Sunscreen is a must, but is having a separate sunscreen for kids really necessary? We asked Dendy Engelman, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York, for some clarification.
First of all, does everybody need to be wearing different sunscreen? “You absolutely do not need to buy separate formulas for different members of the family. In fact, I often tell my patients to buy the baby versions for their personal use.”
Tell it to me straight: Is there even a difference between “kid” and “adult” sunscreen? In a nutshell: No. Though many “kids’” sunscreens tend to be mineral-based because they’re less likely to cause irritation.
So, can a child use “adult” sunscreen? Yes, but only if it’s a mineral or physical formula, says Engelman. “You want something that’s formulated with either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two,” she explains. So, look for those two ingredients and make sure that it offers broad spectrum (or UVA/UVB) protection of at least 30. Some of our favorite adult brands that are totally safe to use on children include Alba Botanica Sensitive Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen ($8) and Australian Gold Botanical SPF 30 Lotion ($14).