Sun Protection Guide for Pregnancy – How to Choose the Best Pregnancy-Safe Sunscreen?

It’s the time of your life where you automatically react to or carry out the many aspects of your daily life differently. Like what you eat, how you react to a particular situation, your bathroom visits, etc. Your personal skincare routine also undergoes some scrutiny, as it should. During pregnancy, you have to reevaluate the kind of products you use on your hair, face, and body.

And sunscreen is among those products you apply on a daily basis. If not, then you should. Either way, you have to know that not all sunscreens out there are safe to use at the time of pregnancy. But this doesn’t mean skipping sunscreen altogether. The sun protection guide for pregnancy here is all about that.

Sunscreen formulas, when made using natural, skin-friendly ingredients, protect the skin from premature aging, sun spots, sunburns, and even skin cancer. But during pregnancy, sunscreens do all of that and more. They help in reducing dark spots and melasma often accompanied by pregnancy.

So what’s the moral of the story here? That you should not ditch applying sunscreen entirely just because the one you have is packed with harsh or harmful chemicals. Rather select from the list of safe sunscreens during pregnancy. So you can enjoy sun protection and your baby can enjoy good health and development.

Now let’s get to the part where I discuss how to pick the best facial sunscreen for pregnancy. Facial and body, it’s the same thing!

Sun Protection Guide for Pregnancy

Those 8-9 months of pregnancy do require you to take extra precautions in terms of skincare. Unprotected sun exposure is a complete NO-NO situation. But that doesn’t mean you should spend time indoors and not go out during daylight at all. There’s no need for such extreme measures.

You can enjoy chilling in the sun, just do it with natural, skin and baby-friendly ingredients. Did you know that Vitamin D from the sun is actually healthy for you? And if it’s healthy for you, it’s good for your growing baby too.

The developing fetus gets all Vitamin D from its recipient i.e. the mother. So it’s not such a bad idea to step out in the sun after all. It promotes better immune functioning and absorption of phosphorous and calcium. But obviously, do it in moderation.

Excess sun exposure might just have adverse effects on yours and your baby’s well-being. This means applying sunscreen whenever you’re going out. It’s the most effective form of sun protection, say medical and skincare experts at Skincare Skills.

Using Pregnancy-Friendly Sunscreen: How to Choose?

All you need are these five tips to buy a powerful yet safe and natural sunscreen the most suitable for pregnancy.

#1 Go for mineral-based, broad-spectrum sunscreens

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. And what SPF does is protect your skin from the sun’s UVB rays. This means there’s no protection against UVA rays. Not unless the sunscreen is broad-spectrum.

On top of that, a broad-spectrum sunscreen should also be mineral-based. When the formula is mineral-based, and not chemical-based or physical, the active ingredient used is either titanium oxide or zinc oxide (both the non-nano kind). These two ingredients protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays the most naturally.

Non-nano mineral-based sunscreens are the safest for pregnant women. Non-nano zinc and titanium oxide form a protective barrier on your skin surface for reflecting the rays of the sun instead of absorbing them. As opposed to chemical sunscreens that protect your skin by creating a chemical reaction.

#2 Stick with SPF 30, avoid higher ratings

High SPF sunscreens are no better than a sunscreen with SPF 30. In fact, the former might not be such a safe option for pregnant women. SPF measures how much the sunscreen protects your skin from the UVB rays. Meaning there’s zero UVA rays protection. And let me tell you that UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin and lead to conditions like premature skin aging and even melanoma.

So a higher-than-50 SPF means a larger chemical filter dosage getting absorbed into your skin and body.

Furthermore, high SPF doesn’t necessarily mean better and longer sun protection. SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 96.7-percent of UVB rays. While SPF 70 blocks 98.5-percent of UVB rays. That’s a known and proven fact. So the additional 1.8-percent for double the amount of SPF is not really double the protection as well.

#3 Stay away from unsafe ingredients

So what’s hidden in your sunscreen that’s not safe to use during pregnancy? Here’s a list of common ingredients in sunscreen formulas that aren’t baby-friendly…

  • Oxybenzone

It’s a chemical ingredient that tends to disrupt the endocrine system. And in the case of newborns, there’s a link between oxybenzone and low birth weight.

  • Octinoxate

This is another ingredient present in many sunscreens. It has the ability to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin to lead to biochemical changes and disrupt cellular signaling.

  • Homosalate

It’s a fragrance commonly found in sunscreens. The chemical here breaks down byproducts so they can penetrate much deeper into your skin and have an impact on your normal hormone function.

  • Octisalate

Yet another chemical for deeper penetration that causes skin allergies.

  • Benzophenone-2

This one’s a chemical UV absorber and fragrance ingredient. One that gives rise to skin reactions like dryness, redness, rashes, burning, stinging, swelling, blisters, and acne.

  • Octocrylene

The ingredient interferes with your cellular signaling. It causes biochemical changes and also skin allergies.

  • Avobenzone

Avobenzone has the capacity to break down when exposed to the sun. And because of that, it’s labeled as a possible skin allergen.

  • Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)

Now this one’s proven to speed up the process of tumor development on sun exposure. So please make sure that your sunscreen doesn’t contain any amount of Vitamin A. Pregnant or not!

  • Parabens

These are preservatives used for sunscreens that cause allergic or skin reactions. In fact, parabens or methylisothiazolinone are linked with neurotoxicity.

#4 Avoid tanning oils and aerosol sprays

Take the advice of medical professionals and avoid using aerosol sunscreens during pregnancy. They contain harmful ingredients that, if you inhale them, have the ability to enter your bloodstream and affect the growth of your baby directly.

You should know that titanium oxide may be a safe ingredient for pregnancy. But only in the topical form. Meaning if you inhale it by mistake, as in the case of sunscreen sprays, it becomes a potential carcinogen.

Even tanning oils you should completely. And that’s because tanning oils are packed with minimal sun protection, which means they can cause sunburns.

#5 Use the right quantity and re-apply

When I say right quantity, I mean generous amounts. More specifically, 2 tablespoons once every 2 hours.

And don’t forget the smaller parts of your body like your ears, lips, back of the neck, underarms, feet, etc.


There’s no better sunscreen in the sense that there’s no one right answer here. As long as you make sure your sunscreen formula is broad-spectrum, mineral-based, and not very high SPF, you’ll be alright.

You can safely bathe under the sun for a limited period of time during your pregnancy. There’s no doubt about that. Keep other factors in mind too. Like staying hydrated, being in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding direct or harsh sun exposure as much as you can.

But nothing beats the habit of applying sunscreen every time you step outdoors. Just make sure this sunscreen is infused with natural, pregnancy-friendly ingredients.

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Sarah Palmer
Hi! I'm Sarah. My husband and I have a beautiful little girl; plus we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby #2, so this is a very exciting time for us. Throughout this amazing journey called Parenthood, I’ve learned so much and love sharing my experiences with other parents at I'd love to share my discoveries with you too!
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