Understanding sunscreens

There are so many sunscreens on the market that we don’t know how to choose! That is because we don’t know which criteria should guide our choice. Let’s take a look!

Summer is here at last with its nice weather, its pool, its heat and its sun! Sun… when you think about it, you see a beach, an umbrella or a bottle of moisturizer. So you go to the pharmacy to buy sunscreen for your little ones and their fragile skin. You are in the alley and just like everyone else you wonder: “Which one will I buy?”

Where do we start? How can we understand all different sunscreen types? That’s an excellent question. I prepared a summary of the cream types and their properties.

There are three main types of sunscreen: chemical, natural and mineral.

Chemical sunscreens

This cream is the most common; it is the one that you usually find on the shelves of your pharmacy. To protect you, this type of cream penetrates your skin and creates a chemical reaction with your body to protect you against the rays. Here are a few examples of chemicals that are often used in sunscreens formulas. If you find any of these in the list of ingredients, you will know that your sunscreen is chemical: Homostalate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Octisalate, etc.

This type of cream is not appropriate for babies (most doctors recommend to avoid it on babies les than 6 months old, even 1 year old sometimes) and is more likely to react on sensitive skin.

Natural sunscreen

This cream works like the chemical cream, that is to say, it penetrates the skin and creates a chemical reaction with your body to protect you against the rays but it is made out of natural ingredients.

Mineral sunscreen

This one differs from the others because it forms a barrier that blocks the rays from entering your skin. Therefore, it acts like a screen but without interacting with your body. However, some people find it more difficult to apply or ay that it leaves white stripes on the skin. It all depends on the company you choose. These accusations are true in some cases but there are many mineral creams for which it is not true.

Now we want names!

Here are a few suggestions to use with your children. These are only suggestions to discover:

The brand Calidou Bébé is made with green formulas. It contains no heavy metals, no PEG, no parabens and no pesticides. Calidou Bébé offers the ideal compromise between biological and synthetic products. This commitment to quality allows you to combine efficiency and enjoyment. This cream is made with zinc oxide.

It would take too long to tell you all about the ingredients and benefits of Douce mousse but take a look at their website, it is very interesting.

Many other companies offer good sunscreen; you just have to take a look at the ingredients. Many more accessories can also be used to protect our children from the sun, whether it is tents, hats or, of course, shade! And don’t forget that for children aged less than one year old, the Canadian Dermatology Association recommends to prefer shade, long clothing and hats and to avoid direct exposure of skin to sunlight. In addition, it is not recommended to use sunscreen on children aged 6 months or younger. On the other hand, mineral creams are safer than chemical creams for young children.

Karine Bergeron

Karine Bergeron is a doula who studied nursing and is currently completing additional training in prenatal care. As mother to little Laurence, volunteer for L’entraide maternelle, breastfeeding godmother and prenatal class teacher, it’s with joy that she dispenses her wisdom for Bergeron is passionate about prenatal care and ready to share all her knowledge to help you enjoy life’s greatest gift: becoming parents. To find out more or ask questions, go to and look for her in the “Équipe” section.

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