Safe Sunscreen Guide

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Best Sunscren_Infographic_Guide_800x375(2)

  1. All Good/ 2. Kabana/ 3. California Baby/ 4. Goddess Garden/ 5. Think/ 6. Poofy Organics/ 7. Beautycounter/ 8. Badger/ 9. Babo Botanicals

The overzealous use of sunscreen on kids has likely contributed to the widespread vitamin D deficiencies we see in children — linked to cancer, depression, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and obesity.

I believe we should let our kids (and ourselves) experience small amounts of sunlight on our bare skin. But of course there are many times when we need to use sunscreen to prevent burns (or, in my case, to prevent aging skin!).

sunscreen-felixandme
Felix and me in Mexico in 2010.

Is Sunscreen Toxic?

Conventional sunscreen is loaded with chemicals, including parabens, well-established carcinogens, and oxybenzone, an endocrine disruptor that may generate free radicals when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Some researchers even suspect oxybenzone to be the hidden cause of the increase in melanoma, although most studies have found no such link. Still, add this potential risk to the risk of vitamin D deficiencies, and standard sun safety doesn’t feel so safe.

Note: These days, almost all sunscreen is free of PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), and so this once ubiquitous—and possibly carcinogenic—sunblock ingredient is no longer a concern.

Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

I encourage you to  choose sunscreens that use only mineral ingredients (more on these below), but if you need an entirely clear option, you should know that not all chemical sunscreens are equally bad. Here is a run-down of most common:

⚠️ Avobenzone is Okay Stuff, and the best of chemical sunscreen options. If you choose to use a chemical sunscreen, choose one with avobenzone as the primary active ingredient.

⚠️Octisalate and octocrylene are also both Okay Stuff, without major health concerns, but slightly worse than avobenzone.

❌ Oxybenzone is the really bad ingredient; it causes cellular damage and endocrine disruption. The good news: even Coppertone is free of oxybenzone now! That’s thanks to consumer demand–way to go, you guys!

❌Homosalate is also very Bad Stuff. The European Commission proposes a concentration limit of 1.4 percent for homosalate. U.S. sunscreens are currently allowed to have up to 15% homosalate. Avoid any sun protection product that has this in it.

It’s worth noting that ALL of these ingredients are absorbed into the body after one use, and can still be detected in the blood weeks after their use, according to studies published by the FDA.

Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen Spray from Gimme the Good StuffMy Top Pick for Best Natural Sunscreen

Babo’s spray sunscreen has been a total game-changer for my family, since my kids hate having creams applied. And it’s in a non-aerosol can, and contains nothing concerning.

$21.99 or subscribe and save up to 6%Buy Now

 

Maia Wolfie on balcony aruba copy
Wolfie and me in Aruba in 2014.

Safer Natural Sunscreen…Maybe

It was long-believed that the safest way to avoid sunburn was to use a natural sunscreen that contains “barrier” ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Because the application of such ingredients leaves skin with a telltale white sheen, nanoparticles (i.e. teeny microscopic particles) of each are typically used in sunscreen.

Recent research, however, calls into question the safety of these ingredients, as nanoparticles are small enough to penetrate cell membranes (normally, our cells recognize foreign material as an invader and block it out).

The research: Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are linked to DNA changes and nanoparticles of zinc oxide have been shown to generate free radicals.

If You Do Get a Burn…Babo Botanicals After Sun Hydrating Gel from Gimme the Good Stuff

Most “aloe” gels contain very little, if any, actual aloe vera. This one does, and it offers a soothing solution for sun-exposed skin.

What’s Bigger Than a Nano?

Felix and Wolf Anguilla gimme the good stuff
Wolfie and Felix in Anguilla, 2021.

Instead of nanoparticles, some natural sunscreen producers use “micronized” particles — basically, these are just slightly larger than nanoparticles, but still tiny.

To be exact, a nanoparticle is less than 100 nanometers in diameter, so micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide must be larger than this.

A particle must be 50 nanometers or less to penetrate a cell membrane, by the way. Theoretically, micronized particles should be safe, although at this point you’re probably feeling skittish about all sunscreen!

Sensible Sunburn Protection

Given all the confusing information on sun safety, as well as sunscreen safety, the ideal scenario would be something like this:

Take your child outside each day for ten or fifteen minutes, and then seek shade. This way, you’ve prevented vitamin D deficiencies as well as sunburn. Obviously, this isn’t always possible, and fortunately there are several brands of sunscreen that you can feel good about using. (More on these below.)

Imse Vimse sun clothing gimme the good stuffBetter Than Sunscreen: Sun-Protective Clothing

From hats to full body suits, I like Imse Vimse’s line of non-toxic SPF 50 clothing.

 

Bottom Line on Natural Sunscreen

We sell natural sunscreen in our online store, but I still tell my private clients to let their kids get some sun! Of course I’m not a pediatrician, and you should talk to your own about this — but I think it’s unnecessary and potentially harmful to keep children slathered in sunscreen year-round — even if it’s safe, natural sunscreen.

