15 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen Brands For Expecting Mamas

POSTED ON

January 6, 2022

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These pregnancy safe sunscreen options are healthy for both you and baby and are free from all potentially harmful ingredients so you can feel confident knowing that you are protecting your skin with a pregnancy safe sunscreen.

When I first became pregnant I remember spending hours researching all the different skincare products I was using, and wondering which ones were safe. Unfortunately, what I found is that there really isn’t a lot of great information on what is and isn’t safe to use on our skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding, mostly because it’s unethical to test anything on pregnant and breastfeeding women.

While it can be difficult to find mainstream brands that will 100% say that their products are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, there are steps we can take to avoid known harmful ingredients and choose the healthiest products for us and our babies, and yes that includes pregnancy safe sunscreen.

How To Choose A Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen?

When it comes to choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen the following are good guidelines to follow so that you can feel confident standing in the sunscreen aisle, knowing that you are choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen.

Opt For Mineral Based Sunscreen

Mineral based sunscreens sit on top of the skin versus being absorbed and soaked into our skin, and therefore our bloodstream. So when it comes to choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen, opting for a mineral sunscreen is the way to go.

Avoid These Harmful Ingredients

The following ingredients are known to be harmful and in some countries are already being banned. So when it comes to choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen, make sure that the ingredient list doesn’t include any of the below ingredients.

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone
  • Mineral Oil
  • Fragrance/Parfum
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP, DMP, and Others)
  • Parabens

If you want to dive even further into ingredients you should avoid in your skincare in general, then check out this restricted ingredients list by Follain that covers the main ingredients found in skincare products that pregnant women (and all people) should really avoid.

Choose Fragrance Free

Artificial fragrance will often be listed as “fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient label, and is known to be disruptive to our health from inducing asthma, to causing migraines, and contact dermatitis. For these reasons it is best to always choose fragrance free.

Is Sunscreen Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, sunscreen is absolutely safe during pregnancy and in fact your skin may be more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy, which makes using sunscreen even more important.

The following are safe active ingredients that if you see on your sunscreen you will know the you have a pregnancy safe sunscreen brand.

  • Zinc Oxide
  • Titanium Dioxide
12 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen Brands For Expecting Mamas

How To Make Sure Your Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen Protects From UVA and UVB Rays

When it comes to protecting your skin from the potentially harmful rays of the sun, there are two different types we need to be thinking about: UVA and UVB.

UVA and UVB are two different kinds of rays from the sun that enter our atmosphere and can lead to things like premature skin aging, skin cancer, eye damage, and sunburns. But how are these two sunrays different?

UVA Rays

UVA rays the rays from the sun that we are the most exposed to throughout our lives. These rays don’t vary much in intensity over the course of the year and can pass through clouds and even glass windows, meaning that we are always being exposed to them. This is why it is so important to make sure that you are protecting your skin from UVA rays all year round, even in the colder winter months when you may not feel like you need to.

UVA rays are also the kind of rays that penetrate deeper into our skin and are most responsible for skin cancer development and skin aging.

UVB Rays

UVB rays, on the other hand, are the kind of rays that are most responsible for sunburns and skin redness as they impact the outermost layer of the skin. While UVB rays also play a role in causing skin cancer and aging, they do vary in intensity throughout the year based on both location and season. This is why at very high altitudes UVB rays can actually be very strong, even when the weather is cold.

Because both UVB and UVA rays impact the skin in different ways, it is important that you make sure that the sunscreen you are using protects against both kinds of rays. Physical sunscreens are pregnancy safe sunscreens that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays naturally, and would be considered “broad spectrum”.

women with straw hat in pool pregnancy safe sunscreen brands

Physical Sunscreens Vs. Chemical Sunscreens

Choosing a sunscreen can feel complicated, especially with so many options available in stores today. But when it comes to choosing the best sunscreen that is safe during pregnancy there are two different kinds to know about, but only one you should be choosing!

Chemical

Chemical sunscreens are the sunscreens you will want to avoid during pregnancy (and in general, we really can’t wait for the day when they are removed entirely from the market).

Chemical sunscreens are sunscreens that contain known harmful compounds like oxybenzone that have been found to be damaging to coral reefs, and capable of being absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and even milk supply of pregnant and breastfeeding women!

Chemicals like oxybenzone that are found in chemical sunscreens work by absorbing into the skin and creating a chemical reaction that absorbs UV rays keeping them from ever penetrating the skin. These chemicals have been found to irritate sensitive skin, exhibit hormone-disrupting qualities, and cause photosensitization.

To put it simply, these are the types of sunscreens and chemicals that everyone should avoid, but especially pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Physical (Mineral)

So if you shouldn’t be using chemical sunscreens then what sunscreens should you be using? The answer is physical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens (commonly referred to as mineral sunscreens) contain minerals that work to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting damaging UV rays away from your skin.

These types of sunscreen are also known as “physical sun-blockers” and the two most common minerals you will see being used as active ingredients in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is our ideal mineral of choice though as it has better UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection (titanium dioxide should really be combined with zinc oxide for the best broad-spectrum protection). Zinc is also helpful for healing the skin which makes it a healthy ingredient both for topical use and for protection from the sun.

Lastly, physical sunscreens are also are much less likely to irritate sensitive skin and are safe during pregnancy, and best for babies and children (but we think that all adults should be using them as well).

My Current Sunscreen Routine

I have tried all of the pregnancy safe sunscreens on this list, but the three below are my current favorites that I use daily.

Salt + Stone Mineral Sunscreen: I love that this body sunscreen is also gentle enough for babies, which means that I can just pack one sunscreen for the whole family.
Saie Slip Tint Tinted Face Sunscreen: I use this tinted sunscreen/moisturizer every day and love how easy it has made protecting my skin and helping me feel a little more put together fast!
Saie Sunvisor Sheet Face Sunscreen: If I don’t want to wear anything tinted this Saie Sunvisor sunscreen is my other favorite for my face. I have really sensitive, breakout prone skin and all the Saie products just feel amazing on my skin.

The 15 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen For Expecting Mamas

Now that you know what types of sunscreen you should be looking for (physical/mineral zinc oxide sunscreen) and what types of sunscreen to avoid (chemical sunscreen), it’s time we got to our favorite pregnancy-safe sunscreens that all expecting mamas can feel comfortable and confident using throughout their pregnancy.

12 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen Brands For Expecting Mamas

You really can’t go wrong with any of the above nontoxic sunscreen options this summer, and you can rest assured that you are safely protecting both your skin and your baby with these pregnancy safe sunscreens.

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Meet Meg
Mom to a happy baby girl, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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