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Many of my readers have asked me what sun care products we use in our home. My fellow beach-lovers want to know what sunscreen I use for myself and my kids, and what products I recommend for treating inevitable sunburned noses and red shoulders for my family.
For the past few years, I’ve spent hours researching and experimenting with different sunscreen lotions, sticks and sprays to find something that protected our skin and worked for my family at the beach. Every child in my family has dealt with a sunburned nose or shoulders in recent years, as well as the adults. Sometimes deciding what products to use in the sun was overwhelming, since information on the best sunscreen for kids is difficult to find.
As a mother of three fair-skinned children who love the beach, I’ve learned a thing or two about sunscreen and sunburns through the years. When I was young, I had my fair share of painful sunburns as a teenager myself, and the tender peeling skin that follows, so I understand the importance of good skin care at the beach. So I want to share with you what sunscreen products we use in our home.
Below, I’ve listed some of our family’s tried-and-true favorite sunscreen products to prevent overexposure, and products for caring for sensitive, sunburned skin.
Our Favorite Sunscreens
With hundreds of sunscreen products on the market, how do you know which ones work best? You find the best ones through trial and error, like I’ve done for years. Now I’ve saved you time and energy by compiling a list of our family’s favorite sunscreens that we turn to time and time again. Here are my picks.
Best sunscreen spray:
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 50
(or the SPF 70 spray here)
Best sunscreen stick:
Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30
(and this awesome Sun Bum Signature Tinted Face Stick SPF 50)
Best sunscreen lotion:
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55
(or the popular SPF 100+ version here)
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Facial Sun Care
Everyone knows the sun at the beach can be brutal on your skin, but especially tough on your face. Excess sun on your face can cause sunburns, premature wrinkling, extra freckles, sun spots and even skin cancer. Your face is your best asset, so protect it from the sun! Here are my top picks.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen SPF 46
(or this EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40 here)
CeraVe Tinted Hydrating Mineral Facial Sunscreen SPF 30
(or this hugely popular CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30)
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Gentle Baby & Kid Sunscreens
Most kids love their playtime at the beach and splashing in the water. Children’s skin is especially vulnerable when out in the sun and sunscreen is essential to ensure they enjoy the day. Our kids have each endured painful sunburns at some point in their childhood, so we now have sunscreen rules for our family. Sunscreen sticks for the face, spray if you’re on land, lotion if you’re going in the water. And we reapply often.
Sun Bum’s Baby Bum SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
(or the Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 50 here)
Coppertone Pure & Simple Baby SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion & Stick
(or the Coppertone WaterBabies SPF 50 Lotion Spray Multipack here)
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick SPF 70
(or the Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Stick & Ultra Sheer SPF 70 Stick combo set here)
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Mineral vs. chemical sunscreens, what’s the difference? These mineral sunscreens, also known as “physical sunscreens”, work slightly different than chemical sunscreens by deflecting the sun’s UV rays. So technically, chemical sunscreens prevent sun damage to your skin by absorbing the harmful UV rays of the sun, but often require more frequent application. While mineral sunscreens are commonly know to be thicker and difficult to apply, they are said to be more effective because they are thicker. Regardless of which type you use, the best sunscreen is the one you use most often.
Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder SPF 30
(or the kids’ version, BOB KIDS Brush On Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 30)
Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, Vegan & Reef-Friendly
Coppertone Pure & Simple 100% Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
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After Sun Care for Sunburned Skin
Ouch. The heat of a sunburn can cause pain and discomfort for days, not to mention fever, chills and days of peeling, sensitive skin. Prepare your sunscreen routine for the inevitable red noses, shoulders and legs after spending the day at the beach. These are my top picks for cooling the heat and moisturizing that dry, sensitive skin.
Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel with Cocoa Butter
(and the Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Spray here)
Solarcaine Cool Aloe Burn Relief Spray with Lidocaine
(or this cooling Alocane Severe Sunburn Gel with Lidocaine)
Burt’s Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After-Sun Soother
Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter with Coconut Oil
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Other Sun Care Products I Recommend
Sun Hat: Wide brim hats are popular at the beach and this one is my favorite
Sunglasses: My favorite shades that don’t slip when I’m wearing sunscreen
Shade Tents: This is one of the easiest shade tents to pop up and pack up (or this HUGE 10’x20′ Pop Up Party Tent looks awesome!)
RELATED: 10 Things I Always Pack in my Beach Bag
Regardless if you’re at the beach for a day or spending the week at the coast, sun protection is so very important. Take the time to find a great sunscreen routine and reapply often. Few things will ruin a beach trip more than a serious sunburn and the recovery time needed.
Plan ahead to have these recommended sunscreens in your beach bag before you go, so you can savor the sun AND the shade. Enjoy!