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Pregnancy likely has you rethinking many aspects of your daily routine — for instance, you probably never used to eat saltine crackers for breakfast, plan your day around bathroom breaks, or cry during diaper commercials.
You also may find yourself scrutinizing your personal care routine. Many moms-to-be wonder about the safety of the products they use on their face, hair, and skin.
Sunscreen may be one such product that causes hesitation. In recent years, we’ve seen some concerning allegations about whether there are dangerous ingredients found in sunscreen.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also encourages pregnant women to keep using sunscreen, as it can help reduce dark spots on the skin known as melasma.
There are a lot of sacrifices you make for the good of your baby (see you in 9 months, spicy tuna sushi roll), but protecting your skin from sun damage doesn’t have to be one of them.
The bottom line is yes, there are safe sunscreen choices (we’ll talk more about this) — and you should definitely slather the stuff on during pregnancy!
How can you shop with confidence when it comes to sunscreen? Can you protect yourself and your baby at the same time?
The good news is that only two sunscreen ingredients, PABA and tolamine salicylate, have been found dangerous by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And these ingredients are illegal in sunscreens sold in the United States.
Some other sunscreen ingredients — including oxybenzone, avobenzone, ensulizole, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, and octinoxate — have been used in U.S. sunscreens for many years. But the FDA has
There are two ingredients that the FDA has established as generally safe for use by all people: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They’re natural minerals that physically block the sun’s harmful rays from getting to your skin.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the main ingredients in physical sunscreens, which are also known as mineral sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens are the best for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with sensitive skin.
Mineral sunscreens do tend to be more expensive than their chemical counterparts. Typically products start around $6 and go all the way up to $50 per tube or bottle. You can sometimes buy in bulk and save money.
Sunscreen should always be broad spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays), SPF 30 or higher, water resistant (if you will be swimming or sweating), applied 15 minutes before you go outside, and reapplied every 2 hours while you are outside.
There are an overwhelming number of options when it comes to sunscreen. As a new mama, you already have plenty on your mind! So we selected some great products to keep your skin healthy while you’re busy keeping your little one safe.
We selected products that only use minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) as the active ingredients. This is to provide the utmost peace of mind when it comes to safety for your baby, as mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of your skin and aren’t absorbed into your bloodstream like chemical ingredients can be.
We also chose sunscreens that:
- are highly rated
- provide broad spectrum coverage (protection from UVA and UVB rays)
- have SPF 30 or higher
- are available at a variety of price points
Is one sunscreen really better than another?
When we select the “best” options, we aren’t saying that one brand has necessarily been proven better or more effective than all the others. Instead, we’re looking at a number of factors — ingredients, SPF, price, brand reputation, availability, feel on the skin, ease of application, and more — to suggest our faves.
One SPF 30 sunscreen with zinc oxide is going to be comparable to another SPF 30 sunscreen with zinc oxide. But for other reasons, we think it’s totally fair to prefer one over the other.
Read on for our top picks when it comes to pregnancy-safe sunscreen!
Best overall sunscreen for use during pregnancy
Made famous by their top-rated baby-safe sunscreen (Thinkbaby), Thinksport is the adult edition. (It’s worth noting that you certainly can use the baby version, and then keep using it for your baby too, once they’re 6 months old!)
Featuring a 20 percent zinc oxide formula, this SPF 50 sunscreen offers maximum protection from harmful rays and is classified as “very water resistant” — it provides protection for up to 80 minutes, even in the water. Users rave about the non-white, non-greasy, non-stinky formula. It’s also available in a stick applicator. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Best face sunscreen for use during pregnancy
Drunk Elephant is a brand known for their commitment to clean ingredients. This tinted face formula features 20 percent zinc oxide for great sun protection — and it’s tinted, so it doesn’t leave your face ghostly white. It’s a pricier option, but users rave about how it looks and feels.
Best makeup with SPF for use during pregnancy
There are very few makeup products with mineral sunscreen that offer protection over SPF 30 — even cult-favorite BareMinerals only offers SPF 15. This zinc oxide-containing powder from renowned sunscreen company, Supergoop, provides a high level of coverage in a powder formula that oily mamas especially love.
Some people found that the packaging was poorly made and created a powdery mess during application, but in general, reviews are positive. This product is also one Healthline editor’s fave.
Best sunscreen for use under makeup during pregnancy
This super-lightweight liquid sunscreen is made with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and antioxidants for broad spectrum, skin-friendly coverage. Many people love the fast-absorbing formula that makes it ideal for wearing under your regular makeup.
Other users found that it still felt too greasy or altered the texture of their makeup more than they liked.
Best natural sunscreens for use during pregnancy
Earth Mama is a brand loved by many moms for their nipple butter and belly butter products. Their zinc oxide-based sunscreen also features organic red raspberry seed oil and organic argan oil.
Many users loved the soft, all-natural formula for their dry pregnancy skin. Others found that it was a little too greasy or left white residue.
This zinc oxide-based sunscreen from Badger features a 98 percent organic, plant-based ingredient base, as well as being hypoallergenic and free from a number of harmful or irritating ingredients.
It comes in several SPFs, a water resistant sport version, and a daily version that isn’t water resistant but is a little less sticky.
Best stick application sunscreen for use during pregnancy
This zinc oxide stick sunscreen is easy to throw in your purse or bag for easy application out and about. It’s full of organic, safe ingredients that are good for your skin and safe for baby.
Some users found the white residue was a little hard to rub in, and others mentioned that the product was smaller than expected.
Best spray sunscreen for use during pregnancy
Although Supergoop! is a pricey option, many mamas love this non-aerosol, mineral-based, spray-on sunscreen. It’s lightweight and sprays on white — but then blends in invisibly.
It’s SPF 30 and full of skin-friendly ingredients like marigold extract, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Best budget sunscreens for use during pregnancy
Many people love the powder-dry feeling of this zinc oxide sunscreen lotion from Neutrogena. It’s free of fragrances, which can be irritating to pregnant noses.
It’s available in SPF 30 or 50, free of harmful ingredients, and a great price for a mineral sunscreen — especially one that looks and feels good to boot!
This SPF 30, zinc oxide-based sunscreen lotion from Alba Botanica is one of the best deals out there for a physical (mineral) sunscreen. It still has tons of plant oils and skin-friendly vitamins, while being free of harmful chemicals and easy on the wallet.
Despite claiming to be fragrance-free, this sunscreen has some users who feel it has a bothersome scent.
Sunscreen is important for everyone, including pregnant women. It helps protect your skin from all types of skin cancer, premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots, and burns.
Sunscreens are regulated by the FDA. The safest ingredients are minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
There are a number of great sunscreens that can provide safe protection for your skin and for your baby during their critical time of early development. It’s important to use these sunscreens regularly. So slather some on, and get that bump out for some fresh air!