Planning an outing outdoors and confused which sunscreen should to buy for your child? Baby sunscreen, regular sunscreen, sunblock, or sun lotion? These are marketing terms, often interchangeably used, and can be confusing.

Well, this article should help you clear the confusion. And we recommend some popular sunscreen options for your baby.

Types of sunscreens

Which is the right sunscreen? A sunblock or a sun lotion or a sunscreen cream? To understand what is the right sunscreen for your child, let’s look at the two types of sunscreens available, based on the mode of protecting:

  1. Physical sunscreen: contains active ingredients to reflect the sunlight and thus prevents UV radiation from reaching the skin
  2. Chemical sunscreen: contains active ingredients to absorbs the UV radiation and thus prevents it from reaching the skin cells

Click here to read more about these two types of sunscreens and how they differ. 

Note: Both types are safe and provide protection when used correctly. They may differ in aesthetic appearance. 

If a baby has sensitive skin, one may want to patch test a sunscreen/sunblock before using it.

Features to consider when buying a sunscreen

Unless you really read the labels and ingredients carefully, it is difficult to know whether its a physical or chemical sunscreen. However, whichever type you use, the important thing is that it should protect from UVA and UVB [1]. So look for following ratings/labels when buying a baby sunscreen:

  • SPF value: protection from UV B (which causes sunburn, various types of skin cancers)
  • ‘Broad spectrum’/PA rating: protection from UVA (which causes skin ageing/tanning, few types of skin cancers)
  • ‘Water resistant’ sunscreen when going in water.

Click here to understand what the labels mean in terms of UVA & UVB protection, and what is the recommended rating/values for Indian conditions.

Another useful feature to look for is 

Recommendation for baby sunscreen

Following are our pick for baby sunscreen:

1. Nivea Sunscreen moisturiser

Nivea sunscreen for baby in India


This sunscreen comes with the following features:

  • SPF 30
  • Broad spectrum UV protection (PA++)
  • Sunscreen cum moisturiser
  • Water resistant
  • Value for money

2. Banana Boat Kids sunscreen lotion

banana boat baby sunscreen India


This sunscreen comes with the following features:

  • SPF 50+
  • Broad spectrum UV protection (PA++++)
  • Water & sweat resistant
  • Non-fragrant

3. Neutrogena Dry Touch sunblock

Neutrogena sunscreen for baby in India


This sunscreen has the following features:

  • SPF 50+
  • Broad spectrum UV protection (PA+++)
  • Water & sweat resistant
  • Does not feel greasy/oily after application



4. Jovees Sun Defence cream

Jovees sunscreen for baby in India


Jovees sun defence cream comes with the following features:

  • SPF 50
  • Broad spectrum UV protection (PA+++)
  • Great value for money [2]


5. Lotus Herbals Safe Sun sunblock cream 

Lotus herbals sunscreen for baby in India


Lotus herbals Safe Sun sunscreen comes with the following features:

  • SPF 30
  • Broad spectrum UV protection (PA++)
  • Water & sweat resistant
  • Non-greasy
  • Suitable for all skin types

Homemade sunscreens

Are you worried about the chemical composition of commercially made sunscreen? Or are you an enthusiastic DIY mom who would like to make baby sunscreen for her little sunshine? Sunscreen is not a modern age creation. For centuries people have been using natural and locally available ingredients (with SPF values) for protection against the Sun. Remember how your mom applied Coconut/Almond oil before sending you out for Holi? It was not just for protection against colour but also a natural sunscreen when you are splashing water and colours for hours outdoors.

Some of the natural sources which are known for natural sun protection abilities are:

  • Coconut oil
  • Nut & seed oil: almond oil, olive oil, carrot seed oil [herbal oils SPF values]
  • Aloe vera
  • Turmeric [3]

Following two online resources have interesting options for homemade sunscreens:

  1. Wellness Mama 
  2. Homemade sunscreen for Indian weather

Discuss with your paediatrician before using a homemade sunscreen for your baby.

How to use sunscreen

The recommended regime for using sunscreen is:

Misconceptions around the usage of sunscreen

There are few misconceptions about using a sunscreen:

  1. Reapplication isn’t required if using a sunscreen with higher SPF/UVA protection value
  2. Applying a thin layer of sunscreen is sufficient if you have a darker skin tone
  3. You can apply sunscreen and immediately step out in the sun (true only if the manufacturer recommends so)


Sunscreen is an important and universally accepted solution of protecting from sun’s UV radiation. For your child above 6 months of age, opt for a sunscreen which suits his sensitive skin. You can choose to make your sunscreen from natural ingredients. Always discuss with your paediatrician the best suitable sunscreen option for your child.