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10 best sunscreens for babies to protect sensitive skin

Protect your baby’s sensitive skin with these SPF sunscreen sprays, creams and sticks that’ll sink in quickly

Zoe Griffin
Thursday 13 April 2023 10:48 BST
<p>Every sunscreen we tested has a minimum SPF30 and protects against UVA and UVB rays</p>

Every sunscreen we tested has a minimum SPF30 and protects against UVA and UVB rays

Our Top Picks

Babies are much more sensitive to the sun than adults and older children which is why it’s important to keep their delicate skin protected with a sunscreen in the summer or whenever it’s unseasonably sunny.

Dermatologists advise applying sunscreen to babies over the age of six months. Before this age, it’s recommended to cover up your baby’s skin when exposed to direct sunlight or, alternatively, place them in the shade. Other tips include using a sun cover for walks in the pram, putting them in loose, long-sleeved clothing and keeping them in shaded areas – such as under a tree or a parasol.

When choosing the ideal sunscreen for your baby, it’s important to look carefully at the ingredients. There is a key difference between SPF for babies and for adults – namely that the former is made with fewer chemicals to ensure their skin doesn’t react – but the best ones to opt for are mineral sunscreens, or ones containing  zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

The reason? They don’t need to be fully absorbed into the skin to block skin from the sun’s rays. In fact, they start working the minute they’re applied – unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20 to 30 minutes to be absorbed before they offer any protection. The main thing to remember though is that your chosen sunscreen has to be a broad spectrum SPF, enabling it to fight UVA and UVB rays.

Even with all that in mind, sunscreen for babies can still vary widely in price, from under £3 for supermarket own-brand sun protection to above £20 for high-end skincare label offerings. So, to help you pick the best for you tot, we put them all to the test.

How we tested

We slipped, slopped, slathered and lathered around 20 sunscreens to find the best ones for babies. With the help of six very little helpers, aged between six months and one year, we tested each baby sunscreen for absorbability and ease of application – as well as fragrance. We also looked carefully at the ingredient list and the back of the bottle for UVB and UVA protection ratings. Ensuring each sunscreen offered adequate protection from the sun’s harmful rays and could keep baby safe was, of course, the number one priority. These are the ones that really shone.

The best baby sunscreens for 2023 are:

  • Best overall – La Roche Posayanthelios dermo-pediatrics baby lotion SPF 50: £10.12,
  • Best for hydration – Boots soltan protect and moisture body lotion: £6.50,
  • Best spray for babies – Nivea sun babies and kids sensitive protect SPF 50 spray: £7,
  • Best for travel: Tesco soleil baby sun lotion: £2.50,
  • Best for sensitive skin: Aveeno baby continuous protection zinc oxide sensitive sun lotion: £18,

La Roche-Posay Anthelios baby lotion SPF50+

La Roche-Posay Anthelios baby lotion SPF50+, 50ml indybest.jpg
  • Best: Overall
  • SPF: 50+
  • Size: 50ml

Out of all the baby sunscreens tested, La Roche Posay’s lightweight silky cream felt the most luxurious to the touch. We loved that it wasn’t too thick, which made lathering it on feel like we were moisturizing a baby rather than coating them in a sticky substance. It contains naturally derived shea butter to provide extra care for a baby’s sensitive skin too.

But what impressed us the most was how much the formula has been tested scientifically. It’s undergone 16 clinical studies carried out by world renowned dermatologists to ensure it’s safe against UVA and UVB rays. It’s a combination of a mineral sunscreen and a gentle, stable skin-absorbing sunscreen, offering protection on all levels. Stability is a key factor, as studies show that the formula never degrades under exposure to UV light – this is thanks to its inclusion of organic sun filters Mexoryl XL and Mexoryl SX. A little goes a long way, so the application process was fast and fuss-free, and it washes off well in the bath at the end of the day.

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Boots soltan protect and moisture baby lotion

soltan boots best baby sunscreen protection
  • Best: For hydration
  • SPF: 50+
  • Size: 200ml

This sun lotion applies like an expensive anti-aging night cream. That’s meant as a compliment as it absorbs beautifully, making it great if you’re going to the beach or have a crawling baby. It doesn’t leave a sticky mess to provide a magnet for things like sand or grass on the knees and, once applied, a little one will never be able to rub it off.

