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Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen: What is It, Why It’s Important & Where to Buy It

One of the first things you learn during pregnancy is what you can’t eat, which is a real drag if you’re a big fan of sushi, rare steak or caffeinated drinking beverages. Because you are “ingesting” for two, you have to watch some of the sun protection products you put on your skin as well. Fortunately, you don’t have to shun your sunbathing routine while you’re expecting, as there are now pregnancy safe sunscreens available. The following guide will help you find the best safe sunscreen to use during your pregnancy.

woman wearing pregnancy safe sunscreen

What is Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen?

Mineral sunscreens, or physical sunscreens as they are sometimes called, get the greenlight during pregnancy since they are hypoallergenic and sit on the skin like a barrier. They work by scattering and deflecting UV rays instead of being absorbed by your skin. Meanwhile, certain ingredients are safer for pregnant women than others. 

To be considered non-toxic for use during pregnancy, a sunscreen must only contain ingredients that are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE). Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only sunscreen ingredients in pregnancy safe sunscreens that meet the FDA’s criteria for GRASE ingredients. 

Is Sunscreen Safe During Pregnancy?

Absolutely! However, when you’re nursing, pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, you should only reach for a mineral sunscreen vs. a chemical one. Specifically, you'll want to see 100% mineral active ingredients listed on the label. A safe sunscreen during pregnancy to use can be found in any of Project Sunscreen’s roll-on lotions, as they contain naturally derived zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

Project Sunscreen’s lotions are gentle and give excellent broad-spectrum protection. In addition to being pregnancy safe, they don’t contain harsh chemical ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, or octinoxate. They are also Paraben, PBA and dye-free, with no added Alcohol, BPA, Propylene Glycol, Retinyl Palmitate, formaldehyde, phthalates, sulfates and BHT.

What Makes a Sunscreen Not Pregnancy Safe?

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and other ingredients can make sunscreen unsafe for expecting moms, so look for them on the label. This list details ingredients that some research suggests to avoid in order to keep you and your baby safe:  

  • Avobenzone
  • Benzophenone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Paba
  • Homosalate
  • Octocrylene
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor

If you are concerned that there may be other unsafe ingredients besides those on this list lurking in your sun protection, talk with your doctor to see which ones they recommend you avoid. 

What Makes a Sunscreen Pregnancy Safe?

Mineral only sunscreens are safe and non-toxic for moms-to-be and their babes, and you will want to get one with active ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Make sure your sun protection product also has an SPF of at least 50.  Moreover, broad-spectrum pregnancy safe formulas that block UVA and UVB rays are excellent for everyone, including those sporting a baby bump. 

While we are on the subject of the bump, it’s best to cover yours with a one-piece bathing suit instead of a two-piece bikini. Why? Your prominent belly will catch rays from every angle of the sun while you are lolling about in the sun, making it more prone to sunburn. Covering up your tummy as much as possible will also prevent or minimize the appearance of the linea nigra, or the dark zipper that appears and runs down the middle line of your pregnant belly by your second trimester.

Beyond that, skin can be pretty sensitive when you are pregnant, so opt for fragrance-free options while you’re shopping around.

Other Reasons You Need Sunscreen 

Another important reason to slather on sunscreen is to ward off skin cancer. During your daily routine of putting on sunscreen, or after-shower moisturizing, you can use the time to do a self-check of your skin, looking for moles you’ve never noticed before or ones that may have a significantly altered appearance.

Where Can I Buy Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen?

If you are pregnant, you’ll want to find out where to buy the best sunscreen to take care of your skin. There are so many formulations out there, but the wide selection that’s available is enough to make you want to throw in your beach towel. 

The good news is that Project Sunscreen’s brand has launched at Target, and “Tropical Palms” and “Aerial Beach” rollerball designs have rolled out to over a hundred of their stores. You can stop in a store to buy these Aussie inspired, dermatologist-developed sunscreens or order them on Target’s website. Project Sunscreen is also available online at Anthropologie.com and stocked at Meijer and many other independent, grocery and pharmacy retailers. Of course, while you’re here, it makes perfect sense to order pregnancy safe sunscreen from our online store!  

There you have it – all you need to know about the best pregnancy safe sunscreens. Having to overhaul your beauty product lineup when you’re pregnant can seem daunting, but hopefully, this guide helps you reach for sun protection that’ll keep you and the life growing inside you safe and healthy without stress. If you take away anything about sunscreen that is safe to use when you are pregnant, it’s this: Always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 50 and select a formula that contains the mineral actives Zinc Oxide and Titanium.

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