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Best Sunscreens for the Average Parent

I don’t need to tell you about the importance of proper sun protection for both the average parent, and his/her kids. But, finding the right product and application technique can sometimes be difficult. In my case, applying sunscreen was a battle with a wriggling little guy, which usually ended up with greased hair and the occasional eye irritation. I knew there had to be a better way. So our team of reviewers set out to find the best sunscreens that were easy to apply and didn’t irritate baby’s delicate skin or run into the eyes. We reviewed products guaranteed to be hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested, and talked to both average parents and the experts to learn the best tips for top protection. In our product review, The Average Parent team has narrowed down the list to provide a few recommendations for both baby and the average mom looking for a good sunscreen base under makeup.

Check back next week when we’ll post recommendations for proper sunscreen application and the best solutions for soothing a sunburn. For now, here are our top picks.

For Baby


Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple (SPF 50) – New for 2009
$10-$12 for 8oz, available at most retailers nationwide
Let’s face it, Water Babies has been a summer mainstay for more than 50 years because of its gentle formula. Now, Coppertone has taken a good product and made it even better. The new Pure and Simple product goes on thicker and whiter, allowing for more even distribution. The thicker formula also keeps the lotion in place—helping to avoid eye irritation. Unlike the traditional Water Babies formula, Pure and Simple absorbs quickly and leaves no sticky, chalky or greasy residue on baby’s skin or clothes.

Some key features you can find with this product: Tear free; Oil, fragrance, and dye free; Hypoallergenic; Gentle, zinc oxide sun protection formula; Special moisturizers and aloe to help keep babies’ skin soft and smooth; Dermatologist, ophthalmologist, and pediatrician tested; Waterproof; and Broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

baby silk babysafe sunscreen towelettes (SPF 30)
$26.00 for 15 towelettes, available online
OK, so $26 is a bit of a splurge for just 15 applications, but trust me on this one. Baby Silk is the first pediatrician-developed personal care line especially for babies…so you know where their focus is. Because the application is so fast, easy and gentle they’re an ideal choice for parents with infants or children suffering from hyperactivity, sensory disorders and even autism.

According to the company website, each wipe is saturated with a gentle, sweat-proof, broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen that’s enriched with Vitamins E and B5, marine silk, aloe and oat. It’s gentle enough for even the youngest baby’s skin. Each wipe contains enough sunscreen to cover baby from head to toe, with no fuss and no mess.

Some key features you can find with this product: Contains no phthalates, lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum or waxes; Contains physical sunscreens, titanium and zinc oxide, as the only active ingredients; Protects against UVA and UVB rays; Clinically tested & hypoallergenic; Made in the USA; No animal testing

***As an added bonus, MD Moms is offering a 25% discount when you buy 6 or more of one product. So, stock up on their sunscreen towelettes and save money at the same time! Just enter the “LOVEYOU” code when checking out.***

Mad Gab’s Face Stick (SPF 30)
$6.50 a stick, available at select locations nationwide and online at www.madgabs.com
Coppertone and Banana Boat offer comparable SPF face sticks, but I just love Mad Gab’s. Check out their website and you’ll understand what I mean. With an eco-friendly, community-minded approach, it’s hard not to fall in love with their all-natural products. The face stick is especially great for families on the go, as well as itty bitty infants. As you may already know, the American Acadamy of Pediatrics now recommends limited sunscreen use on babies under 6 months (opposed to a previous recommendation of no sunscreen at all). Mad Gab’s face stick is ideal for applying all-natural, non-irritating protection to those tiny noses and hands. It’s super easy to apply and perfect for delicate skin. My baby actually enjoys it when I apply the product to his face…

Some key features you can find with this product: The Face Stick with SPF 30 is packed with cocoa butter and jojoba that moisturizes skin while providing strong protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Just throw it in the diaper bag and off you go.

SAFE BABY Waterproof Sun Protection SPF 50, from Skin by Monica Olson
$23 for 4oz, available at select locations nationwide, in Canada and online at http://skinbymonica.com/
We have tested tons and tons of sunscreens in search of an all-natural alternative to chemical-based lotions. Before I tried SAFE BABY, I didn’t think I was going to find one that was worth recommending. Unlike other all-natural lotions, SAFE BABY is extremely easy to apply, has a pleasant smell, goes on smooth and doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind.

Some key features you can find with this product: no harsh chemicals; gentle even on the most sensitive skin; derived from organic ingredients; dermatologist tested.

For Mom (and even Dad)


Banana Boat Ultra Defense Faces (SPF 30) – New for 2009
$10-$12 for 3oz, available at most retailers nationwide
With lifelong allergies and the most sensitive skin, I’ve searched high and low for a good sunscreen I could wear on my face without irritating my skin and eyes. For most of my life I either went without protection on my face (eek!) or I used a greasy, all-purpose lotion that did the job, but wasn’t exactly my ideal choice. Finally I’ve found a product that goes on light, is oil free, sweat resistant and non-irritating. I put it on before makeup and you can’t even tell it’s there.

Some key features you can find with this product: enriched with vitamins and complete with AvoTriplex technology; oil free; hypoallergenic; fragrance free; everyday protection that hydrates skin; new non-greasy formula; very water resistant; absorbs quickly; also available in SPF 15, 30 and 50 lotion and UltraMist 30, 50 and 85 for allover protection.

Coppertone NutraShield SPF 30 with Dual Defense – New for 2009
$10-$12 for 6oz, available at retailers nationwide
Along with Banana Boat’s Ultra Defense, Coppertone’s Dual Defense is another hot new product to hit shelves this season, and the top pick for best overall sunscreen for the average parent. This incredibly light lotion absorbs quickly, doesn’t leave any sticky residue behind and carries a very light and pleasant fragrance. According to Coppertone’s website, it was especially designed for women to be hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). However, I don’t see why the average dad couldn’t also benefit from using this amazing lotion.

Some key features you can find with this product: helps prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun; enriched with specially selected antioxidants to promote natural skin repair; appropriate for everyday use; water resistant; durable broad spectrum, photostable UVA/UVB protection; dermatologist tested; also available in SPF 70 lotion and a SPF 70 face lotion.

Visit www.coppertone.com to get a $5 off coupon

Review Disclaimer: The Average Parent tested more than 30 different sunscreen products from mainstream companies, independent small businesses, high-end boutiques and environmentally-conscious manufacturers. Virtually all products, with the exception of a few, were provide free of charge by the respective manufacturers or vendors. This is not a scientific review to test the effectiveness of protection or the integrity of ingredients—we are just average parents who simply looked for the best feeling and smelling, and easiest to use products. To maintain integrity, The Average Parent has a review policy in effect that promises to only post reviews on products we absolutely love. So, you likely won’t hear about the products we didn’t like, and you can be guaranteed that we won’t post a review just because we got a product for free.

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