With titanium dioxide, it offers immediate protection, although the Boots website does recommend applying it 15 minutes before sun exposure and every one to two hours, just to be safe. It also offers long-lasting hydration for a baby’s skin, ensuring that it won’t dry out in the sun. This is thanks to the inclusion of Vitamin C and Vitamin E in the formula.

We’re also awarding it bonus points for it’s eco credentials. As a retailer, Boots is constantly upping its sustainability principles and this soltan tube is made from a minimum of 50 percent recycled plastic.

  1. £6 from
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Nivea sun babies and kids sensitive protect SPF 50 spray

nivea babies kids sun protection cream spray
  • Best: Spray for babies
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 200ml

When a baby starts to crawl or pull themselves up, getting them to sit still to apply sunscreen can be an almost impossible task. For that alone, this Nivea sunscreen is a winner as you can spray it on and then rub it in when they allow you to get closer.

But when it comes to looking after your baby’s skin, everything is impressively serious and designed for complete protection from the sun as well as care for a baby’s skin. It contains aloe vera and organic chamomile, which makes it feel really soothing on the skin and refreshing in hot weather.

We also liked the commitment to caring for the planet. The spray is biodegradable so it won’t leave a sticky footprint. Nivea has developed an “ocean respect formula” that is free from UV filters and microplastic. The spray bottle is made from 95 per cent recycled plastic.

If you’re looking for an easy to apply spray, that’s good for the environment and easy on the wallet, this Nivea babies and kids option ticks all the boxes.

  1. £7 from
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Tesco soleil baby sun lotion

tesco soleil baby sunscreen cream protection
  • Best: For travel
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 75ml

If you’re going away this summer and want to have more money to spend on your holiday, bag yourself this affordable but top quality sun protection lotion for your baby. It’s suitable for older kids too and comes in a hand luggage friendly size. We also liked that it was completely fragrance-free, unlike some sunscreens that claimed to be but still had a whiff to them.

Despite being so affordable, this lotion is dermatologically tested, paediatrician approved and highly-water resistant, so you can have fun paddling with your baby without fear of damaging their skin. Just remember to reapply after getting wet, especially if you towel dried the baby.

While the 75ml size is currently out of stock, it is available to buy in a 200ml bottle (£3.20, – which, considering London City airport has just scrapped the 100ml liquid rule, means it could still be slipped into your hand luggage for any short haul flights.

  1. £3 from
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Aveeno baby continuous protection zinc oxide sensitive sun lotion

aveeno baby sensitive skin protection sun
  • Best: For sensitive skin
  • SPF: 50
  • Size : 88ml

Aveeno are experts in making skincare products for sensitive skin, offering relief for eczema sufferers with its gentle oat-based formulas. A mineral formula, there are no harsh chemicals that need to be absorbed by the skin and it’s designed to be as gentle as water on a baby’s delicate skin. The soothing formula contains oat to help lock in moisture and nourish your baby’s skin as zinc oxide provides a hypoallergenic barrier from the sun’s rays.It’s so gentle that it doesn’t sting the eyes when it gets wet in the pool or bath, and we noticed no visible signs of wincing or discomfort when rinsing it off their face at the end of the day.

  1. £25 from
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Asda protect baby sensitive sun lotion

asda baby sun protect lotion
  • Best: Value
  • SPF: 50
  • Size : 200ml

Incredible value for money at £3.20 for a 200ml bottle, we were sure there had to be a catch hidden somewhere. But we couldn’t find one as, at five stars, Asda’s sun lotion has the highest UVA rating of all the lotions we tested. It’s also unscented and approved by dermatologists at the Skin Health Alliance.

The formula is slightly thicker than other brands we tested, but with this comes some reassurance that it has substance to offer complete sun protection. It also gives the skin a little white cast, immediately after application, so you can tell that the baby has it on. But that will fade after a few minutes or between the time it takes to apply it in the room, change a nappy and walk outside. And as it offers a way for people on all budgets to keep their most precious family members safe in the sun, Asda must be applauded for that.

  1. £3 from
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Sainsbury's sun protect baby sensitive lotion

sun protect sainsburys baby lotion
  • Best: For consistency
  • SPF: 50
  • Size : 200ml

Sainbury’s have gone above and beyond the average supermarket sunscreen formula by including vitamin E for moisturising benefits. This does make it more expensive than others, but you get what you pay for. Like the other low budget options, it’s a chemical sunscreen so you do have to apply it 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure for maximum protection. But it’s surprisingly easy to apply as it has a smooth consistency, there’s no white cast and it rubs in extremely well, making it fast to coat wriggling tots.

