Protect yourself and your baby by using the best sunscreens for pregnancy. Being pregnant can make your skin more prone to sunburns. It also puts you at risk of melasma (chloasma), an excess of pigment which causes discoloration.
But sunburn and hyperpigmentation aren’t the only challenges. Hormonal changes may cause acne breakouts and itchy, dry skin. It only gets more complicated when you consider how many irritants are in the average sunscreen. So what’s a pregnant woman to do?
You can choose a sunscreen that’s safe for pregnancy. For example, avoid any that contain retinoids (retinol, tretinoin, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Linoleate, retinoic acid) because they sensitize your skin and could cause birth defects.
Next, beta hydroxy acids which are great for exfoliating and cleansing your pores are also a no-no. For instance, salicylic acid will make it easier for you to burn. Unfortunately, some face sunscreens for oily skin contain this ingredient.
Finally, skip any product with artificial dyes, fragrances, and parabens. You don’t need any of these things to protect yourself from UV radiation. While you’re at it, you might as well avoid chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone, homosalate, PABA, or octocrylene since they can irritate delicate skin (read about sensitive skin sunscreens here).
Top Sunscreens for Pregnancy
Here are our top picks for the best sunscreens for pregnant women. We hope our reviews make your shopping easier.
Badger SPF30 Sunscreen and Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Face Stick
This pack features both body lotion and face sunscreen. The no-mess face stick makes it easier to keep sunscreen out of your eyes. Fortunately, Badger’s products are mild enough for both adults and children. The only downside is that they have a minimum sun protection factor.
One main advantage is that they contain pharmaceutical-grade zinc oxide. The mineral is coated in a safe silicone derivative, and each particle is around 200 nm in size. What that means for you is that it’s unlikely to enter your bloodstream unlike the nano-particles in some products. Microparticle zinc hasn’t been studied enough to verify that they are safe for use during pregnancy.
There is another benefit to this sunscreen. It’s very moisturizing, but relies on only safe, natural ingredients. Some of the highlights include cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, and beeswax.
Coola Baby Mineral Sunscreen Unscented Moisturizer SPF 50
Yes, mommies can use baby sunscreen, too. COOLA’s unscented mineral sunscreen is an award-winning option with more than 70% certified organic ingredients. It has no chemicals or preservatives. But it provides a high level of protection from the sun as well as environmental pollutants like smog.
Just like Badger’s sunscreen, this one relies on zinc oxide. The particles are not nano-sized either. While you wear it, shea butter, sesame seed oil, and avocado keep your skin baby soft.
Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Matte Finish
Coola makes a version of their sunscreen specifically for your face. It won’t clog your pores or leave you sticky or shiny. Again, it’s free of preservatives and full of certified organic ingredients.
One of the highlights is instant refreshment for your skin. Evening primrose and flaxseed make your skin more supple while plankton and rosehip oil protect against premature aging.
Thinksport Everyday Face Sunscreen, Naturally Tinted
Why not shorten your morning routine by combining your makeup and sunscreen? This one from Thinksport (sister company to Thinkbaby) has a light tint for fair skin. While it protects your face from UV rays, it moisturizes and prevents premature aging with aloe and cranberry seed oil.
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50
Have you heard about the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database? You can use it to research what potential toxins might be in your skincare products. They rate formulas with numbers indicating how safe they are. The lower the number, the better.
Thinkbaby’s sunscreen has a “1” from the EWG. Additionally, Whole Foods lists it in their Premium Care lineup. And Allure recently gave it a “Best Of” award.
Not convinced yet? A quick glance at the primary ingredients shows non-nano zinc oxide, aloe, and purified water.
Waxhead Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Stick
Waxhead’s sunscreen stick also rates a “1” for very low hazard on the Skin Deep database. But this is a sunscreen for adults, not just babies. You can wear it snorkeling even under Hawaii’s new reef-safe law.