For what it’s worth, my kids are super pale, go outside daily, never wear sunscreen unless we are at the beach or outside all day, and don’t seem to get sunburns. Their grandfather is black, though, so maybe those genes help even if they didn’t present themselves in any obvious way!

(Read more about natural sunscreen in our blog post on nanoparticles of zinc oxide and melanoma.)

Costa Rica Arenas del Mar beach Gimme the Good Stuff
Felix and Wolfie in sun-protective shirts in Costa Rica, 2018.

Okay, I’m done preaching. Here’s some info on the Good Stuff when it comes to natural sunscreen (plus the Bad and the Sneaky Stuff).


The Good Stuff: Mineral Sunscreen

Good Stuff Badge

3rd rock sunblock kids gimme the good stuff

3rd Rock Natural Sunblock for Kids

I haven’t tried this brand myself, so I cannot speak to how easily it goes on or how well it works – but the ingredients are all safe.

Amazon


All Good Kids Sunscreen Spray from Gimme the Good StuffAll Good Natural Sunscreen

I’m partial to All Good’s spray version, but their sport sunscreen is great because it offers 80 minutes of water resistance. Both versions use non-nano zinc oxide to block the sun, and contain no other ingredients of concern. Many of the ingredients are organic in All Good, so bonus points for that!

$19.99 or subscribe and save up to 10%Buy Now


Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc SPF 30 Spray from Gimme the Good Stuff

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Natural Sunscreen

Babo’s SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion uses non-nano, non-micronized, and more-or-less clear zinc oxide (meaning less white sheen).

NEW for Spring 2016: Babo now also makes a spray-on, 100% zinc sunscreen, which does not contain sodium benzoate.


Babo-clear-zinc-sportstick

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick

Unlike their lotion, Babo’s SPF 30 Sportstick does NOT contain sodium benzoate. It also utilizes non-nano, non-micronized, clear zinc, and is perfect for lips, ears, faces, and babies. I find myself using it on arms and legs, too, as it is the least white of all the Good Stuff.

$11.99 or subscribe and save up to 5%Buy Now


california baby natural sunscreen gimme the good stuff

California Baby

California Baby sunscreens contain more synthetic ingredients than most of the other Good Stuff on our list. Still, CA Baby contains just titanium dioxide rather than chemical sunscreen ingredients, and overall I consider it a safe option.

Amazon


MADE OF Broad Spectrum Sunscreen from Gimme the Good Stuff

Made Of Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Made Of’s Broad Spectrum Sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide instead of chemical sunscreen ingredients. What sets this brand apart is that Made Of tests their products for contamination with heavy metals, parabens, microbes, and more.

Buy Now from Made Of


Green Goo Solar Goo Sun Protection Stick

For those of you who LOVE Green Goo like I do, here’s another product from one of the country’s oldest herbalists. Solar Goo’s simple recipe includes just seven organic ingredients – including soothing calendula flowers to condition the skin.

Solar Goo goes on relatively clear thanks to a generous infusion of coconut oil. I use this on my face, and it’s also great for small babies.

$9.99 or subscribe and save up to 5%Buy Now


Badger Kids Mineral Sunscreen from Gimme the Good Stuff 001Badger Natural Sunscreen

Badger makes a range of sunscreens, all of which are mineral-based and without any Bad Stuff. I am in particular a fan of their formula for kids in SPF 40, but Badger is one of those brand where you can shop their entire line (sunscreen and otherwise) without any concern.


kabana-green-screenKabana Green Screen

This is definitely the very best stuff, from a safety perspective.

Kabana’s Green Screen uses non-nano, non-micronized zinc oxide (so yes, it goes on a bit white). While the sunscreen itself may not be totally transparent, Kabana certainly is — they list the actual size of their zinc oxide particles right on their website, and I’ve had a number of great conversations with Kabana’s founder, Erik (he’s surprisingly accessible and obviously sincerely devoted to his mission of producing safe, green skincare).

Kabana Green Screen is available in SPF 20 or SPF 35, and the latter even contains vitamin D to combat what you’ll lose by using sunscreen. I sort of like using a sunscreen that goes on white, too. I wrote about why in a blog post last summer.

$19.79 or subscribe and save up to 5%Select options


Adorable Baby Sunscreen | Gimme the Good StuffAdorable Baby Natural Sunscreen

I was sent a sample of this sunscreen years ago, and I gave it to my friend, Elleni, who was a new mom. She loved it and has remained loyal to the brand. While it’s very greasy, she said she prefers that over a sticky, chalky zinc-based formula.

Amazon


Goddess Garden Spray Sunscreen for Kids|Gimme the Good Stuff

Goddess Garden Sunny Kids Natural Sunscreen Spray

While normally I am not a fan of anything you spray on (because of course then you’re inhaling the ingredients), the contents of Goddess Garden are safe enough that I feel comfortable recommending this sunscreen. However, it gets a 3 on Skin Deep, which is higher than most of the products I recommend. Goddess Garden uses micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in its formulas. Update: Now Babo and All Good make safe spray sunscreens, I would choose those over Goddess Garden.

