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The Safest Sunscreens for Kids – 2011 Update

June 2nd, 2011 · No Comments · Gear

Read my 2009 article first for information on my sun protection crusade, basic sunscreen use, and a review of a few sunscreens.

Since 2009′s review of the safest sunscreens for kids, I have had one more skin cancer found and removed. Mirielle is acquiring freckles but still maintains a pasty white glow.  I have also tried out and investigated more sunscreens and have new favorites.

Sunscreen Reviews

Note – all sunscreens mentioned are SPF 30 or higher, paraben-free, and do not use chemical sunscreens.  (Find out why here.)

Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby. We tried the Neutrogena Baby sunscreens I mentioned in 2009.  I was especially excited by the stick sunscreen which a three year old can self-apply and they can be stashed in purses, glove compartments and backpacks so it is always around.  It is available in a wide variety of stores and goes on sale. Importantly, I found the Neutrogena Baby stick sunscreen provided effective sun protection.  No freckles appeared after an hour of kicking a soccer ball around in an open, sunny field.  It did, however, cause a light rash on Mirielle (though not on me) so we didn’t stock up.

Tru Kid Sunny Days. We sent Mirielle off to preschool in 2009 with a bottle of TruKid SPF 30. Rated one of the safest by EWG and about the same cost as Neutrogena Baby and Vanicream. It was available at retail in the Bay Area, CA, but definitely not in Connecticut, so I buy it online when there are specials or free shipping.  Since I first purchased TruKid, it has changed its formulation and now the liquid is a cream which goes on thicker and leaves a ghosty glow at application but fades quickly on light colored skin. We used TruKid as Mirielle’s primary sunscreen last summer and throughout our India trip with excellent results and no adverse skin reaction (A few more freckles but no sun burn and only a touch of color).

October 18, 2010, Before India

October 18, 2010, Before India

November 29, 2010, At the end of our India trip.

November 29, 2010, At the end of our India trip.

What I really love about TruKid is the stick! A touch on the greasy side, but I have learned that slickness helps kids with self-application.  The stick has a yellow tint which is great for darker colored skin.  The tubes of sunscreen comes in 3.5oz and TSA carry-on  friendly 2.0oz sizes. And, TruKid is water resistant.

Kiss My Face Kids. The 100% natural SPF 30 sun stick for kids comes in clear, pink and blue.  The pink and blue stay colored so it’s easy to tell when it’s time to reapply and if a spot is missed.  The clear went on more white than clear and greasy.  I only used it a couple of times but it seemed to pass the freckle test, leaving behind no new ones after an hour on the soccer field. I keep the one I bought to try in my glove compartment for emergencies, but it’s a last resort.

Elemental Herbs Zinc Sunstick. I have been hooked on their organic lip balm for years and was very excited to see that they finally came out with a higher SPF, chemical free sunscreen stick and ordered one when I restocked my lip balm. It goes on a little oily, but clear and the oils absorb within 15 minutes. I’m happy with it but haven’t tried it on Mirielle yet.

California Baby Sunscreens. I am a huge fan of California Baby products and am still buying the body wash and moisturizers for Mirielle. However, both the stick and lotion sunscreens were a big FAIL for us. The lotion is very thick and went on like I was applying paste, but I had higher hopes for the unscented stick. Freckles quickly appeared the first day we used the products.  After a couple more days trying very carefully to make sure it was properly applied, I didn’t have any better results and discontinued use.

Recommended by readers:

Dr. Robin For Kids. Dr. Robin’s sunscreens have a cult following in Southern California and get very good reviews from users who say it goes on easily and is effective. It has limited availability, but can be ordered online

Burt’s Bees Chemical Free Sunscreen. Widely available and free of chemical sunscreens and parabens, a reader commented “works but it’s a horrendous consistency.”

GO!Screen. A powder, mineral sunscreen similar to my favorite Sunforgettable but at half the price! This is on my list to try when my current powder sunscreen runs low.

What do we use now?

Mirielle uses TruKid Sunny Days cream on her body, neck and parts of her face and the TruKid Sunny Days stick on her face.  I use TruKid when we travel or if I am getting dressed at the same time Mirielle is and just apply to both of us. The rest of the time I apply Vanicream in the morning and keep my Sunforgettable brush in my purse for touch ups throughout the day. Our cars are stocked with stick sunscreens – Kiss My Face, Elemental Herbs and TruKid.

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