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The Best Sunscreens to Protect Kids and Babies From Sun Damage

Finding the best sunscreen for your whole family can be tricky, because everyone has different concerns and preferences. (Sensitive skin? Check. Natural ingredients? Check.) And then you have to worry about actually applying it on your kid!

The general rule of thumb for babies younger than 6 months is to try to avoid the sun as much as possible and to consult a doctor before using sunscreen on them. For kids, you'll want to have it on 'em at least 20 minutes before going outside. "Apply a lot more than you think," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist. As in, use a golf ball-size amount for body and enough to fill a shot glass for face.

Reapplying often and after swimming or sweating: "If you're applying the correct amount every two hours, then a 6-ounce bottle may only last the first couple days of your beach vacation," says Dr. Engelman. 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," she says.

Mineral sunscreens are typically your best bet for sunscreens, according to Dr. Engelman. And in case you haven't heard yet, the FDA just announced that only two ingredients - both minerals - are considered safe and effective until further notice: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. (Additionally, the Environmental Working Group doesn't like sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, so you might choose to avoid those, too.) 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 these are some pretty major claims, the Good Housekeeping Institute weighed in. "Some of the active ingredients in sunscreens have raised concerns, and the FDA is currently reevaluating its position on the safety and efficacy of certain chemical sunscreen actives," says Birnur Aral, Ph.D. and Director of the Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab. "Until they reach a more robust conclusion in late 2019, we recommend that parents use sunscreens with mineral actives such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on their kids.”

So while the Good Housekeeping Institute hasn't tested sunscreens on kids and babies yet, these are some of the best options out there - including picks that parents on our team actually use on their little ones.