Amazon


Beautycounter Sunscreens

Beautycounter-Protect Stick Sunscreen SPF30 Gimme the Good Stuff
Beautycounter’s sun protection products includes a lot of ingredients, including phenoxyethanol (the stick sunscreen does not contain phenoxyethanol). Overall, as is the case with many Beautycounter products, these sunscreens seem safe to me, but they do contain more ingredients than some of the other brands recommended here. On product that I am obsessed with it Beautycounter’s facial sunscreen lotion — I have been using this for years and have not found anything that comes close in terms of performance. There is zero white sheen to this, and it feels legitimately moisturizing instead of chalky.

Shop Beautycounter sun protection


Poofy Organics “The” Sunscreen

Poofy makes a cream, as well as a stick sunscreen. Both have entirely safe ingredients in them, including jojoba oil, shea butter, and only non-micronized zinc oxide as a sun-barrier ingredient.

Buy now from Poofy Organics


thinkbaby sunscreen gimme the good stuff

Thinkbaby Sunscreen

Thinkbaby sunscreen is a top brand in EWG’s datatbase; it doesn’t contain synthetic sun-blocking ingredients, parabens, phthalates, or anything else toxic.

$9.99 or subscribe and save up to 5%Buy Now


Note: Choosing a lower SPF sunscreen, while increasing the risk of sunburn, may combat vitamin D deficiencies, as will delaying application for ten minutes or so after going outside.

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The Bad Stuff

Bad Stuff Badge

Almost all conventional baby sunscreens should be avoided, but below are some of the very worst.

Even the fragrance-free version of Huggies Little Swimmers is toxic, containing a host of parabens; the ones with the higher SPFs are especially bad (and are more likely to contribute to vitamin D deficiencies if overused).

Stay away from all varieties of Coppertone–it has homosalate and synthetic fragrance.

Baby Blanket makes a bunch of different types of sunscreen for kids; all should be avoided (some even contain BHA).

The generic baby sunblocks by Walgreens and CVS also contain parabens, as do those made by No-Ad.

La Roche-Posay sunscreen has a lot of fans — many of you have asked about this one. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the ingredients–lots of synthetics, including PEG chemicals and four kinds of chemical sunscreens.

Rite Aid’s private label sunscreen has retinyl palmitate (linked to cancer) and the aforementioned endocrine disruptor oxybenzone.

Retinyl palmitate is also found in most of Neutrogena’s sunscreen formulations (which also contain synthetic fragrance—AKA phthalates—and oxybenzone). In addition, Neutrogena’s sunscreen was recalled after it was found to be contaminated with carcinogenic benzene.


The Sneaky Stuff

Sneaky Stuff Badge

Alba Botanica’s spray sunscreen smells so good, but contains chemical sunblock ingredients, including avobenzone.

Panama Jack Naturals Baby Sunblock does skip the fragrance, but it can hardly be considered natural, considering it’s full of oxybenzone and numerous parabens.

Blue Lizard contains chemical sunscreen ingredients in addition to zinc oxide. It also contains PEG chemicals, among other ingredients I don’t love.

Avalon Organics Baby was the first brand of sunscreen I used on Felix (we went to Mexico when he was six months old, and I was definitely worried about sunburn there). Now that I’ve exhaustively researched all sunscreen ingredients, I know that while “no parabens” is great, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and neurotoxic benzyl alcohol are not.

EWG gives BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Sunscreen the low score of a 2. This is surprising since the product is loaded with bad ingredients such as octinoxate, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate-60, and lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 methicone. BabyGanics Mineral Sunscreen Stick is a good bet, although it still contains a few ingredients of low concern, and probably utilizes micronized particles of zinc oxide and titanium oxide since it only specifies that it’s non-nano.

Aveeno has done a brilliant job marketing itself as natural. Unfortunately, most of their sunscreens contain oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and synthetic fragrance blends (often made up of dozens of chemicals). Aveeno sunscreen was also recalled after it was found to be contaminated with carcinogenic benzene in this study.

Raw Elements sunscreen is contaminated with carcinogenic benzene, per a 2021 study.

Seventh Generation Wee Baby Sunscreen contains nanoparticles of zinc oxide.

Sun Bum was found to be contaminated with benzene, an established carcinogen.

Kiss My Face makes a range of sunscreens, and some are better than others. The worst of them (such as the aerosol versions) contain chemical sunblockers like endocrine-disrupting octinoxate. Even their mineral formulas contain phenoxyethanol.

Not only does Supergoop! sunscreen contain chemical sun-blocking agents – even in their “mineral” formulas – but it also contains sketchy preservatives like BHT.

You know I love me some TJ’s, but Trader Joe’s spray sunscreen is total Sneaky Stuff.  It contains 15% homosalate, one of the worst chemical sunscreen ingredients.

Whole Foods spray sunscreen is really more Okay Stuff than Sneaky;  all three of the chemical sunscreens it contains are of relatively low concern, but only pure mineral sunscreens are making it into our Good Stuff list.

