4 Best Fragrance-Free Sunscreens For Kids In 2023

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Welcome to our review of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids in 2023. As concerned parents and caregivers, we know how crucial it is to protect our children’s delicate skin from the harmful effects of the sun. And with so many sun protection products available on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. But one thing you should always avoid is fragrances.

That’s why we’ve rigorously tested and analyzed the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids on the market in 2023. We consider their effectiveness, skin-friendliness, and ease of application, as well as safety. In this review, we’ll present our top picks, each carefully chosen to provide optimal sun protection while ensuring a gentle, irritation-free experience for your child’s skin. Join us as we explore the best options available, helping you make an informed decision to keep your little ones safe and comfortable.

Sunscreen protects against sunburn, premature aging and reduces cancer risk. But it is even more important to protect kids’ sensitive skin. Children have thinner and more sensitive skin than adults, and their skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun’s rays. That’s why it is critical to find a sunscreen that is both protective from the sun’s damaging rays and safe for you on your child’s delicate skin.

Unfortunately, not all sunscreens are the same. But fortunately, we’re here to help and guide you to find the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids.

Are special fragrance-free sunscreens for kids necessary?

When it comes to sunscreens, there isn’t really a difference whether between kids’ sunscreen and adult sunscreen. In both cases, the active ingredients are typically the same. However, kids’ sunscreens are usually mineral as opposed to chemical sunscreens.

That’s because they are generally deemed safer for children. Mineral fragrance-free sunscreens for kids create a barrier on the skin that reflects UV light instead of absorbing it into the skin as chemical sunscreens do.

So while chemical fragrance-free sunscreens can be ok for kids, mineral sunscreens are generally considered the best and safest option.

Why use fragrance-free sunscreens for kids?

A good sunscreen guards against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, decreasing the risk of sunburn, premature skin aging, and potentially skin cancer. It’s important to start protecting your child’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays at an early age, especially when kids spend time outside.

As people become more aware of the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin, sunscreens have become widespread. But it is still common for people to overlook fragrances in sunscreens while choosing a product. Most people don’t know that fragrance chemicals can cause skin allergies and irritation. In some cases, these chemicals have also been linked to cancer and hormone disruption. Therefore, choosing a fragrance-free sunscreen is critical to avoid these potential risks.

What’s the difference between a chemical or mineral sunscreen for kids?

Sunscreens are either chemical or mineral (also known as physical).

Mineral (also known as physical) sunscreens block and protect the skin by reflecting away UV rays using the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These sunscreens are usually thicker in consistency and don’t absorb into the skin as easily as chemical sunscreens. Some mineral sunscreens tend to leave a white residue on the skin.

Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone and work by absorbing UV rays before they can damage your skin. Chemical sunscreens are often easier to apply than their mineral counterparts and leave little to no white residue. That said, chemical sunscreens are more likely to cause a reaction for those with very sensitive skin, and recent studies have found active ingredients to be endocrine disruptors.

So be cautious of chemical sunscreens when selecting a kids’ sunscreen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for regulating sunscreen safety, has recently proposed updates to sunscreen regulations. As per the available information, only two ingredients, namely zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are deemed safe and effective in sunscreens for kids.

Additionally, there is a growing concern regarding the health effects of some chemical sunscreens. The FDA has identified 12 active ingredients commonly used in sunscreens that need additional safety data. These ingredients include oxybenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, padimate O, sulisobenzone, and avobenzone.

Unfortunately, these are often found in chemical fragrance-free sunscreens for kids, and we advise you carefully study the ingredients list of any sunscreen applied to children and possibly avoid the chemicals mentioned above.

Choosing fragrance-free sunscreens for kids

When selecting fragrance-free sunscreens for kids, we recommend that you look for the following:

  • Fragrance-free: To avoid harmful fragrance chemicals, opt for a fragrance-free sunscreen.
  • Mineral: Choose a mineral sunscreen as opposed to a chemical sunscreen.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreen: Go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects the skin from both UVB, which is related to sunburns, and UVA rays, that is related to the aging of the skin.
  • Minimum SPF 30: To ensure adequate protection from the sun, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreens with at least 30 SPF.
  • Water-resistant: Note that it isn’t the same as water-proof, so reapply generously and frequently, particularly after swimming or sweating.

Suncreen tip: Be mindful of packagings that boasts of being “recommended by pediatricians” or “dermatologist-approved”. These claims only require one dermatologist or pediatrician to approve the product. The claim in itself does not mean that the product is bad, but it doesn’t neccesarily mean that it is good either.

What does SPF in fragrance-free sunscreens for kids stand for?

SPF in fragrance-free sunscreens for children, or any sunscreen for that matter, stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a numerical grade used to determine how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays, which cause sunburn. It tells you how long you can stay in the sun without burning as compared to not using sunscreen. Higher SPF numbers provide better protection.

It’s important to note that no sunscreen can completely block ultraviolet radiation (UV):

  • SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UV rays
  • SPF 30 protects against 97 percent of UV rays
  • SPF 50 protects against 98 percent of UV rays

Always opt for sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. And for kids, consider 50 SPF.

