The Best Pregnancy-Safe Sunscreen

Safely sun your bump

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 9th, 2021

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The sun is shining, and you’re eager to show off your lovely baby bump. Before you pop into that adorable sundress and flip flop combo, remember that now’s the time to be slathering yourself in ultra-clean and environmentally friendly sun protection.

Have an inkling that your old go-to SPF is going to spark your morning sickness, give you acne, and hurt your unborn baby?

We’re here to squash your fears (though each of them is warranted) by offering you sound, expert-backed advice and five of our all-time favorite sunscreens for gestation and beyond.

How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen

Listen up, ladies! The American Academy of Dermatology has released data that suggests one in every five Americans will develop cancer before the age of 70. We haven’t even mentioned wrinkles, age spots, and loose skin, and we’re already searching for SPF!

We don’t want to sound like alarmists, but skin health is SUPER important. This guide is designed to give you an extra sense of security when your shopping for sun protection during pregnancy.

Sunscreen ingredients to avoid during pregnancy

If there’s ever a time that you should be reading ingredient labels, pregnancy is it. Researchers have made some alarming discoveries concerning the use of common chemical sunscreens during pregnancy.1Differences in Organic, Natural, and Health Foods
healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Differences-in-Organic-Natural-and-Health-Foods.aspx

Unfortunately, oxybenzone is not the only one of the ingredients that researchers are wary of. Below, we’ve included a complete list of ingredients that expectant moms should be avoiding.

If you’re looking for a way to make fitness fun for your kiddos, a Fitbit or other fitness tracker might be the answer. Here are five of the best-seeling options for kids!

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Benzophenone-2 (BP-2)
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone
  • Retinyl palmitate (vitamin A)
  • Parabens

Is sunscreen safe during pregnancy?

Yes, girl! There are boatloads of pregnancy-safe sunscreen options out there. Since expecting mommas are just as susceptible to the sun’s powerful UV rays, there’s no reason to avoid this health essential.

Your best options for sun protection during gestation are physical sunscreens. These substances contain pregnancy-safe active mineral ingredients, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They deflect the sun’s rays without penetrating the outer layer of your epidermis (that’s science speak for skin). With physical sunscreens, you don’t have to worry about chemical ingredients leeching into you or your fetus.

Is zinc oxide safe during pregnancy?

Zinc oxide is commonly found in sunscreens, oral supplements, and diaper rash creams. The Food and Drug Administration has approved this compound and titanium dioxide for use in pregnancy-safe physical sunscreens. So, go ahead and slather it on your baby bump!

Related: The Best Pregnancy Deodorants

What to look for in a pregnancy safe sunscreen?

Now that you know that you need a physical sunscreen during pregnancy, let’s look at a few other essential sun protection considerations.

SPF

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.2Farberg, A. S., Glazer, A. M., Rigel, A. C., White, R., & Rigel, D. S. (2017). Dermatologists’ perceptions, recommendations, and use of sunscreen. JAMA dermatology, 153(1), 99-101.
aad.org

Higher SPFs might block more of the sun’s UVB rays, but that doesn’t mean that they’re more long-lasting or resilient.

Application

While experts continue to evaluate the use of spray sunscreens, statistics show that lotions provide the best overall coverage. Meanwhile, roll-on applicators and bars are well-suited for the face.

Water resistance

Manufacturers must add extra ingredients to sunscreens in order to make them water-resistant. Still, water-resistant sunscreen is essential if you plan on swimming or sweating (how could you not) during your pregnancy.

Broad spectrum

Broad-spectrum sunscreen blocks both types of damaging UV light: UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going to make a sacrifice for your bundle of joy, don’t let it be your skin. Extended exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause burns, wrinkles, age spots, and even cancer.

Related: The Best Maternity Swimsuits: Flattering and Functional

How to protect your skin during pregnancy

Future moms, listen up! This is how you protect your skin from the sun:

  • Apply sunscreen to your face every morning.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, rash guard, and sunglasses to cover your precious head and shoulders.
  • Be wary of conditions, such as water, sweat, and sand. These elements could strip your protective coverage, leaving you to suffer under the sun’s rays.