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181 responses to “Safe Sunscreen Guide”

  1. Do any of the natural sunscreens actually work? I’ve tried several, but get burned every time.

  2. Thank you for the guidance! I just bought the babo botanicals continuous spray but I’m confused as to why it’s shown as non-aerosol on your site? It seems this is an aerosol spray can now that I’ve received it and I’m looking at it in person. Is there another mechanism other than aerosol being utilized?

  3. As a Black woman with Black children, I find most of these sunscreens leave a white cast on our skin. Any feedback on Blackgirl Sunscreen products? They have a kids product as well.

  4. I’m loving the stick sunscreens for my little kids. Just got the Babo sport stick on your reco and love it – it’s clear! I also just got the Waxhead stick. It goes on more white but says it’s reef safe and only 4 ingredients. 1) 25% non-nano Zinc Oxide, 2) Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 3) Certified Organic Beeswax, 4) Certified Organic Vanilla Extract. What do you think of Waxhead?

  5. Hi Maria
    I also need a stronger sunscreen especially for my face. I burn in 10 minutes. Can you recommend anything that is at least 50? What about CeraVe? Please let me know. I’m 60 and I sure don’t want premature skin aging!

    Thank you.
    Terri

  6. Hello PLEASE tell us what ur thoughts are on BABY BUM spf 50 stick? Also have u heard of HAMPTON SUN SPF 70 for kids???

    Please reply

  7. Here’s an option that looks like it may be good stuff. My family doesn’t have much need for sunscreen, but this is what we use when we do. What do you think?

    Butterbean SPF 30 Simple Formula Sunscreen
    https://www.butterbeanorganics.com/collections/butterbean-organics/products/butterbean-spf-30-simple-formula-sunscreen?variant=3014315713

    Active Sunscreen Ingredient: Non-nano Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22%

    Inactive Ingredients:
    *Olea europaea (Olive Fruit) Oil, * Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, * Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Fair Trade Shea) Butter, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E)
    *Certified Organic Ingredients

    Their other sunscreen products have some potentially questionable ingredients in addition to what’s in the “simple formula.”

  8. Hi Maia,

    Id love a recommendation on the best kids sunscreen that is also considered eco friendly (good for the reefs, biodegradeable) and if possible sunscreen that exists in a recyclable container. Does this unicorn of a sunscreen exist?

  9. Don’t you grownup ladies need sunblock/screen. I use two matte brands with different benefits on my face and a different (cheaper) one on my body. I also wear sunblock clothing and hats. Of course, I take vitamin d year-round .in amounts prescribed by my doc after blood work.
    What products would you recommend for me, in and out of swimming?

  10. Hi Maia, how come all the good stuff has such low SPF protection? We live in Miami and my kids are exposed to sunlight every day, ALL YEAR ROUND. Any good products with higher SPF protection? I’m looking for higher than SPF50. THANKS!

  11. Hi, I see you have several Babo Botanicals products listed on the safe list. Babo Botanicals just came out with a new product called Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 50. Can you tell me if this is also something you would recommend on your safe list and will you be selling it in your online store?

  12. Hello, this is a great guide. Do you have any thoughts about Juice Beauty’s Spf30 oil free mineral sunscreen?

  13. What about blue lizard super sensitive? It’s low on the ewg rating? I know it’s different than the regular blue lizard

  14. Hello Maia,
    I saw another question about this brand as well, but I’m very curious about the hello bello brand, it’s available at Walmart which is super convenient for us and it seems reasonably priced. It almost seems to good to be true. Just curious on your thoughts.

    Thank you
    Jamie

  15. Hi Maia,

    Thank you for such an amazing guide! Do you have any recommendations one way or another regarding European sunscreens (using Tinosorb)? I was not a frequent sunscreen user but my extra fair skinned babies led me to Avene and Vichy brands.

    https://www.eau-thermale-avene.sg/suncare/sunscreens/sun-protection-sensitive-skin/spf-50-lotion-for-children
    AVENE THERMAL SPRING WATER (AVENE AQUA). C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE. DICAPRYLYL CARBONATE. METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL TETRAMETHYLBUTYLPHENOL [NANO]. WATER (AQUA). GLYCERIN. BIS-ETHYLHEXYLOXYPHENOL METHOXYPHENYL TRIAZINE. DIETHYLHEXYL BUTAMIDO TRIAZONE. DIISOPROPYL ADIPATE. BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE. CETEARYL ISONONANOATE. LAURYL GLUCOSIDE. POLYGLYCERYL-2 DIPOLYHYDROXYSTEARATE. DECYL GLUCOSIDE. BENZOIC ACID. CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE. CAPRYLYL GLYCOL. CITRIC ACID. DISODIUM EDTA. GLYCERYL BEHENATE. GLYCERYL DIBEHENATE. HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES. HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL GLYCERIDES. POLYACRYLATE-13. POLYISOBUTENE. POLYSORBATE 20. PROPYLENE GLYCOL. SORBITAN ISOSTEARATE. TOCOPHEROL. TOCOPHERYL GLUCOSIDE. TRIBEHENIN. XANTHAN GUM.