With all the facts out of the way, let’s move on to the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids in 2023.

The 4 best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids

After testing countless fragrance-free sunscreens and studying ingredient lists, we have found the 4 best fragrance-free sunscreens for children. When testing, we have weighted:

  • Sun protection effectiveness
  • Skin-friendliness, including the absence of fragrances
  • Ease of application and use
  • Prices

More or less in that order, but putting weight on all factors in our review of fragrance-free sunscreens for kids. Next, our list of the 4 best children’s sunscreens without fragrances.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen is the best fragrance-free sunscreen for kids.

This fragrance-free mineral-based SPF 50+ sunscreen from Blue Lizard provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. It is made with the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It is free of fragrances, paraben, oxybenzone, and octinoxate.

This mineral sunscreen has a slightly runnier consistency compared to others, making it easy to apply, which is helpful when applying to kids who may not be particularly interested in the project.

Additionally, it doesn’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin and only leaves a slight white cast. It protects from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays for up to 80 minutes after application.

We really like that it doesn’t leave our skin feeling dry, which many mineral-based sunscreens tend to do. A fun gimmick is that the bottle changes color when exposed to UV light, which is something the kids may find enjoyable.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is also our top pick for the best overall fragrance-free sunscreens in 2023 and is thus the best fragrance-free sunscreen for kids and grown-ups alike.

Type: Mineral | SPF: 50+ | Active ingredients: zinc oxide 10% and titanium dioxide 8% | Water-resistant: Up to 80 minutes

Neutrogena Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen for Kids, Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Neutrogena Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen for Kids, Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ is our second pick of the best fragfrance-free sunscreens for children.

This fragrance-free sheer zinc sunscreen from Neutrogena is a great choice for those who want to stay clear of fragranced sunscreens. It is free from fragrances, oil, dye, and parabens. This broad spectrum offers UVA/ UVB protection and is formulated with naturally-sourced 100% mineral zinc oxide as its active ingredient. Like the other choices on the list, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

We like that it is non-greasy and easy to apply, making it ideal for your little one. All taken together, the sunscreen from Neutrogena is one of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids.

Note: this sunscreen contains flower/leaf/stem juice.

Type: Mineral | SPF: 50+ | Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide (21.6%) | Water-resistant: up to 80 minutes

Coppertone Pure and Simple Zinc Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen, SPF 50

Coppertone Pure and Simple Zinc Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen, SPF 50 is another of our pick of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids.

Next on our list of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids is Coppertone’s fragrance-free mineral sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection with zinc oxide. Beyond being fragrance-free, it is also formulated without dyes, parabens, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), octinoxate, or oxybenzone (making it reef-safe for those trips to the beach).

The sunscreen is easy to rub in, its ‘silky’ texture feels great on the skin, and it doesn’t leave a white film after application, which many chalkier, mineral-based sunscreens tend to do. That makes it a lot easier to apply to wiggly children who would rather be outside playing than being subjected to your sunscreen routine.

It’s slightly cheaper than the Blue Lizard and one of the best fragrance-free sunscreens we’ve tested. Coppertone’s perfume-free sunscreen easily earns a spot on our list of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids in 2023.

Note: this sunscreen contains botanical extracts (tea leaf, sea kelp, and lotus).

Type: Mineral | SPF: 50+ | Active ingredients: zinc oxide 24.08% | Water-resistant: up to 80 minutes

Babyganics Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen for Kids (Spray), SPF 50

Babyganics Mineral Fragrance-Free Sunscreen for Kids (Spray), SPF 50 is one of the best sunscreens for kids.

Babyganics mineral sunscreen is formulated without PABA, phthalates, parabens, or nanoparticles. It is made without synthetic fragrances but contains a seed oil blend.

The mineral fragrance-free sunscreen for kids leaves a slight white cast after application, which some people might not appreciate. In contrast, others might find it beneficial to reveal any missed spots on a wiggling child.

Unlike the other products on our list of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids, this one is a spray that some may prefer as it can ease the application of the sunscreen. But make sure to rub the sunscreen in and apply it liberally.

Type: Mineral | SPF: 50 | Active ingredients: titanium dioxide 3.5%, zinc oxide 7.25% | Water-resistant: up to 80 minutes

Botanical extracts in fragrance-free products

Some of the fragrance-free sunscreens on our list contain botanical extracts meaning they are not completely fragrance-free as, for instance, Vanicreams sunscreen. That said, we’ve still included the sunscreens because they are free of synthetic fragrances and are scentless, but for those with very sensitive skin, they may not be the best choice (and always remember to perform a safe test before application).

Summary of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids

In our review of the best fragrance-free sunscreens for kids, we have found several benefits to using fragrance-free sunscreens for children, why you should opt for a mineral sunscreen for kids, and which of the many products on the market is the best sunscreen for children that do not contain fragrances.

More fragrance-free sunscreen reviews at withoutfragrance.com

We have reviewed the best fragrance-free sunscreen for all use cases. See some of our other fragrance-free sunscreen reviews:

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