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SPF brands like Thinksport and SkinBetter are here for your sunny bump days. These are the best sunscreens for pregnancy, plus advice on what to avoid.
- Best overall: Thinksport Safe Sunscreen
- Best face sunscreen: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
- Best powder SPF: Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush-On Mineral Powder Sunscreen
- Best for under makeup: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50
- Best natural sunscreen: Earth Mama Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40
- Best stick application: Babo Botanicals Super Shield Sport Stick SPF 50
- Best spray sunscreen: Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist
- Best budget sunscreen: Neutrogena SheerZinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen
- Best high SPF sunscreen: Skinbetter Science Sunbetter ToneSmart Sunscreen
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 (ACOG) also encourages you to keep using sunscreen during pregnancy, as it can help reduce dark spots on the skin known as melasma.
The bottom line is, there are safe sunscreen choices (we’ll talk more about this) — and you should definitely slather the stuff on during pregnancy.
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.
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 you and your baby, as mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of your skin and aren’t absorbed into your bloodstream like chemical ingredients can be.
All mineral sunscreens may leave a white residue on the skin, or take quite a bit of effort to rub in. If you’re used to using chemical sunscreens, this may feel like a pain at first (and isn’t super photogenic!).
However, there are a number of zinc oxide formulas that are made with clear zinc, or are formulated with plant oils that help the zinc disperse more evenly and leave less of a white cast. You can also use tinted mineral sunscreen to help it blend more easily with your skin.
“An aesthetician I visited for a facial once advised me to pat and dab in mineral sunscreens to prevent the white cast. I didn’t believe it until I tried it, but it really does minimize the effect. Now when applying to my face, I simply lightly start to pat it into my face all over with my fingers and palms until it’s absorbed.”
— Catherine Conelly, Healthline editor
Read on for our top picks when it comes to pregnancy-safe sunscreen.
- $ = under $15
- $$ = $15–$30
- $$$ = $31–$50
- $$$$ = over $50
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: 20% non-nano zinc oxide, aloe, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, raspberry seed oil, castor oil, olive seed oil, papaya fruit extract
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% 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. Many users rave about the effective protection, pleasant scent, and relative easy of application.
This sunscreen is also available in a stick applicator for quick touch-ups. It is highly rated by the Environmental Working Group, which means its active ingredients have research supporting their safety and effectiveness. This sunscreen also contains raspberry seed oil, which has been
As with most mineral sunscreens, this formula is a bit thicker and harder to rub in than a traditional chemical sunscreen. It’s an excellent choice for ingredient safety, budget, and effective sun protection. If you’re looking for something with a bit more cosmetic appeal, explore some of the other great options below.
- This sunscreen has a nongreasy formula and it’s free from BPA and other parabens and questionable ingredients.
- It can last up to 80 minutes, even in the water.
- It’s tailored to people with sensitive, reactive skin.
- It’s relatively affordable.
- Similar to many mineral sunscreens, this sunscreen can leave a white film on the skin for the first hour.
- The thicker formula is a bit harder to rub in than some others.
Best pregnancy-safe sunscreen for face
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: 20% zinc oxide, sunflower shoot extract, astaxanthin-rich algae extract, raspberry seed oil
Drunk Elephant is a brand known for its commitment to clean ingredients. This tinted face formula features 20% zinc oxide for great sun protection — and it’s tinted, so it doesn’t leave your face ghostly white.
It’s a pricier option, but users rave about how it looks and feels.
This sunscreen also contains raspberry seed oil, which is a potent antioxidant. A number of
- Reviewers say it blends well and won’t leave a white cast on your face.
- The ingredients are designed to mix well.
- The antioxidant ingredients could provide additional skin benefits.
- This sunscreen could work as a base underneath makeup.
- Some reviewers found it can get pilly by the end of the day, especially if applied to dry or flaky skin or used in combination with certain makeup products.
- It’s pricey.