  16. Hello,
    Thanks for the helpful list! Just when I think I’m buying the good stuff, I learn about something else. Although, I’d rather know better so I can do better ?. I just became aware of ‘hello bello’ and I was wondering if you deemed that a good/safe sunscreen?

    Thanks!

  17. Maia, what brand do you use for yourself and your husband? Sunscreen always makes my face sting, and vanicream was my favorite. I’m sad to see that it’s sneaky stuff…

  18. Just adding in another request for a review on SunBum’s baby bum sunblock and Glossier. Love your site!

  19. Thanks for the information. While I understand why clean ingredients are important, what I don’t understand is whether the recommended sunscreens have been tested for true sun protection. I live in AZ, so it’s important to have effective and safe sunscreen

  20. curious about raw elements sunscreen? Everything I’ve researched seems to put it on your good stuff list but its missing.

    • Hi, I see you have several Babo Botanicals products listed on the safe list. Babo Botanicals just came out with a new product called Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 50. Can you tell me if this is also something you would recommend on your safe list and will you be selling it in your online store?

  21. I picked up a sunscreen the other day called Bare Republic mineral for my children . I was just curious on your opinion .

  22. Hi!!
    I’m hoping you can help. My 2 year old and I have terribly sensitive eczema prone skin and most sunscreen burns our skin, especially our faces. After much trial and error I had great luck last summer with Vanicream sunscreen but just found out that due to issues with their suppliers they will not have anything in stock until Oct 2018!! I would love to find an SPF 50+ physical sunscreen (not chemical) Do you have any suggestions? The only other one that doesn’t burn is Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby- is that one safe? (I’m pretty sure the answer is no, but it’s approved by the National Eczema Association, and says that their new formula is free of all chemicals, fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and dyes )

    • Hello Katie, have you had any success? I am just now considering the possibility that my daughter’s recent sunburns and eczema have been induced by the sunscreen. Thank you.

  23. Do you have an opinion on alba botanical, kids mineral sunscreen spf30… I know it has some not so good stuff in it but I am so new to all this stuff I don’t really know what to look for. We bought this on a trip because we really had no other options.

  24. Hey!

    I LOVE your site and it has been so helpful. What are you thoughts on SunBum and Glossier Sunscreen? Thank you so much!

  25. Hi Mia,
    Is it possible to buy through your shop online the Bali Bloc SPF 30 Pure Vanilla Sunscreen Stick 100% fron Kabana.???

  26. Here’s the thing about vitamin D deficiency in adults: you must get a blood test. You must ask your doctor to prescribe as much vitamin D as you require (maybe you don’t need any.) You must take the vitamin D if you need it. Melanoma is serious. I’ve had it. A wonderful woman I know died from it. It’s more aggressive in men than women. It’s not a pleasant death.
    In addition to adequate sunscreen, everyone (especially babies) should be wearing sun-protective clothing — not a tee shirt, not a regular straw hat. Melanoma takes about 40 years to develop. Protect your babies and children before they know to protect themselves. Latest info shows greatest danger for skin cancer in the scalp, neck, feet, and ankles–especially for women.
    Do your readers a favor and stop harping on vitamin D deficiency and wimpy levels of SPF.

  27. Could you please share your thoughts about the cancer council’s products.. Specifically the kids formula.
    Thank you!

  28. Hi,

    Thank you so much for all of your posts. You have helped me make so many decisions in choosing products for my baby! I have an 8 month old baby with eczema. I was using blue lizard but would like to switch to a waterproof sunbmscreen that goes on smooth. I’m considering Trukid sport. Any ingredients I should be concerned with here? Also, any thoughts on how easy to apply it might be?

  29. Thank you so much for all your research! It is helping me so much to change my own life and the lives of other around me.

    I was wondering if you knew about the Glossier products. They have a sunscreen that I just purchased for daily use on my face under my makeup. I have been using beautycounter sunscreen but only for the beach! I’d love to know your thoughts. Thank you so much!

    Julie

  30. Hey there! I found RAW elements eco formula spf 30 at the store and EWG had a great 1 rating for it. I think, if I read all the ingredients correctly, it’s a good choice; what do you think?

    P.s j have bought many items off your store and have been so glad with them all–mainly the water filter set up and baby wipes!

  31. Hi Maia,

    Thanks for all of this wonderful information! What are you thoughts on Thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50? (seeing as i just bought 3 of them : /)
    Also, any recommendation for tics? I bought a lint roller (sticky ones) because I hate to add yet another products to roll all over my babies!

    Thank you!

    Stacey

  32. How do you feel about Zebs Organic Sunscreens? Here are the ingredients…

    Non-Nano Zinc Oxide 12%; Coco nucifera* (coconut oil), Olea Europaea* (olive oil), Sunflower Wax, Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), Helianthus Annuus* (sunflower oil) – *indicates organic ingredients

    Thanks!!

  33. I recently bought some of the Babo spray sunscreen, but I am somewhat confused as to why you say you don’t have any concerns over inhaling it. I sprayed some on myself to test it outside and there was a slight breeze and it seemed like it created a mist that got picked up in the wind. When you use it do you never see any type of mist? Thanks!

