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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.

But the American Academy of Dermatology is very clear that sunscreen is necessary to protect your skin from burns, premature aging, and all types of skin cancer.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also encourages you to keep using sunscreen during pregnancy, 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!

Short answer: yes.

Pregnancy can increase your skin’s sensitivity, so wearing sunscreen is important to protect yourself from any possible sun damage. However, you’ll want to be more conscious of the ingredients in the sunscreens you’re using.

Primarily, you’ll likely want to avoid the ingredient oxybenzone. Some research on animals suggests it may cause changes to the mammary glands.

Instead, sunscreens that contain zinc oxide may be a better option for both you and baby. Zinc oxide is a safer alternative to chemicals commonly found in sunscreens since it works by scattering the sun’s rays, ultimately preventing UV radiation from penetrating and damaging the skin.

How can you shop with confidence when it comes to sunscreen? Can you protect yourself and your baby at the same time?

Ingredients

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 called for more studies on these ingredients to confirm their long-term safety.

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.

Chemicals

Mineral sunscreens are the best for children, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, 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.

Broad spectrum and water-resistance

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.

Price guide

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15—$20
  • $$$ = over $30

Read on for our top picks when it comes to pregnancy-safe sunscreen!

Best overall

Thinksport Safe Sunscreen

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: non-nano zinc oxide

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!

Pros

  • This is a non-greasy formula, free from BPA and other parabens.
  • This sunscreen can last up to 80 minutes, even in the water.
  • If you are prone to breaking out when wearing sunscreen or other skin care products, this formula is tailored to people with sensitive, reactive skin.

Cons

  • Because it is a thicker consistency, the sunscreen can leave a white film on the skin for the first hour.

Best face sunscreen for use during pregnancy

Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: sunflower shoot extract, astaxanthin-rich algae extract, raspberry seed oil

Drunk Elephant is a brand known for its 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.

Pros

  • Reviewers say this sunscreen blends in well and won’t leave a white cast on your face.
  • The ingredients are designed to mix well together and blend on the skin.
  • Users have said this sunscreen makes a great base underneath makeup.

Cons

  • Depending on your skin type, some reviewers have found this sunscreen can peel off the skin.

Best makeup with SPF for use during pregnancy

Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: mineral zinc oxide, ceramides, olive glycerides, coated silica

There are very few makeup products with mineral sunscreen that offer protection over SPF 30. 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.

Pros

  • You can touch up your makeup and reapply sunscreen with one product.
  • Because of its powder finish, this is a great sunscreen for anyone with combination or oily skin.

Cons

  • Some reviewers have found the application of the product is difficult and can leave a mess.

Best sunscreen for use under makeup during pregnancy

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: thermal spring water, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide

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.

Pros

  • The lightweight texture makes it easy to blend.
  • It’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
  • Some reviewers have found this sunscreen is a good base product to wear under makeup.

Cons

  • This sunscreen is pricier than others on our list.

Best natural sunscreens for use during pregnancy

Earth Mama Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: shea, zinc oxide

Earth Mama is a brand loved by many moms for its 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.

Pros

  • This sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
  • Users found this sunscreen was very thick and kept them from getting sunburned.
  • Pregnant customers loved how this sunscreen smoothed out any dry skin they had.

Cons

  • Many users found it was either impossible or very difficult to get the sunscreen out of the tube.

Badger Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen SPF 35

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: clear zinc oxide

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 actually only contains five 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.

Pros

  • Many users say this is a great sunscreen for playing sports or doing any kind of outdoor physical activity.
  • Made from 98 percent organic ingredients, this sunscreen is hypoallergenic and is suited for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Some users find it’s very thick and feels heavy on the skin.

Best stick application

Babo Botanicals Super Shield Sport Stick SPF 50

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: avocado, jojoba, shea butter

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.

Pros

  • Because of its compact size, this sunscreen is easy to pack and travel-friendly.
  • The stick roll-on form makes it easy to slab on and easily rub in.

Cons

  • Some users complained it does not provide enough sun protection.

Best spray sunscreen

Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist

  • Price: $$$
  • Key ingredients: sunflower seed, marigold extract, chamomile

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.

Pros

  • Despite spraying on white, this sunscreen will easily absorb into your skin.
  • Many users with sensitive skin have said this works very well for their skin type.

Cons

  • Some users found they could not get the sunscreen to spray because the nozzle got stuck.

Best budget sunscreens

Neutrogena SheerZinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide

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.

Pros

  • Users love the way this sunscreen doesn’t feel wet or heavy on the skin.
  • It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
  • Many users have noted the zinc oxide in this sunscreen absorbs really easily and makes for a great mineral sunscreen.

Cons

  • Users with darker complexions have said it leaves a strong white residue on the surface of the skin

Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide

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.

Pros

  • The natural ingredients complement people with sensitive or irritable skin.
  • Many users felt like this was a good sunscreen to layer with makeup.

Cons

  • Some pregnant customers did notice a bit of a scent that irritated their noses.

SunscreenPriceSPFTypeCustomer rating
Thinksport Safe Sunscreen$$50liquid4.5 stars
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense$$$30liquid3 stars
Supergoop! (Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder$$$35powder4 stars
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid$$$50liquid4.5 stars
Earth Mama Mineral Sunscreen Lotion$40liquid4 stars
Badger Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen$$$35liquid4.5 stars
Babo Botanicals Super Shield Sport Stick$50stick4.5 stars
Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist$$$30spray4 stars
Neutrogena SheerZinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen$50liquid4.5 stars
Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen$30liquid4 stars

Before buying sunscreen, first take notice of whether your skin has experienced any changes while you’ve been pregnant.

For example, some people find their skin becomes more sensitive, or they develop acne. If this is the case for you, find a sunscreen that addresses these concerns.

It’s also beneficial to choose a sunscreen based on how much you’ll use it, what grade of SPF you need, and, of course, its price.

If you plan on layering your sunscreen with makeup, also take into account what sunscreen will layer best with the products you use.

Which sunscreens are not safe during pregnancy?

A 2018 study on pregnant or lactating mice found the use of oxybenzone caused changes to the mammary glands.

While this study was only done on animals and more research on humans is needed, you may want to steer clear of any formulas with this ingredient.

In fact, many sunscreen manufacturers are moving away from including it in their formulas because it may damage coral reefs.

Otherwise, there’s not a ton of research on what sunscreens are best during pregnancy specifically. But you’ll still want to opt for a formula that’s broad spectrum with a higher SPF.

Which ingredients are the best in sunscreens for pregnant people?

It’s best to avoid chemical sunscreens and opt for physical (sometimes called mineral) sunscreens when you’re pregnant. You may want to look for a sunscreen that includes titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

It’s also recommended to use mineral sunscreens while breastfeeding, too.

At what stage of pregnancy should I start using sunscreen?

It’s recommended to wear sunscreen throughout your entire pregnancy whenever you’re in direct sun.

If you are unable to wear pregnancy-safe sunscreen, try to stay out of the sun during peak hours (generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and cover as much skin as possible.

Sunscreen is important for everyone, including pregnant people. 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!