6 Rules for Pregnancy-Safe Sunscreen

Plus 4 of our favorite natural facial sunscreens that are safe for pregnancy.

Summer is in full swing, and you have a bun in the oven. We’ve got bad news for you: pregnancy leaves your skin more susceptible to wrinkles, dark spots and sunburns, and many conventional sunblocks contain chemicals and additives that can enter your bloodstream and affect baby’s health before he’s even born. Luckily, there are a slew of natural, mineral-based facial sunscreens that are much gentler and safer than their chemical-based counterparts. So if you want to protect that glow of yours from the sun’s harmful rays, now is the perfect time to dive into the natural sunscreen trend, head first.

Here’s your primer to pregnancy-safe sunscreens, along with 4 of our favorite natural facial sunscreens that don’t cause breakouts, can be applied seamlessly over or under makeup and, above all, are safe for you and your bump.

  1. Choose a mineral or physical sunscreen, not a chemical one. Chemical sunblocks contain ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate and other potentially harmful additives. Exposure to oxybenzone has been linked to low birth weight, and “-benzone” chemicals are known to interfere with your natural hormones.  
  2. Look for non-nano particles . Mineral and physical sunblocks use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to scatter and reflect UV rays. While mineral sunscreens are arguably the safest options out there, some experts are concerned that nanoparticles can penetrate the skin and possibly cause cell damages. Inhaling nanoparticles can also be harmful to your lungs.
  3. Avoid vitamin A , which is also called retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol. It may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
  4. Don’t use spray-on sunscreens. You are more likely to inhale the sunscreen that you spray on. Small particles of even the most natural ingredients, like titanium dioxide, can become possible carcinogens when inhaled in high doses.
  5. Drink tons of water, and try to stay out of the sun during peak hours. Dehydration and overheating can cause preterm complications.
  6. Spreading your facial sunblock to your neck and chest, two areas that are often neglected and prone to aging, will help you ward off brown spots, wrinkles and sunburns.

Facial sunscreen for pregnancy

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream. This one bottle does it all: it comes in both tinted and non-tinted formulas, and it feels like a luxurious moisturizer I’d choose to use on the daily, even if it didn’t have sun protection. This SPF30 day cream doesn’t feel chalky or thick like some other mineral sunscreens. It leaves absolutely no white cast, and it truly moisturizes your skin. No need for an additional moisturizer under this sunscreen or, if you opt for the tinted version, foundation on top.
Bonus points: It’s available in both 1 ounce and 2 ounce sizes! $50. Buy it here.

Facial sunscreen for pregnancy

Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SunscreenThree Sixty Five sunscreen is designed to be worn year-round, every day, rain or shine. Broad spectrum protection like this luxe formula is the key to preventing the signs of aging. It has a unique texture that is so light, you won’t notice it on your skin. Ingredients like red raspberry seed oil and French plum seed oil protect and condition your skin even more while decreasing the white pigment of the non-nano Zinc Oxide.

Bonus: Pair it with Seattle-based Kari Gran’s other skincare and makeup products, like the mineral foundation, which also contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, to get even more sun protection. $48. Buy it here.

Facial sunscreen for pregnancy

True Botanicals Pacific Everyday Sheer CoverageHeard of emu oil or pearl powder? How about silk powder? These unique ingredients provide a gorgeous sheer and matte coverage in one or two pumps. Two shade options make this formula more versatile, and non-nano zinc oxide does the heavy lifting to keep your skin safe. Best applied over a serum or moisturizer, True Botanicals has a faint scent and, thanks to the pearl powder, gives you a little extra glow.

Bonus: Broccoli seed oil and red raspberry seed oil ensure you’re getting your vitamins from the outside in! $58. Buy it here.

Facial sunscreen for pregnancy

Kypris Pot of Shade HeliotropicThe name of this product, “Pot of Shade,” makes me feel like I’m on some kind of luxury spa trip. You won’t want to throw away the gorgeous, gold-foil stamped box this little pot comes in, and the pampering just continues from there. Made without essential oils, it’s great if are sensitive to smells, and it’s so soothing and moisturizing, you’ll forget you’re even putting on sunscreen!

Bonus: Probiotics and sea algae add extra hydration and make your skin looking plumper, smoother, and more luminous after applying! $68. Buy it here.

Already a mom? These recommendations are for you too. All these sunblocks feel like a spa treatment, which might be just what you need to remember to take care of yourself — not just your kids — by applying much-needed sun protection. Now, we just have to figure out how to remind ourselves to eat breakfast…

Emily Barth Isler

Emily Barth Isler

Emily Barth Isler is a Brooklyn writer, mom, and wife. She's the author of 3 books for kids and young adults and co-creator of the natural beauty blog, Product Junkies Rehab. She loves coffee and podcasts, and is so good at watching TV it should be considered a skill.

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