Lizard – Kids love the cool cap that changes color when UV rays are out!
  2. Bob Brush – The brush-on brush makes application easy (well, easier!).
  3. Badger – This family-owned business is run by two moms and the sticks and creams in their sunscreen line up are super clean and smell great.
  4. ThinkBaby – ThinkBaby as well as ThinkKid Sports are both EWG verified and come in a variety of applications including sprays.
  5. Supergoop! – This popular brand’s 100% Sunnyscreen mineral line is fragrance-free and extra gentle for kids and babies.


More summer inspiration from The North County Moms:

Swimsuit Round-up: 9 One-piece (and Sexy!) Picks

Mommy & Me Matching: Stars and Stripes Edition

How to Make Summer Successful (For Your Martial Artist)

Lauren Geller, MD, pediatric dermatologist

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