There is no question that we spend more than our share of time on the beach and by default in the sun, which means sunscreen is something that is essential to our family. We started bringing each boy down to Costa Rica when they were only a few months old so when I tell you that I have tried and tested almost every sun protection product that there is on the market, trust me when I say I've bought them all. Surprisingly, with all our time baking on the equator the LM has only had one sunburn his entitle life (which happened on a cloudy day in Boston of all places) and Gray still has his virgin skin intact.
What I consider before deeming a sunscreen successful are the following: 1) you only need to apply it once, 2) it stays on through jumps in the pool and surfs in the ocean, and 3) the only change in skin is a slight tan (never any redness.) For me, I certainly look for all of the above, but in addition I need something that won't cause me to break out as I definitely have acne prone skin and will break out if I use the wrong product. You will notice that I didn't mention price, and it's not that I don't care about what kind of money I'm spending (especially since we go though a lot in the 6 weeks we spend in Central America) but rather I've found that some of the less expensive brands need (and call for) multiple applications which means you think you are saving money up front, but in the end you are just burning though bottle after bottle. I am not a fan of sprays, mostly because you can't really see the areas you've covered, but also I've read enough about how these products can impact your lungs and that was enough for me to swear them off. Certainly, I'd like to use products with only natural ingredients and some of these claim to be just that (check packaging for ingredients) but in reality the most important thing for me is that my kids don't get burned, because skin cancer for me beats out any other concerns.
Here are the top sunscreens that we buy time and time again for infants, big kids and for me.
Okay, so technically you aren't supposed to use sunscreen on your infant until they are 6 months old (as instructed by most pediatricians) but considering our kids were traveling to very tropical places at an age earlier than that, we started using sunscreen around 8 weeks of age and didn't see any issues. Given that they are infants, babies aren't really out in the sun in the same way that they are when they get older, so even though this sunscreen is the most expensive of the bunch, it actually lasts the longest. I used this on the face and limbs of both kids when they were younger (always with a hat) and it worked amazingly well. This stuff is thick and white and that is a bonus because you can really see where is goes on (I'm known for missing spots on myself) and left both of our boys with skin as white as the day they were born... even after long beach walks in the Baby Bjorn.
|Mustela High Protection Sun Lotion SPF 50|
Toddlers and Big Kids
For me it's a toss up between which one of these are better. I tend to use the honest company product more since we already have a subscription with them, but I've found both to work equally well. My kids are known for their lack of clothing in these parts (coining the phrase nudy ludy) so a strong sunscreen is essential. I put this on this ONCE in the morning right before we head to the beach and they stay covered all day, even after running in and out of the water and swimming pool. Whenever we come with other family members, they question whether the boys need a re-application, but at the end of the day see that other than a gradual (and light) tan, the boys never actually get any other color. These two sunscreens are the best of the best, and I'm telling you I would never trust any other on kids.
|Honest Suncreen Lotion SPF 30|
|think baby SPF 30-50|
As I mentioned, I have some serious acne prone skin. If I even look at the wrong product I will break out on my chin and chest and after quite a bit of trial and error I've finally found a few products that keep me from burning which also keep me from breaking out. I've found it's not really necessary to wear something over SPF 30 as the former California girl in me certainly does not shy away from a little bit of color.
The top liquid sunscreen is my go-to for beach days. I use this on my face, chest, back and will steal from the boys for the rest of my body. This keeps me covered all day, and also keeps my skin clear.
|Peter Thomas Roth Ultralight Sunblock SPF 30|
I love this brush on, oil absorbing sunscreen for my everyday city life in the warmer months. Not only does it provide a nice layer of protection for my face and chest, the powder soaks up any oil I produce while surveying the heat in a concrete jungle. This is my summer essential!
|Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30|
I've mentioned this no foundation foundation many times on this space and that's just because it's pretty much the best product out there. Part moisturizer, part foundation, this lightweight serum is actually neither and is instead a sunscreen. It perfectly covers any imperfections in my skin, and leaves me with a dewy, non-oily finish. This whole line is incredible, and I'm slowly switching out everything for this genius brand.
|Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation SPF 30|
After a month of sunscreen use and sweating on the beach my skin always needs a good clean out when I return home. I am such a huge fan of this glam glow line, and use this immediately to clear out my pores. It leaves my skin feeling like I just had a facial and the best part is that it's pretty non-drying. The glow that's left behind is really the icing on the cake.
|Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment|
I know for most of you the need for sunscreen seems a long time away, but just keep the faith... Spring is only a week away!