Summer is finally here – yay! – and we’re spending more time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather. But, along with the sun comes the need to protect our skin from its harmful UV rays.
While it’s true that we need to use sunscreen all year long, it’s especially important during the summer months. Many people put their trust in the SPF factor on their sunscreen bottle, yet did you know that sunscreen efficacy can vary between brands? As well, the ingredients in sunscreen impact its ability to protect us from UV rays, and many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed by our bodies which can impact our health.
When my first child was born, I became much more aware of sunscreen safety. I did research to find the best products for her delicate baby skin and stumbled upon the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. It has helped me choose sunscreen that’s appropriate for me and my family, and I trust its unbiased testing.
Most of the highest rated sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are mineral-based, containing zinc oxide, which provides the best broad-spectrum UV protection.
Unfortunately, not all sunscreens are created equal, so read my tips for finding the best sunscreen for every member of the family. And, to make it easy, I’ve done the leg work! Click on “Buy it here” next to each product for a link to a Canadian retailer.
Infants & Sunscreen
Sunscreen use is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age; if you want to use it on a young baby, please consult with your health care provider first. Babies under the age of 1 should be kept out of direct sunlight to prevent dehydration and skin damage.
The EWG compiled a list of the top 19 Sunscreens for Kids and 253 Beach & Sport Sunscreens that met their rigorous standards. Some of them are only available in the U.S., or might be tough to find here in Canada, so I’ve listed my top picks which are readily available across the nation. Canadian brands are noted with 🇨🇦. (To view the worst-scoring kids’ sunscreens, click here.)
- Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30 (buy it here)
- Belly Buttons & Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 🇨🇦 (buy it here)
- Goddess Garden Organics Baby Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 (buy it here)
- Kiss My Face Organics Kids Sunscreen, SPF 30 (buy it here)
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50 (buy it here)
- Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry Touch Sunscreen, SPF 50 (buy it here)
- ThinkSport Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+ (buy it here)
- ThinkSport Sunscreen, SPF 50+ (buy it here)
Being prepared for summer days is half the battle! Remember that sunscreen is really a last resort against the sun. Always wear protective clothing when possible (rash guards are a good idea) and try to avoid direct sun during peak times (approx. 11 am – 2 pm). You can read all of Health Canada’s sun safety tips here.
Note: some sunscreens vary greatly between versions, such as Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60, which EWG rates as a 10 (worst rating). In comparison, its 50 SPF counterpart is rated a 1 (best rating; see list above), so be sure to follow the EWG sunscreen guide closely to ensure you’re getting the best product(s) for you and your family.
Lisa is a writer, social media consultant and editor-in-chief of MomResource.ca. She’s a crafty, DIY-loving, fashionista who loves to unwind with a good manicure and an afternoon spent at a museum. Her husband, two kids and dog keep her pretty busy, but in her spare time, you can find her blogging at Fab Frugal Mama.