Top Baby & Kids Sunscreens: The 2021 SkinSAFE™ Shoppers’ Choice Awards

The first-ever personal care products award program recognizing the safest products for sensitive skin.

By Eunice Lee, PharmD & David A. Mays, PharmD, MBA
May 28, 2021

With almost 54% of mothers reporting that their children have sensitive skin, finding products like sunscreens that are both safe for use in babies and children and ones that won't irritate their skin can be a challenge. Summer fun is just around the corner, so it’s even more important for parents to be properly equipped to choose the right sunscreen formula - one that protects and is quick and easy to use. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, SkinSAFE has dedicated a whole category of its 2021 SkinSAFE Shoppers’ Choice awards to sunscreens for babies and children. Less than 1% of all sunscreen products reviewed and labeled for little ones made the list, making this category the most exclusive yet.

The SkinSAFE™ SHOPPERS’ CHOICE Awards is the first-ever product award program that recognizes the safest and most popular products for sensitive skin. Created with the goal of providing an accurate tool for consumers’ personal care shopping in mind, making confident skincare choices for the entire family has never been easier.  Developed in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, SkinSAFE leverages over 20 years of real-world clinical skin testing data to help people with sensitive skin find products that meet their sensitive skin needs and avoid products that may contain potential allergens and irritants. 

The experts at SkinSAFE evaluated over 1,400 sunscreens segmented into facial, body, and kids/baby, looking for the best of the best in each category. If you are interested in body or facial sunscreens just click the links. All sunscreens for children finalists had to have a SkinSafe safety score of 100%, an American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommended SPF 30+, and be at the top of the SkinSAFE safety scoring system which augments the already strict 100% with an additional 130+ factors which can cause irritation and allergy. Top scoring products were then chosen and independently assessed based on consumer engagement and popularity with our engaged SkinSAFE community of sensitive skin consumers. Our SkinSAFE experts also evaluated the products first hand since what looks good scientifically may not be easy to use. 

Mineral sun filters have dominated professional recommendations and consumer preferences when it comes to choosing sunscreens for children and babies. As a result, the top 5 SkinSAFE Shoppers' Choice baby/kids sunscreen winners are all mineral-based. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of sunscreens in children >6 months of age and stresses the importance of smart sun safety practice for everyone, especially for young children. Sun safety tips include, but are not limited to:

  • use of clothing to block UV light;

  • avoidance of sun when UV rays are most intense from 10 am - 2 pm;

  • use of umbrellas, hats, and sunglasses as physical protection barriers;

  • Reapply every 2-3 hours during sun exposure, as well as after swimming, toweling off, or sweating.

The top 5 Baby and Kids SkinSafe Sunscreen Shoppers’ Choice Award winners are listed below in no particular order. Please sign up at www.skinsafeproducts.com/shoppers-choice to receive the full list of awardees and to be notified of future Shoppers’ Choice Awards.

1/10
  • Type of sunscreen: Mineral
  • Solid, stick formulations of sunscreens have been on the market for many years and are still a great option that should not be overlooked. They offer the ability to apply sunscreen quickly and easily with no spillage, and are terrific for children who want to “do it by themselves!” It’s a great way to get your kids into applying SPF responsibly and have fun while doing so. This SPF 50 sunscreen stick uses 100% naturally sourced zinc oxide and is sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Formulated with skin conditioning oat kernel oil, this sunscreen is easy to use and most importantly, easy to pack.  No worries about it leaking in your beach bag!
$12.19
2/10
  • Type of sunscreen: Mineral
  • Formulated with vitamin E and zinc, this sunscreen stick by Neutrogena packs a powerful, broad-spectrum SPF 50+ in an easy-to-use applicator. Its sheer formula leaves no whitening residue and you won’t find any parabens or fragrance here. With 21.6% zinc oxide, it’s one of the highest concentrations found in any of the SkinSAFE Shoppers’ Choice winners. Apply this liberally about 15 minutes before sun exposure and repeat application every 2 hours. With a twist-up design, even little hands can help you apply this sunscreen and in a pinch. 
$16.79
3/10
  • Type of sunscreen: Mineral
  • CoTZ Baby SPF 40 is a non-tinted gentle sunscreen that is formulated with 20% zinc oxide. It’s recommended by pediatric dermatologists and comes in a soft, sheer cream that makes it really easy to apply, even for children who are constantly on the go. Vitamin E and glycerin (a humectant) are skin-loving ingredients that help protect and hydrate your baby’s delicate skin.
$25
4/10
  • Type of sunscreen: Mineral
  • If you don’t know Mustela, you should. The pharmacist-founded, French brand has been focused on infant and children products for over 70 years. This fragrance-free mineral sunscreen is a favorite of our SkinSAFE sensitive skin families and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. If you have children that swim like guppies, be sure to reapply this sunscreen every 2 hours as recommended. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and glycerin, this sunscreen sounds a lot like a fantastic moisturizer!
$16.50
5/10
  • Type of sunscreen: Mineral
  • Banana Boat products immediately make any of us nostalgic for summertime fun. This broad-spectrum, SPF 50+ sunscreen is a pleasure to use and the active ingredients are a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It’s is oxybenzone and paraben-free as well. Its tear-free formula also makes applying this sunscreen to your child’s face less of a struggle! With skincare goodies like glycerin and vitamin E, this product is approved by the National Eczema Association and is available at a price point that won’t break the bank. We know this sunscreen will be a favorite among both kids AND adults this summer!
$12.99

References:

*Misery, L., Taïeb, C., Brenaut, E., Huet, F., Abasq-Thomas, C., Sayag, M., & Bodemer, C.. (2020). Sensitive Skin in Children. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 100(1), 1–2. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-3376.

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