What is the Difference Between Baby Sunscreen and Regular?

putting on sunscreen

Many parents concerned of the effects UV radiations buy both baby sunscreen and regular sunscreen to provide adequate protection to the whole family. But what if you could save some money by investing in just one type of sunscreen? Can adults use baby sunscreen? And what is the difference between baby sunscreen and the regular formula for adults? These are the questions we aim to answer in this article...

Can Adults Use Baby Sunscreen?

Short answer: Yes! If a sunscreen is good enough to protect your baby, it’s good enough to protect yourself too. Using baby sunscreen instead of regular also comes with additional benefits.

To begin with, baby sunscreen – just as any other cosmetic product formulated for babies – is ideal for people with sensitive skin or those who suffer from allergies. In the particular case of sunscreens, baby formulas consist of physical UV barriers that don’t get absorbed into the skin.

The odds of getting an allergic reaction from baby sunscreen are truly minimal. Furthermore, the protection factor (SPF) is the same in both kids and adults products.

Badger - Baby Sunscreen Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Protection, Chamomile and...

What is the Difference Between Baby Sunscreen and Regular?

Perhaps you’re now wondering what the difference between baby sunscreen and the regular one for adults is. In the end, if both do the same thing, why is one marked as “for babies” while the others are not even if they serve the same purpose?

As sad as it may seem, it’s all about marketing. The difference between baby sunscreen and regular stands in the type of product you’re going to buy. The former also referred to as biodegradable sunscreen, provides a physical barrier against UV radiations.

It contains only one or two active ingredients, either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. These active ingredients are white powders mixed with other inactive ingredients including vitamins and skin moisturizers.

Regular sunscreen, also called “chemical” sunscreen, contains a bunch of active ingredients, most of which are chemicals harmful to both humans and the environment. To mention just a few, regular sunscreen contains parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, BP-2, and camphor, all incredibly harmful chemicals that can cause skin rashes, allergies, and even cancer.

These chemicals also damage the environment, especially the marine ecosystem by causing coral bleaching.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, however, bring no harm to either people or the environment. The difference between kids and adults biodegradable sunscreen is the size of the powder particles included in the lotion.

Biodegradable sunscreens for adults contain tinier particles of active ingredients, typically nanoparticles of about 30nm. Baby sunscreens are made from non-nanoparticles of the same ingredients. Due to their larger size, they appear white on the skin.

As it is easy to expect though, creating clear biodegradable sunscreen is costlier, that’s why baby sunscreen is usually cheaper than the adult variants. If you care less of the aesthetic considerations, using baby sunscreen will not only protect you from the harmful sunrays, it will also save you some coffee money.

coral damage infographic

Why Should Adults Use Baby Sunscreen?

Perhaps the idea of getting out there with a Casper look on your face generated by a too whitish sunscreen is not the most appealing, but there are reasons why adults should use baby sunscreen – provided it’s the biodegradable kind. Here are just a few of them:

It Saves You Money

Baby sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are less expensive than many of their adult counterparts. The difference in price is justified by the simpler manufacturing process of the former. Kids don’t care if they get around with a white cream covering their faces and bodies. They are more preoccupied of having fun and building sand castles.

As an adult though, you might not be so eager to walk around with all that white stuff on your face. That’s why cosmetic companies have started to make clear biodegradable sunscreen that is more aesthetically appealing.

However, if you only plan to wear sunscreen on the beach, bearing the white patina could save you a lot of money in the long run.

It Is Skin Friendly

If you’re suffering from allergies or have sensitive skin, baby sunscreen is the way to go. Cosmetics formulated for babies are almost always hypoallergenic due to the higher sensitivity of the skin in babies.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are also unlikely to trigger allergic reactions. While these reactions can happen sometimes, they are much rarer than the allergic reactions triggered by the ingredients found in regular sunscreen.

Due to the lack of harmful chemicals, baby sunscreens are also safe to use if you’re concerned about skin cancer.

Baby sunscreen, alongside adult biodegradable sunscreen with non-nanoparticles of active ingredients, is the only type of sunscreen that is truly environmentally friendly.

With sunscreen being the third major cause of coral bleaching worldwide, turning to an environmentally friendly product is a great way to save the marine ecosystem and ultimately our planet.

Corals play an important role in maintaining marine balance; reefs provide a thriving home to over 25% of the ocean’s fish population and are responsible for producing up to 80% of the oxygen we breathe.

However, biodegradable sunscreen containing nanoparticles of the active ingredients, aka the kind most adults use, can still harm corals. Studies have shown that nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have photogenic properties that can negatively affect both the corals and other marine species.

Therefore, if you really want to use an environmentally friendly product, opt for baby sunscreen.

In Conclusion

Baby sunscreen is perfectly safe for adults. It may not have the cosmetic elegance of the sunscreens formulated for adults, but it surely comes with a bunch of benefits. Not only it costs less, but you’ll even be able to use a single product for the entire family while protecting the planet. Undoubtedly, a more than inspired choice that can have a positive impact on your and other people’s lives.

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