Best powder SPF for use during pregnancy
- Price: $$$$
- Key ingredients: 22.5% titanium dioxide, 22.5% zinc oxide, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, camellia, sunflower sprout extract
There are very few makeup products with mineral sunscreen that offer protection over SPF 30. But this mineral powder from Colorscience actually provides a high level of coverage with SPF 50, all in a powder formula that oily mamas especially love.
Our previous top pick was the Supergoop Resetting 100% Mineral Powder Sunscreen and still think it’s a good choice (especially considering it’s half the price of the Colorscience powder). But we ultimately changed our recommendation in this category because the higher SPF is hard to deny.
Some people found that the dispenser created a powdery mess during application, or that application took a bit to get the hang of. But in general, reviews are very positive. A lot of users love that this can be dusted on over makeup or for touch-ups throughout the day.
- You can touch up makeup and reapply sunscreen with one product.
- The powder finish makes it a great sunscreen for anyone with combination or oily skin.
- Some reviewers have found the application of the product is difficult and can leave a mess.
- It’s pricey.
Best sunscreen for use under makeup during pregnancy
- Price: $$$
- 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 great for wearing under your regular makeup. Since mineral sunscreens in particular are a physical barrier against the sun, it’s OK to layer other products on top. You can even add a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or makeup powder with SPF for extra coverage.
Sunscreen should be applied to clean, dry skin and allowed to absorb for a couple of minutes. Then you can apply your regular makeup on top.
Some users did find that this product felt too greasy or altered the texture of their makeup more than they liked.
- 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.
- It’s a bit pricey.
- This sunscreen can appear greasy after a few hours.
Best natural sunscreen for use during pregnancy
- Price: $$
- Key ingredients: 25% non-nano zinc oxide, organic red raspberry seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, coconut oil, olive seed oil, vitamin E, calendula
Their zinc oxide-based sunscreen also features organic red raspberry seed oil and organic coconut oil. A 2018 and
Many users loved the soft, all-natural formula for their dry pregnancy skin. Others found that it was a little too greasy or left white residue (a common woe with all mineral sunscreens).
- It’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
- Some users found it very thick and kept them from getting sunburned.
- Pregnant customers loved how this sunscreen smoothed out any dry skin they had.
- Many users found it was very difficult to get the sunscreen out of the tube.
Best stick application sunscreen
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: non-nano zinc oxide, sunflower seed oil, avocado oil, watercress, jojoba oil, shea butter
This zinc oxide stick sunscreen is easy to throw in your purse or bag for easy application out and about. It’s full of organic, safe ingredients that are good for your skin and safe for baby.
While more research is being done, there are a
Some users found the white residue was a little hard to rub in, and others mentioned that the product was smaller than expected.
It’s also worth noting that you may not get thorough coverage when using a stick (versus a lotion) sunscreen, so you’ll want to reapply regularly, use this for touchups, and use other protective measures, such as a hat or long sleeves.
- It’s easy to pack and travel-friendly.
- It’s easy to swipe on and rub in.
- It may not be enough protection when used alone.
Best spray sunscreen
- Price: $$$
- Key ingredients: 12% zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, sunflower seed oil, marigold extract, chamomile
Many mamas love this spray-on, mineral-based, spray-on sunscreen from renowned sunscreen company Supergoop!. It’s lightweight and sprays on white — but then blends in invisibly.
This spray isn’t powered by chemical propellants like many of the older aerosol sunscreens, which were found to contain an ingredient called benzene that’s linked to cancer.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the UVA/UVB ray blockers, while several plant oils provide soothing antioxidant effects. It’s SPF 30 and full of skin-friendly ingredients like marigold extract, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s worth noting that even though this spray doesn’t use chemical propellant, there’s some concern about inhaling dangerous particles into your lungs. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you shouldn’t spray sunscreen directly on your face, but rather spray the product on your hands and rub into your face.
- It sprays on white but easily absorbs into your skin.
- It’s a hit with users with sensitive skin.