  34. New 100% Natural Sunblocz- SPF 50
    Sunblocz is a safe and natural alternative to chemical sunscreens
    • Safe – contains 100% all- natural ingredients
    • Effective – 50+ SPF, Highest sun protector factor
    • Broad Spectrum UVA & UVB protection
    • Very water resistant – 80 minutes
    • No Artificial Fragrance
    • Hypoallergenic – safe for sensitive skin
    • Does not sting eyes
    • Repels mosquitos and bugs
    • Clinically tested per FDA OTC Sunscreen Monograph regulations
    • Dermatologist recommended
    • FDA Registered
    • Patent Protected

  35. What do you think of the 100% pure Yerba mate mist? Here are the ingredients that were on their website:
    active ingredients: Zinc 12 % Inactive ingredients: Bentonite, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco Glucoside, Vegetable Glycerin, Heptyl Undecylenate, Ilex Paraguariensis (Yerba Mate) Leaf Extract, Jojoba Ester, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Water

    Thanks!

      • Ok, thank you for looking at it! I’ve been using the badger cream sunscreen for my 19 month old, but was looking for a spray. Which one is best for kids?

  36. What do you think about Thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+? It is top rated by EWG skin deep database with a “1” rating for quite a few years in a row. Its free of biologically harmful chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone, paraben, phthalate, paba and UV chemical absorbers.

    Would you rate this as “Good”, “Bad” or “Sneaky” stuff?

    Regards,
    Sushil

  37. Hi Maia, your product guides and research are the best. I look forward to every new update I receive! I was gifted “Hampton Sun for Baby” and was wondering if it’s “good stuff” or if one of the sunscreens you list is better. The ingredients I think are fine (listed below) but I wasn’t able to find if it has nano-particles. My daughter is 6 months and I’m also concerned about sunscreen irritating her eyes and getting in her mouth since her hands, feet, etc. constantly touch her face. Hoping you have time to respond, thanks in advance!!

    Active ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.0%, Zinc Oxide 12.0%
    Inactive ingredients: Beeswax, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Chathamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Chamomilla Rectita (Matricaria) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower)

    • Hi Laura!
      These ingredients look fine, although as you mentioned, if it doesn’t specify non-nano then it probably isn’t.

  38. Maia, thank you so much for your research and making it available to help so many of us! I am wondering – what do YOU use for a daily facial sun protection?
    I appreciate your feedback.

  39. Hello,
    After reading about your suggested options for the least toxic sunscreen spray I am still unsure which might be best for my kids. They are 11 and 5 and have only ever used California baby , however after so many years of traveling to the Caribbean and having to apply every 30 min and as thick as it is I would LOVE a spray option . Rubbing the thick white lotion son their little sandy bodies is torture for them and us… what would you suggest in sprays that would need the least rubbing in and provide the best protection… we are all very fair skinned.
    Thanks for your time .
    Claudette

  40. Hi what about Matter Company Baby Sun Care Creme

    ngredients:

    Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 20%

    Other Ingredients: helianthus annus* (sunflower seed oil), calendula officinalis* (pot marigold) flower, hypericum perforatum* (St. John’s Wort) flowers, simmondsia chinensis* (jojoba) seed oil, sesamum indicum* (sesame)seed oil, camellia oleifera* (green tea) extract, vitis vinifera* (grape) seed extract, glycerine (vegtable), butyrospermum parkii * (shea butter), tocopherol (vitamin E), xanthan gum, leuconostoc (radish root ferment filtrate), deionized water, essential oils of lavandula angustifolia (lavender), citrus aurantium dulcis (orange), pelargonium graveolens (geranium), cymbopogon martini (palmarosa) and menthe (mint).

    *Certified organic

    Says essential oils naturally repel against insects?

  41. Be careful about anything labeled non-nano zinc that looks clear. THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

    It gets confusing because these labels are just claims. The FDA has no laws about nano-particles in personal care products. And heads up, micronized products contain nano-particles. This is because micronized particles range from 70nm-300nm in size. Anything under 100nm is a nano-particle. The EU and Australia have laws about what percentage of micronized particles can be nano-sized before you can make a non-nano claim. The US does not. To add to the sordid mix, a company in Australia makes a “non-nano” zinc that is actually nano-sized particles that are then “glued” together to make a more clear looking sunscreen product.

    If all of this gets overwhelming or if you just hate chemistry and always have, just remember this one fact: There is no “special” or “proprietary” method that can make non-nano zinc clear. If a sunscreen has true non-nano zinc, it will have a whitish cast. And for me, that is preferable to risking DNA damage from nano-zinc in my sunscreen.

  42. Thank you soo much for your thorough research Maia! I am so appreciative and loving your site. I would be so interested to know your thoughts on the best natural bug sprays!