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Garnier Ambre Solaire baby in the shade sun cream

garnier ambre solaire baby shade sun protection
  • Best: Organic buy
  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 50ml

Top marks for sustainability go to Garnier Ambre Solaire. Not only is this travel-friendly tube of lotion reef safe – which means sea swimmers can wear it without fear of damaging the water’s eco-systems – but Garnier has a wider commitment to preserving the environment, with its promise to have zero virgin plastic by 2025. So you can rest assured you’re doing your bit to preserve the planet for your baby when you apply this.

Tested under dermatological and paediatric control, the hypoallergenic formula is soft and gentle on a baby’s sensitive skin. We also found that it was very water resistant, did not stick to sand and kept skin moisturised throughout the day.

  1. £5 from
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Child’s Farm SPF 50+ baby sunscreen

childs farm sun cream high protection
  • Best: For ease of application
  • SPF: 50
  • Size : 100ml

Famous for its gentle, fun fragranced bubble baths and shampoos, Child’s Farm doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sunscreen. The sensitive skin-friendly formula is thick but it rubs in extremely well, is non-greasy and non-sticky. The only downside is that you need to be careful about getting it on clothes when applying as it will leave a mark that will only be removed with a spin in the washing machine.

We like that Child’s Farm is a British family brand, developed by a mum with two eczema-suffering daughters. On a mission to make skincare that’s suitable for extremely sensitive skin, a lot of research goes into each product, and the sunscreen has been tirelessly developed to ensure it won’t irritate a baby’s skin while it protects it. As a B-Corp, Chid’s Farm is environmentally and socially responsible, going so far as to be nominated for the the 2021 Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards.

  1. £9 from
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Ultra Sun baby mineral sun cream

ultra sun baby mineral sun cream
  • Best: Mineral sunscreen
  • SPF: 50
  • Size : 100ml

The most expensive of all the creams we tried, this is not gentle on the wallet but it is gentle on the skin and that’s why we rate it highly. Containing the innovative ingredient, Infraguard – which combines organic sunflower shoots and powerful anti oxidants from the Tara tree – this baby sun cream efficiently protects the skin against the harmful effects of Infrared A.

The UVA filter is extremely high at over 95 per cent as well as a 50 SPF protection against UVB rays. Ultra Sun has also developed a trademark formulation called Lipex combining anti-oxidants and Vitamin E to look afer tiny tots’ complexions and that’s included in this sun cream formula.

Awarded the Natrue Certification for being free from perfume, mineral oils, PEG/PPG emulsifiers, silicones, preservatives and chemical filters, you can trust this sunscreen to be safe on sensitive skin.

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Baby sunscreen FAQs

What else should I consider before buying?

Other elements to consider are chemical or mineral (physical) sunscreens. While the former are more economical and easy to apply, thicker mineral sunblocks are the environmentally friendly option, though they can leave a white residue on skin.

Dr Worsnop says, “mineral sunscreens are less irritating to the sensitive skin of infants and children. They act like a shield, deflecting the sun’s rays... compared to chemical sunscreen, which absorbs rather than deflects the UV.”

Regardless of which formula you favour, be sure to use lashings of it. “Sun cream should be applied generously and frequently,” Dr Worsnop says. To make it easier, there are options aplenty, including lotions, sprays, pumps, roll-ons and even mousses.

Can you use sunscreen on babies under six months?

While you might be tempted to reach for the sunscreen to protect your infant this summer, it’s generally recommended that you don’t apply it to babies’ skin if they are under six months of age. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, infants are at greater risk than adults of sunscreen side effects because their skin is more delicate, meaning they could get a rash. Instead, experts recommend that you keep them shaded with a hat or a parasol, or just keep them out of the sun altogether.

The verdict: Baby sunscreens

The soft, silky consistency coupled with the fact its undergone intensive testing with 16 clinical trials, made the La Roche Posay anthelios dermo-pediatrics baby lotion a winner with babies and grown-ups. However, we were also very impressed by the price and planet-friendly credentials of the Boots soltan range and the Nivea kids and babies sun protect spray.

We’ve also rounded up the best facial sunscreens for daily protection to protect you as well as your little one from the sun

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