- Some users found they couldn’t get the sunscreen to spray because the nozzle got stuck.
- You have to be careful to avoid inhaling the sunscreen while applying it.
Best budget sunscreens
- Price: $
- Key ingredients: 21.6% zinc oxide, colloidal oatmeal, vitamin E, feverfew
Since greasiness is one of the chief complaints about sunscreen in general, many people love the powder-dry feeling of this zinc oxide sunscreen lotion from Neutrogena.
The fragrance-free formula may be especially suitable for pregnancy, when a pregnant person’s heightened sense of smell can make scents more irritating than usual. In addition to zinc as a UVA/UVB ray blocker, this formula contains colloidal oatmeal and vitamin E, which have both been shown to having soothing properties for the skin.
It’s available in SPF 30 or 50, free of parabens and pthalates, and a great price for a mineral sunscreen — especially one that looks as good as it feels.
- It doesn’t feel greasy or heavy on the skin.
- It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes.
- Users have noted the zinc oxide absorbs really easily.
- Users with darker complexions have said it leaves a white residue on the surface of the skin.
- It contains silicones.
- Price: $$$$
- Key ingredients: 10% zinc oxide, 3.5% titanium dioxide, camelia, glycerin, niacinamide, vitamin B, olive fruit extract, ginger root extract
If you regularly get facials, chemical peels, or other skincare procedures, you may have heard your esthetician raving about Skinbetter Science skincare products. Skinbetter is nothing short of luxurious, their products packed with high percentages of active ingredients.
The company prides itself on using scientific data to back up their formulas, and on using high quality and quantity of ingredients, that their products actually make a visible difference in your skin.
If you have extra sensitive skin, regularly get facial procedures, or want to splurge on the best of the best, it’s hard to beat the Sunbetter ToneSmart Sunscreen. This creamy formula goes on like a dream, provides a whopping SPF 75, and many people use it in place of their makeup because the texture is so smooth.
- The natural ingredients are beneficial for people with sensitive or irritable skin.
- Users felt like this was a good sunscreen to layer with makeup.
- It’s highly recommended by estheticians for those with sensitive or post-procedure skin.
- It’s very expensive.
- SPFs above 50 may not provide additional protection.
|Thinksport Safe Sunscreen||$$||50||liquid||4.5 stars|
|Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense||$$$||30||liquid||3 stars|
|Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sunscreen||$$$$||35||powder||4 stars|
|La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid||$$$||50||liquid||4.5 stars|
|Earth Mama Mineral Sunscreen Lotion||$$||40||liquid||4 stars|
|Babo Botanicals Super Shield Sport Stick||$$$||50||stick||4.5 stars|
|Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist||$$$||30||spray||4 stars|
|Neutrogena SheerZinc Face Dry-Touch Sunscreen||$||50||liquid||4.5 stars|
|Skinbetter Science Sunbetter ToneSmart Sunscreen||$$$$||75||liquid||4 stars|
When we select the “best” options, we aren’t saying that one brand has been proven better or more effective than all the others. Instead, we’re looking at a number of factors to suggest our favorites.
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.
We chose sunscreens that:
- contain mineral versus chemical ingredients
- 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
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?
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 sunscreens sold in the United States 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.
Chemical versus mineral sunscreens
Sunscreens can be formulated two different ways. Once is with chemicals, such as avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, and oxybenzone (try to avoid this one!), that absorb the sun’s rays before they can reach your skin. The second is with minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which provide a physical shield between your skin and the sun’s rays.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics, mineral sunscreens are preferable for children, people who are pregnant or nursing, and those with sensitive skin or allergies. However, the experts are clear that using any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, so pick the one that you’ll regularly buy and apply. The FDA is currently doing further studies on the safety of common sunscreen ingredients.
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’ll be swimming or sweating), applied 15 minutes before you go outside, and reapplied every 2 hours while you’re outside.
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 choose 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 going to be in the sun.
If you’re 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!