  43. Hi there, please share your thoughts on Banana Boat, Thinkbaby or Cerave sunscreen for 16 month old with sensitive skin. He gets sunburned so easily: we are African living in a moderate climate in Nairobi but his cheeks and bridge of his nose get that shiny burnt look…and I am so worried! We were given Neutrogena sunscreen but after checking out your site, learning about oxybenzone, I got more diligent about what I put on his skin. Someone brought us cerave spf 45 from the US but I didn’t like the ingredients in their lotion from before…please advise us!!

    • I would ask your pediatrician before applying sunscreen on a child that young, but for my own children I did use Kabana Green Screen on them.

  44. We are going to the beach and my baby will be 10 weeks old. I bought him the clothing that has spf in it and have a hat and will keep him in the shade, but was wondering if you think I should also put sunscreen on him and if yes, which type. You mention that you like Kabana Green Screen the best for kids but under the Good Stuff you specifically mention that Babo Botanicals is good for babies. Any thoughts? We are going to Florida (the Gulf side where Zika has been detected one time) and while it is my best intention to keep us and the baby covered with light clothing, any advice on using a bug spray on us or the baby? I saw that you recommend a kind with chemical in it for adults due to the Zika Virus but what about baby? Thank you so much for your time! And your website…we really appreciate you doing the leg work on all these products!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words:). I’m glad the site has been useful! I do worry about Zika for babies (my husband hosts a podcast that interviewed a doctor on this topic: http://stemcellpodcast.com/ep-65-zika-virus-stem-cells-featuring-dr-arnold-kriegstein)…I would ask your pediatrician if a picaridin insect repellent is safe for your baby (I have this one: http://amzn.to/2bEI9My). Otherwise you could try a natural option, which would be better than nothing, but which needs to be reapplied often. As for sunscreen, the main reason I like Kabana is because it contains vitamin D (which is absorbed transdermally, and might offset the deficiencies caused by our avoidance of the sun and sunscreen use!). Babo is also a great choice;)

  45. I’ve been looking for a natural alternative to a low spf sunscreen. I like to tan(I know it’s bad but a tan allows me to not use other chemical laden things like make up.) Normally at the beach I use a SPF 15 and sometimes a SPF 4 – 8 on my legs, and can’t find any natural product that are that low. I did find Tropical Sands, have you ever used them, are they good? I would like to use something to keep me from burning but still allow a tan to develop. I’ve also heard of using just plain coconut oil for sunscreen does that really work?

    • I know people who’ve used just coconut oil and swear that it works but I haven’t tried it myself. I just checked out Tropical Sands, and it looks like Good Stuff!

  46. Maia,

    What do you think of Dr. Mercola’s broad spectrum sunscreen? It says it has no nanoparticles.

    Thanks!
    Kadie

  47. Hi Maia,
    Of the two Good Stuff sprays, are either ‘lighter’ in terms of avoiding pore blockage? I’ve been a Greenscreen loyalist for years but just last week our 2-yr old enjoyed more beach time than usual and after 2 days of liberal Greenscreen use he developed a heat rash, we think because his skin couldn’t breath in the heat. He also has milder eczema so we were perplexed on the conflicting remedies (moisture for eczema, dryness for heat rash).
    Wondering if anyone else has experienced the same and were more successful with either spray. Thanks!

  48. Hi there!

    Would you mind suggesting an effective, non-toxic sunblock that I could use in the desert in July in Death Valley, California? I am fair skinned and have sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts. (All of this sounds like a dangerous combination, right?!) I’m trying to be as prepared in advance as possible! Thank you for any suggestions!

  49. Hi Maia,

    What are your thoughts on the Rocky Mountain Sunscreen (either the SPF 30 or 50)? http://www.rmsunscreen.com/128OunceGallonSPF50Kids.aspx

    I found a score of 3 on EWG.org for the SPF 30 version but I am not sure if that is the “natural” version that is listed. http://www.rmsunscreen.com/images/2015_website/PDF/RMS%20SPF30%20Natural%20Ingredients.pdf

    Can you tell me if you have heard of this brand or if the ingredients look safe to use on a infant and toddler?

    Thank you for all the hard work that you do and all the great information you provide!

    Julie

  50. Do you have any recommendations for insect repellents for babies? I’ve been looking through your site (love it!) and can’t find any. Thank you!

  51. Acure for 9 month old versus Babo, do you have a preference and why? I have actually been using Badger, but I feel like she got too much color and I applied pretty liberally.

    • I wouldn’t call it Sneaky exactly, but I don’t love that it has phenoxyethanol and a PEG chemical. Overall, still a decent choice.

  52. I actually reviewed the Honest Co. sunscreen in this guide. I don’t know the other brand, but will add to my list!

    • I love Belly Buttons & Babies sun screen, it has the most production and less ch locals then other brands. The only issue is it has expiration date. It only lasts a year.

  53. Hello,

    A friend just told me about the Honest Co. sunscreen… but after reading the ingredient list, I am not 100% convinced because there are a couple ingredients that I researched and it’s making me question how natural the product is. Do you have feedback on this brand?

    Also – I found this brand today (http://bellybuttonsandbabies.com/) that I really feel confident about regarding it’s safety and purity after reading the ingredient list. I would like to know if you’ve heard of it and any feedback you may have.

