Sunscreen is just one of those essential, no compromise, must have items we need pretty much all year round now and finding one for kids that most importantly works but also is easy to apply and doesn’t irritate sensitive skin is actually quite hard. Take it from this eczema Mum, not all kids sunscreens are created equal.
We asked Adelaide based dermatologist Dr Annabel Stevenson from Dermatology SA for some information and advice about choosing sunscreen for our families. Here’s what she said…
Sunscreens can be divided into “physical blockers” (i.e. contain microscopic metal particles that reflect the sun) or “chemical blockers” (i.e. contain ingredients that absorb UV rays). The safest ingredients for children are “physical blockers”, for example zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as they are gentler on sensitive skin. Creams and lotions are better than sprays for even coverage.
Sunscreen use is really important. Studies have shown that any sunburn during childhood almost doubles the risk of developing melanoma in adulthood. Regular sunscreen use of at least SPF 15+ reduces your risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 78%.
- Sunscreen is best applied 20 minutes prior to going outside, and should be reapplied every two hours. Use SPF 50+ if possible, but at least 30+.
- If using a chemical blocker sunscreen, the ‘kids’ formulations often exclude the ingredients that are most likely to cause rashes. If using sprays, then ensure you are applying it with adequate density to the skin – a brief dusting may not be enough to protect from the sun.
- Modelling sunscreen use to your children will promote their use.
- Don’t forget that the best protection against the sun are clothes, hats, sunglasses and seeking out shade.
- Australian guidelines recommend keeping infants younger than 12 months out of direct sun altogether, although if sun avoidance just isn’t possible, a physical blocker sunscreen on the exposed areas should be used, and washed off when coming out of the sun.
So, in the lead up to summer we’ve done the hard work for you and put some a bunch of sunscreens to the KiA kids test. Some were already favourites we’ve been using for a while and we’ve added a few new brands that we have been hearing good things about.
One thing we discovered for certain is that not all sunscreens are made the same and you really need to work out what you need from your sunscreen.
- Will you be in and out of the water a lot?
- Do your kids have really sensitive skin or will you be using it on a baby?
- Are you looking for something tinted or rubs in clear?
- Do you need something that is super easy to rub in or are you OK to work a bit harder on application for something that will stay on for hours?
You actually may need to buy a couple of different brands to use for different situations and different family members depending on where and when you’ll be using it. The good news is that we actually like ALL of the ones we tested below and would be happy to recommend any of them. Take a read below and find out which ones will suit your family this summer.
Seed + Sprout SPF 50
I love everything about this brand. Major brand crush here. Just check out their IG stories to get an idea about how passionate they are about not only making products that area environmentally conscious but also products that are top quality and actually work. So when I found out that they had developed a line of sunscreen, I was already confident I’d like it, and I was right.
I tried the SPF 50 untinted sunscreen ($29) and the SPF 50 tinted sunscreen ($35) both of which come in a 80g tin.
Both sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays and are 100% Reef safe, 100% Plastic-Free, 100% Vegan, 100% Palm Oil Free, Fragrance Free and Made in Australia.
Both were very gentle and both of my sensitive skin kids had no reaction to either one. It applies really easily and spreads really well. You don’t need much product and a tin would last for quite a while. The tinted one you could wear every day as a natural foundation replacement. I don’t wear much makeup, pretty much never actually and on first look I thought it might be a bit dark for my skin but it wasn’t at all. I also love tin packaging, super easy to throw in your bag and handy for repurposing later. Seed + Sprout is our top pick for sunscreen for Mums and my personal favourite (Roxy)
If you’re spending a long time in and out of water you may need to reapply this one more regularly than some of the other brands.
$29 for 80g tin | $35 tinted
For more information, ingredients list and to buy online visit www.seedsprout.com.au
People4Ocean SPF 30
Created by marine biologists and an Australian Spa Brand, LaGaia Unedited, we are no strangers to this beautiful range of products. Honestly, we were first lured in a little while back by the promise of a responsible company who were looking out for our marine eco-systems (and donating a portion of their profits to reef conservation), as well as searching for chem free sun protection that wouldn’t have us looking like the Australian Cricket Team.
This one is our top pick for sports and land based activities. We found it a little bit stickier that some of the others around sand.
The fact that P4O sun protection is Australian made is also important to us and this one is most certainly made and packaged right here in the land of OZ. We are beach lovers and sea creature lovers, the P4O marketing worked and I am so glad we found this product. On first application it does feel oily, however they are beautiful natural oils that soon settle in to make you skin feel lush and glisten. This cream is not a thick zinc but its also not what I would call a ‘dry’ sunscreen. We guarantee this sunscreen does not leave you white and zinc-y, it doesn’t run or sting little eyes (even with constant kids goggles on, goggles off) and it’s completely safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mums. Lastly some of the products in the P4O range are vegan and they most definitely do not test any of their products on animals. That’s another win in our book.
Prices start from $29.95 for 100ml
For more info, ingredient list and to shop the range visit www.people4ocean.com
Simple as That Skin SPF 30
Ok, guys this one is a 10/10 for us. It’s not often you will find a chem-free sunscreen that feels lightweight – but HERE IT IS!
Simple as That applies thin and easily, it’s not greasy nor thick and it absorbs into the skin like a dream. This is our top pick for easiest to apply.