Our top picks of the best pregnancy safe sunscreen

Best Overall

Our opinion

We’re all about products that are safe for moms and babies. This broad-spectrum SPF 50 zinc oxide sunscreen by ThinkBaby (check price on Amazon) is suitable for sun-lovers of all ages. It meets our highest standards for all-natural products and is even safe for reef swimming. Not to mention, it earned the Environmental Working Group’s product rating.

The white cream is easy to distribute. While it does leave a faint sheen on the surface of the skin, it is never sticky or chalky.

If anything, it left our skin feeling revitalized and hydrated. What’s more, its faint tropical fruit smell is to die for.

Kids can even pair this Fitbit with a nearby smartphone to receive call and text notifications. However, since the watch does not have a built-in GPS, you won’t be able to use it to locate your child.

This product is durable enough to be worn during physically intensive activity sessions, including swimming, showering diving. Moreover, it boasts a remarkably long battery life. In fact, one charge translates to as many as five days of power.

What we love
  • It does not contain any nasty chemicals.
  • As an added bonus, it contains skin-nourishing plant-based oils.
  • The white cream is easily absorbed by the skin.
Watch for
  • It may leave a faint white cast over your skin.

Best for Sensitive Skin

Our opinion

This broad-spectrum sunscreen (check price on Amazon)  offers some serious protection from the sun’s UV rays. Feel free to lather this fast-absorbing SPF 50 from your head to your toes (if you can still reach them).

It’s formulated to resist water and sweat for up to 80 minutes, which is essential to prego mommas who long to stay active during all three trimesters.

Plus, it does contain any octinoxate, a yucky chemical that’s known to mess with reproductive health.

As an added bonus, it contains all-natural ingredients that can help your skin combat inflammation. Since this product is capable of sticking to sweaty moms, we’re confident that it will also be one of your top choices when it comes to protecting your stubborn, clammy offspring.

It’s also one of the smoothest sunscreens we tested, which is saying something considering it’s a physical blocker.

What we love
  • It offers up to 80 minutes of water resistance
  • It keeps skin feeling soft and hydrated.
  • It contains several soothing plant oils and extracts.
Watch for
  • The citrus scent (though very subtle) might trigger your morning sickness

Best for Dry Skin

Our opinion

For women that aren’t lucky enough to experience that tell-tale pregnancy glow, there’s always Neutrogena’s Sensitive Skin mineral sunscreen (check price on Amazon).

This product spectrum mineral formula utilizes naturally sourced titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to offer expecting mommas (future daddies protect yourselves too) over 60 SPF of protection.

The hypoallergenic cream is safe for all over. If you’re trying to avoid breakouts, you’ll appreciate that it is both fragrance- and oil-free.

Thinking about going for a swim or feeling sweaty? You get 80 minutes of water resistance!

What we love
  • It offers up to 80 minutes of water resistance
  • It is easy to distribute.
  • It locks in moisture to keep skin from shriveling up.
Watch for
  • It leaves behind a slight white cast.

Best Sunscreen Stick

Our opinion

Babyganics (check price on Amazon) is a 100% organic, all-mineral sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. This is some seriously clean stuff here, mommas. There are absolutely no phthalates, parabens, or nano-particles in Babyganic sunscreens/

Plus, what’s no to love about a solid stick applicator?

The all-natural pressed seed oil blend left our skin feeling soft, supple, and sunburn-free.

The stubby green sunscreen stick has major diaper bag potential, because who wants to deal with deep pocket spills?

What we love
  • This is an organic mineral-based formula.
  • It offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
  • It's just the right size for purses and diaper bags.
Watch for
  • It's not suitable for whole-body coverage

Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen for Face

Our opinion

Capping off the end of our list, we have a sunscreen that you can totally trust to protect your face. This silky white cream glides on easy and blends in fast. No pour-clogging chemicals here!

MDSolarScience (check price on Amazon) utilizes a proprietary zinc oxide and titanium dioxide blend to form a protective barrier over your skin. Meanwhile, green tea, cranberry, and pomegranate extracts serve as natural anti-aging supplements.

What we love
  • The thick, white cream offers excellent pregnancy-safe coverage.
  • This sunscreen won't disturb those with sensitive skin.
  • It helps prevent premature aging and skin cancer
Watch for
  • It has a faint oil smell.
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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 9th, 2021

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