    Thank you 🙂

  54. Hi there, I LOVE your website! There are so many types of Badger sunscreen. Does it matter what one I purchase? I’m looking for a sunscreen I can use on myself and my 6 month old baby. I was looking at Badger Unscented Sunscreen Cream. But I see there is also a Badger Chamomile Baby Sunscreen Cream. Do I need this “baby” sunscreen in particular, for use on my 6 month old? Thank you so much.

    • Any of the Badger line is safe for kids and adults–but ask your pedi for a baby that young:).

  55. What are your thoughts on majestic pure baby sunscreen? The website is http://www.majesticpure.com.

    Ingredients
    Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide – 24.7%; Ingredients: Grape Seed Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (from Coconut Oil), Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Stearic Acid (from Palm Oil), Purified Water

  56. I love Babo products but found their sunblock too thick to apply on my squirming kids. The spray would be a game-changer. You don’t have any concerns about young children inhaling the spray? My youngest are 2 years old and 6 months old. And in practice is it as effective as the lotion?

    • We’ve found it to be totally effective and a game changer. It’s not aerosoled mist like other spray sunscreens, so no concerns about inhalation. You’ll see when you try it.

  57. Hi! Any thoughts on ThinkBaby? After a first glance, and considering it was an emergency/quick purchase, I’m hoping you don’t tell me it’s a sneaky one… it’s rated a 1-2 on EWG but the data is limited. Thank you for all you do!!! Your formula evaluation relieved so much of my anxiety when my supply dipped below my son’s needs. I really appreciate how thorough you are!

  58. What are some alternatives to neosporin for kids scrapes and cuts to disinfect ?

    I want to put together a little first aid kit for my kids would love some advice on this

    • I’m not a big fan. Their sunscreen has a lot of ingredients, many synthetic. I think there are better options.

  59. I was looking at the babo sunscreens on their website, and it doesn’t list sodium benzoate as an ingredient for the lotions. Are they new formulas, or am I missing something?

  60. Any recommendations from the good stuff list for an Indian baby, 7 months old? (I mention race because our skins react differently to the sun, that’s all 🙂 )

    • Hi there! I’m sorry but my babies are so fair (despite a Caribbean grandfather!) that I really only have experience on very white skin. I would ask your pediatrician for specific recommendations, but I imagine any of the Good Stuff would be appropriate for an Indian baby:).

  61. Hi!
    I’m trying to decide between the Babo and the Acure, both in spray. The Babo advertises “Sheer”, can the same be said for the Acure? I tried the honest company spray last year (out of desperation for something quick and easy) and it still sprayed on thick white. Thanks!

    • The Acure doesn’t come out of the canister clear (no mineral sunscreen will), but it’s very thin and when rubbed in does not leave a white sheen.

  62. Hi!! Thank you so much for all the information. Your website has been a Godsend over the last 8 months with our new little one. I am about to order the new Babo spray. Do you feel the spray is fine for an 8 month old? I know in the past you have mentioned you didn’t love sprays because of the fact that we breath it in. Thank you!!

    • Yes, these sprays don’t spray the same way an aerosol can of Coppertone does. You don’t inhale it (you’ll see what I mean when you try it).

  63. I love your website, and really appreciate you sharing your research and knowledge with other mommas out there that just want whats best for their little ones! 🙂 how do u feel about the new/ reformulated honest company mineral sunscreen spf 50?

    • Unfortunately, this is Sneaky Stuff (it has all those chemical sunscreen ingredients I recommend you avoid, above).

  64. Love your website!!

    My baby will be 4 months at the beginning of summer here. What sunscreen do you recommend for a baby that young?

    Thanks!

      • I love your website it makes my life of research so much easier.

        I had ordered the solar goo for my 9 month old. But the several call outs about contacting poison control if ingested kind of freaks me out. What ingredient would this be fore? All my baby does is stick her hands, arms, feed etch in her mouth.
        Thanks
        Niki

        • I reached out to the woman who makes Solar Goo and here is what she had to say: “Great question. It is standard on the Drug Fact Panel to state this on all packaging. From our research all of our ingredients if rubbed into the babies skin and if absorbed it is okay if her/him hands and feet are in their mouth off and on. If the child were to eat the whole stick or tin then that is where it would be appropriate to call regarding the ingredients due to the amount.”

  65. My baby has very sensitive skin and we use Vanicream products to soothe eczema. Any thoughts on their sunscreen?

    • I recently saw a new sunscreen (to me at least it is new lol) named thinkbaby. It was rated a 0 on the think dirty app, but I wanted to see your thoughts. We currently use badger, but I like that I can find this in the grocery store.
      Thanks in advance!

      Ps I couldn’t find where to comment, hence the “reply” ?

      • It’s fine, but I do think Badger has an even cleaner ingredients list. Also anything I’ve listed under The Good Stuff:)

      • I’m on vacay in Mexico using thinkbaby. No sunburns but i won’t be applying it to my baby’s cheeks again. He rubbed it in his eyes and he cried for a minute. Using it on my skin though, dries clear ish!

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