Simple as That is a brand we hadn’t tried previously and is now by far the kids favourite. Personally, the beautiful subtle aromatics and the fact that it leaves no residue tick some seriously important boxes for me, especially when we are spending the day at the beach. Is there any thing worse than sand that sticks to sunscreen? Yeah, food that gets sand in it probably #unwantedlunchcrunch
100% natural, organic, vegan and promising fair trade. Subtle hints of rasberry seed oil. What a dreamboat. We have tested both the SPF 30 with Raspberry Seed Oil and the SPF 30 Delicate Skin Children products.
$29.00 for 100ml
For more info, ingredient list and to shop the range visit www.simpleasthat.com.au
Hello Sunshine SPF 40
Hello Sunshine 40 SPF Natural Sunscreen is another great option for younger kids. We found it really easy to rub in without being oily. Made from natural ingredients, it’s 100% preservative and paraben free, so another really gentle formulation – we had no nasty reactions to this one. It’s 2 hours water resistant, preservative and paraben free.
We also LOVED their natural and tinted SPF50 facesticks. 3 hours water resistant and great for adding some extra coverage to the face. The stick made application super easy and the size is perfect to throw in a school bag or handbag. My 8 year old has no problem swiping a bit over her nose and cheeks where she’s prone to getting burnt.
They were also recently chosen as a 2020 finalist for the favourite SunSmart product in Australia, so they’re onto a winning formula that’s for sure.
This one wins for best smell and a great all round sunscreen for all purposes. Grab a facestick for the kids school bags.
$32.95 for 100g tube | $14.95 for the facestick
More info, ingredients list and to buy online visit
WotNot Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
We tried Wotnot Natural Sunscreen and loved how natural and nourishing they were for all skin types but particularly for sensitive skin. There are 2 sizes – a 100g for bubs (green one) and 150g for the fam bam! (orange one). Both contain the same beautiful certified organic ingredients. We were very curious how this would go with our family, including 4 week old KiA our baby tester but we loved it! Making this one our top pick for all round family sunscreens.
It spread extremely easy and rubbed in nice and quick, with no crazy smells. Perhaps it was maybe a tad on the greasier side but that wasn’t much of an issue – on reading the clean ingredients on the tube we knew it would be so hydrating and gentle on our skin. Another positive is that it’s approved by the Eczema Association so that’s a big plus as so many people these days have skin irritations and on further research, we found this one actually treats these types of conditions, as well as providing great sun coverage.
We love the brand and their mission to make natural organic & eco-friendly products, particularly when it comes to safe sunscreens for babies and the nasty chemicals that can be sometimes be found even in those that claim to be natural. They use certified organic ingredients including aloe vera and jojoba oil and is reef friendly too. We would definitely use this for the little crew again.
It’s also a great price at
$19.99 for 100g tube
$28.99 for the 150g sensitive skin
For more info, ingredients list and to buy online visit
MooGoo SPF 40
MooGoo is quite a bit thicker that the other sunscreens we tried but here’s a tip – don’t rush it. Allow 30 seconds or so to allow it to warm to body temperature before you rub it in, or rub it between your hands first and then apply.
This one has been independently dermatalogically tested on people who have sensitive skin and was given on a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 being no irritation or redness and 5 being a reaction, making this our pick for kids eczema or really sensitive skin or newborn babies, the formulation is super gentle as we’ve come to expect from MooGoo.
A great price at $19.90 for 120g tube
For more info, ingredients list and to buy online visit
SurfMud SPF 30
SurfMud is made by surfers, for surfers and it’s our top pick for families who need a really great water resistant sunscreen.
We tried the original SurfMud and SurfBaby products which are both SPF 30 and 4 hours water resistant. Both are made here in Australia from natural, reef safe ingredients. The formula is quick thick and a little harder to apply but BOY when it’s on, it stays on so it’s worth spending a little bit of extra time in the application because you know that you’re not going to have to reapply for at least a few hours. The kids can be in and out of the water for ages and you can be confident that they will be covered, and it also won’t run into your eyes when it gets wet or you sweat. This makes it a little harder to remove than some of the thinner products we tried, but nothing that a warm flannel or baby wipe can’t take care of.
This really is a great option for families who spend a lot of time in the pool, at the beach or in the water.
It’s also really well priced at $25 for 125g tube.
For more info and to buy online visit www.surfmud.com
Recently awarded Gold Medals for Favourite Sun Smart Product and Favourite Outdoor Product in the My Child Excellence 2020 awards, Little Innoscents natural, mineral based Sun Lotion SPF30 is a great option when it comes to sun protection!
There are absolutely no nano-particles, chemicals or preservatives making our TGA approved sun lotion a great natural choice for the whole family. Zinc Oxide is the only active ingredient, alongside soothing vitamin E, cucumber, rosehip extract and organic green tea.
It’s water resistant for up to 3 hours and provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection . It’s proudly Australian Owned and Made, and Cruelty Free and safe to use from 6+ months, apply as directed.
Another one with a great price point at $19.95 for 100g
For more info and to buy online visit littleinnoscents.com.au
We received the above sunscreens free of charge for the purpose of this review however as for all reviews from Kids in Adelaide the above is honest and in our own words.