First, the delicious vanilla scent and the no-mess stick format make it a pleasure to apply. Second, it keeps the sun off your skin with a powerful concentration of 25% non-nano zinc oxide. And third, it keeps your body soft with simple ingredients: organic coconut oil and beeswax.
CeraVe Mineral Baby Sunscreen SPF 45
CeraVe’s baby sunscreen is gentle but provides a significant defense against sunburn. At the time of writing, it scored a 2 on the EWG database. It’s free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances. But it has CeraVe’s signature components: the three essential ceramides. They strengthen the skin to keep it from dehydrating out in the sunshine.
Alba Botanica Fragrance-Free SPF 30 Sunscreen
Alba Botanica’s Sunscreen is a match made in heaven for shoppers who want to live in harmony with nature. It’s vegetarian, safe for coral reefs, and free of artificial fragrances and other chemicals. This mineral sunscreen contains natural moisturizers like organic grape seed oil, aloe, and chamomile.
Kiss My Face Hot Spots Sunscreen, SPF 30
Kiss My Face makes a variety of eco-friendly skin care products that are free of toxins. They are manufactured and packaged with respect for the environment. Their sunscreen is so mild it’s safe for your lips and around your eyes. But it lasts for up to 40 minutes in the water. While you enjoy it, it softens your skin with shea butter, beeswax, and aloe.
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Skin Sunscreen SPF 30+
Blue Lizard’s sunscreen was invented to face harsh conditions Down Under. It relies on 10% zinc oxide and 5% titanium dioxide to defend the skin. It stands up to perspiration and water for up to 40 minutes before you need to reapply. Also, the company uses no parabens or artificial fragrances.
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sheer Mineral Moisturizer
Juice Beauty’s face sunscreen has a sheer mineral tint that perfects your face. It’s available in four shades. Use it to replace your makeup when you’re in a hurry. It protects against photoaging and revives dry skin with fruit juices, plant oils, and vegetable hyaluronic acid.
Supergoop! Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40
Supergoop! puts olive polyphenols in their sunscreen because they get rid of redness and irritation. But take note that while it has zinc oxide, it also includes octinoxate, a chemical sunblock. That’s one of the safest options, and it ensures that the sunscreen won’t turn your skin white.
Beauty by Earth Facial Sunscreen SPF 20
The Beauty by Earth sunscreen has a low SPF, but it doubles as a makeup primer. It isn’t greasy and won’t leave a white cast. Vegan shoppers appreciate it because the cruelty-free formula contains only plant-derived components.
MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen
MDSolarSciences ensures that their sunscreen is gentle enough for babies six months old and up. Mommies love it because it also works well as a primer under makeup. It has Eco-cert zinc oxide plus antioxidants to protect against environmental damage. It even stands up to 80 minutes of swimming.
Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion
The Babo Botanicals zinc sunscreen is formulated for delicate skin whether you’re an adult or child. It has no fragrance, no soy, dairy, or gluten. The formula rates a one on the EWG database.
Take this one on a vacation because it’s also reef-safe. Then enjoy it for up to 80 minutes of time in the water before reapplying.
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen
Aveeno’s baby sunscreen is another product with a 1 for safety rating. If your child is prone to dermatitis, it has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. Plus, even the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends it.
What to look for in sunscreen for pregnancy
Having trouble deciding? You’re not alone. There are some fine distinctions between sunscreens on the market. Although we dug into the details for you, you might want to check with friends who tried some of them.
What’s the problem with chemical sunscreens? Criticism of chemicals like oxybenzone includes two points. One is that the chemicals absorb the rays, not reflect them like a mineral sunscreen. And two is that since they absorb into your skin, they’re found in your bloodstream and may be a risk to your baby.
Why not get a boost from your sunscreen? Many of our top picks include naturally moisturizing ingredients that ward off wrinkles and stretch marks. Some of them enhance the natural beauty of your face without the need for additional makeup.
We hope our reviews of the top sunscreens for pregnant women helped you shop today. You’ll be taking care of yourself and your baby with safe and nourishing products.
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