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Kids and Babies Should Only Use Mineral Sunscreen, Experts Say

Finding the best sunscreen for kids and babies can be tricky, because everyone has different concerns and preferences. (Sensitive skin? Natural ingredients? Check and check.) Since there are so many options available on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are actually safe for kids.

While the Good Housekeeping Institute doesn't test sunscreens on children, our Beauty Lab experts conduct thorough tests on all types of sunscreens for adults. We use our expertise in sunscreens and consulted with real parents and dermatologists to curate a list of the best sunscreens for kids and babies. But before we get to our recommendations, here are some tips to keep in mind.

How to find safe sunscreens for kids and babies

Mineral sunscreens are typically your best bet, according to Dendy Engelman, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist. Most experts agree that mineral actives are better for sensitive skin types, anyways. Plus, the FDA announced last year that only two ingredients — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — are considered safe and effective for sunscreen use. It's also important to note that there are still 12 sunscreen ingredients that require more data before the FDA can call them safe and effective.

Since the FDA is currently reevaluating its position on the safety and efficacy of certain chemical sunscreen actives, "until they reach a more robust conclusion, we recommend that parents use sunscreens with mineral actives such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on their kids,” says Birnur Aral, Ph.D. and Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab.

And since applying spray sunscreen is difficult enough on adults, you're better off with lotion and stick formulas for kids and babies. Plus, "spray sunscreens don't tend to protect as well as lotions," Dr. Engelman says. These are the best sunscreens for kids and babies in 2020: