Pregnancy and Sunscreen: What You Need to Know

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 10:05 pm

Spring is in full swing, the days are getting longer and warmer; Summer is around the corner. One thing that should be on your radar is safe sun protection, especially if you’re pregnant! While some people may assume that sunscreen isn’t safe to use during pregnancy, the truth is that it’s perfectly safe – as long as you choose the right type.

Safe Sunscreen During Pregnancy - Poolside with Wide Brim Hat

When I was on my fertility journey, I became hyper-aware of the things I was putting in and on my body. Sunscreen has always been an essential part of my skincare routine, but as I began researching safe sunscreens to use while pregnant, I found myself overwhelmed by the options and conflicting information. I wanted to make sure I was using a sunscreen that would protect me from the sun’s harmful rays, while also being safe for me and my baby. Through my hunt for safe sunscreens, I learned a lot about what to look for – and what to avoid – and I’m excited to share with you!

Are Sunscreens Safe During Pregnant?

Yes, sunscreens are generally safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, pregnant women are often more susceptible to sun damage due to hormonal changes that can cause their skin to be more sensitive to the sun.

However, not all sunscreens are created equal, and some can contain harmful ingredients that are best avoided during pregnancy. That’s why it’s essential to choose safe and effective sunscreens.

Did you know that sun damage during pregnancy can have more serious consequences than just sunburn? Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can cause skin discoloration, dark patches, and even melasma, a condition that causes dark, pigmented areas to appear on the skin. In some cases, melasma can be challenging to treat and can persist even after pregnancy. I didn’t know this either until I started my research!

That’s why it’s so important to take sun protection seriously during pregnancy. By using a safe and effective sunscreen, you can help reduce your risk of sun damage and keep both you and your baby healthy and protected.

Safe Sunscreen During Pregnancy - Heart Outline in Sunscreen

Using Sunscreen While Pregnant

The best type of sunscreen to use while pregnant (and even when not!) is a mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens contain physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which form a protective barrier on the skin to reflect UV rays. These ingredients are considered safe for use during pregnancy, as they don’t penetrate the skin and are not absorbed into the bloodstream.

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens contain synthetic compounds that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, create a physical barrier on the skin that reflects UV rays.

While both types of sunscreens can effectively protect the skin from the sun, chemical sunscreens have raised some concerns among health experts. Some studies suggest that certain chemical sunscreen ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream and potentially harm fetal development. No mama wants to harm her baby so sick with mineral sunscreens.

What to Avoid in Sunscreens

When shopping for sunscreen, it’s important to read the label carefully and avoid certain ingredients. Here are the top five ingredients to stay away from in sunscreens, especially while pregnant:

Oxybenzone

This chemical sunscreen ingredient has been linked to hormonal disruptions and can potentially affect fetal development.

Octinoxate

Another chemical sunscreen ingredient that can disrupt hormones and may harm fetal development.

Retinyl Palmitate

A form of vitamin A, which can increase the risk of birth defects when applied topically.

Homosalate

This ingredient is a potential hormone disruptor that can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream.

Octocrylene

A chemical sunscreen ingredient that may cause allergic reactions and be a hormone disruptor.

While some of these ingredients are still commonly used in sunscreens, it’s best to avoid them if possible. Instead, look for sunscreens that use natural, plant-based ingredients and that are labeled as mineral or physical sunscreens.

Safe Sunscreen During Pregnancy - Beach View with Sunscreen Bottle

What Sunscreens Are Safe During Pregnancy

Now that we’ve established the importance of using safe sunscreens during pregnancy, you might be wondering which products to choose. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to navigate the world of sunscreen ingredients and formulations. To help make things easier, I’ve put together a list of ten sunscreens that are safe to use while pregnant.

Whether you’re looking for a lightweight tinted sunscreen for everyday wear or a heavy-duty sport sunscreen for outdoor adventures, there’s something on this list for everyone.

All Good Tinted Sunscreen Lotion – SPF 30: This lightweight and non-greasy sunscreen is perfect for everyday use, with a subtle tint that helps even out skin tone.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Stick – SPF 50+: This easy-to-apply sunscreen stick is perfect for on-the-go touch-ups, with a high SPF rating for maximum protection.

Pipette Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen: This gentle and fragrance-free sunscreen is perfect for sensitive skin, and features a high SPF rating for long-lasting protection. My personal favorite!

EiR NYC Surf Mud SPF 30: This natural sunscreen is perfect for active moms-to-be, with a waterproof formula that won’t budge during water sports or sweaty workouts.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen: This reef-friendly and water-resistant sunscreen is perfect for outdoor activities, with a blend of mineral and chemical filters for broad-spectrum protection.

Badger Reef Safe Sunscreen, SPF 40 Sport Mineral: This natural and eco-friendly sunscreen is perfect for outdoor adventures, with a non-greasy formula that won’t clog pores.

Ilia C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen: This multitasking sunscreen doubles as a skincare serum, with a lightweight and non-greasy formula that absorbs quickly and layers well under makeup. I use this everyday under my makeup.

Supergoop Mineral Sheerscreen Sunscreen SPF 30: This tinted and lightweight sunscreen is perfect for everyday wear, with a sheer finish that evens out skin tone and a mineral-based formula that won’t irritate sensitive skin.

Hello Bello Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion: This affordable and fragrance-free sunscreen is perfect for moms-to-be on a budget, with a high SPF rating for maximum protection.

Earth Mama Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40: This gentle and natural sunscreen features a subtle tint that helps even out skin tone, with a blend of mineral and plant-based ingredients that won’t irritate sensitive skin.

Taking care of your skin during pregnancy is crucial, especially when it comes to sun protection. By using a mineral-based sunscreen and avoiding harmful ingredients, you can enjoy the great outdoors without putting yourself or your baby at risk. With so many safe and effective sunscreens available, there’s no reason to skip this essential step in your skincare routine. So, make sure to apply before you head out, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day. Your skin (and your baby) will thank you!


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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.

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Welcome! It is so great to have you here. As a Certified Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant, my mission is to support you in achieving a healthy pregnancy. Whether you are ready to prepare your body for pregnancy, aiming for a smooth and healthy nine months, or seeking support in your postpartum recovery. I also help parents and their young children embrace nutritious eating and a healthy lifestyle. I provide practical advice and support to help you meet your goals: from getting your body ready for pregnancy, to enjoying a healthy pregnancy journey, and nurturing your children’s well-being. As a mom myself, I’ve gone through it and I understand your aspirations and the hurdles you might face. Let’s partner together to create a healthy journey into parenthood.