Pregnancy safe sunscreen UK

5th Apr 2024


In the UK, protecting your skin from the sun is crucial, even on cloudy days, as sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer.

When you’re expecting, many things change. Choosing a new skincare routine may be one of them. Prioritizing sun protection that safeguards both you and your baby without any worries about harmful chemicals is essential.

With countless options available, especially in the sunscreen category, it can feel daunting to identify which formulas are safe for use during pregnancy. Stay safe by choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen crafted from scientifically proven and natural ingredients, ensuring nourishment and protection for your skin while keeping your baby safe.

pregnancy safe sunscreen uk

It’s a common misconception that tanning is safe; in reality, there’s no healthy way to achieve a tan, highlighting the importance of sunscreen for everyone, including pregnant mothers. For those expecting, finding pregnancy safe sunscreen in the UK that shields from harmful rays, is highly photostable, and without the inclusion of damaging chemicals becomes very important.

Understanding the balance between sun protection and vitamin D intake, especially with the advised shelter between 11 am and 3 pm from March to October, calls for a sunscreen that is not only effective but also safe for both the mother and the developing baby. The emphasis on using at least SPF 30 sunscreen aligns with the need for high-level protection during this sensitive period.

This article explores pregnancy safe sunscreen options available in the UK, focusing on products that exclude conventional sunscreen chemicals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It aims to identify key ingredients to steer clear of during pregnancy, featuring insights from experts and dermatologists who recommend sunscreens offering optimal sun protection, ranging from SPF 25 to SPF 50, while maintaining safety and sensitivity for the skin. Moreover, it provides practical advice on applying sunscreen during pregnancy to enable expectant mothers to enjoy the sun responsibly and with confidence.

Pregnant mom happy by the sea

Understanding pregnancy safe sunscreens

Understanding what makes a sunscreen pregnancy safe is important for expectant mothers in the UK, who are seeking to protect their skin and their unborn baby from the sun’s harmful rays. Pregnancy safe sunscreens are formulated to be as gentle and non-irritating as possible, without compromising on sun protection efficacy. Here’s a closer look at the considerations for choosing these sunscreens:

  • Ingredients to embrace:
  • Natural and Organic Components: Ingredients derived from natural sources are often included for their soothing and moisturizing properties. These can include aloe vera, beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil, which not only protect the skin but also nourish it.

Traditional sunscreens might contain chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate, which are best avoided during pregnancy due to concerns about potential skin irritation and other health risks. The emphasis on avoiding zinc oxide in our formulations ensures that expectant mothers have access to sunscreens that are both effective and aligned with their safety concerns.

  • Certifications and Labels

Look for sunscreens that are labeled as suitable for pregnancy, or for mother and child. Certifications such as “proven reef safe” and endorsements from dermatological associations can also indicate a product’s safety and efficacy. Transparency in labeling, indicating the absence of harmful chemicals, is key to making an informed choice.

Choosing pregnancy safe sunscreen in the UK involves more than just selecting a product with high SPF. It’s about understanding the balance between effective sun protection and ensuring the safety of both mother and baby. By prioritizing products with proven and natural ingredients, and steering clear of certain chemical filters, expectant mothers can enjoy the sun with peace of mind, knowing they are using a product that is safe, gentle, and effective.

The top choice of leading experts in the field

Aethic’s reef safe, luxury sunscreen, is endorsed by leading Dutch dermatologist and diving doctor, Menno Gaastra , as well as Dr Richard Hixson, FRCA FFICM – consultant in Critical Care Medicine – and Physician Environmentalist . It offers the highest quality protection for your skin with the added benefit of being reef safe. Scientifically proven and patented reef safe, the exclusive formula , the world’s only ! ensures that while you care for your skin, you are also protecting our oceans and precious coral reefs. The exceptional benefits of Aethic’s reef safe sunscreen, supported by experts in the field, ensure that you and your unborn baby receive the very best protection for your skin.

Dr. Menno Gaastra dermatologist
Dr. Menno Gaastra
Dr Richard Hixson
Dr. Richard Hixson

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Sun exposure and pregnancy: potential benefits and need for caution

A review study by Botyar and Khoramroudi (2017) explored the link between sun exposure and pregnancy outcomes. Their research suggests that moderate UV exposure during the first trimester might be associated with improved fetal growth and even lower blood pressure in pregnant women.

love the suns with pregnancy safe sunscreen

However, it’s important to note several key points:

  • This is a limited area of research, and more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
  • The potential benefits seem to be linked to moderate sun exposure, and excessive sun exposure can be harmful during pregnancy (as discussed later in this article).
  • Sunburn is always risky, and sun protection is crucial throughout pregnancy.

Therefore, while this study offers some interesting insights, it doesn’t negate the importance of using sunscreen during pregnancy.

Understanding UVA and UVB Rays

To fully grasp the importance of choosing the right pregnancy safe sunscreen in the UK, it’s vital to understand the distinct characteristics and effects of UVA and UVA rays on the skin:

skin layers in skin. dermis -protect your skin with proven reef safe sunscreen
  • UVA Rays:
  • Characteristics: UVA rays possess lower energy but have a longer wavelength, enabling them to penetrate deeper into the skin’s middle layer (dermis). They constitute about 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface.
  • Effects:
    • Cause premature skin aging, including wrinkles, due to their deep penetration.
    • Lead to skin tanning, which is the skin’s defense mechanism against UVA damage but can also contribute to the development of skin cancers.
epidermis pregnancy safe sunscreen reef safe sunscreen
  • Characteristics: UVB rays are more energetic with a shorter wavelength, affecting only the skin’s outer layer (epidermis).
  • UVB Rays:


  • Responsible for skin burning and tanning, which indicate skin damage.
  • Play a crucial role in the formation of skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
  • Essential for vitamin D3 synthesis, crucial for bone and muscle health.

Both types of rays have their uses in medical treatments, such as light therapy for conditions like psoriasis and eczema, highlighting their dual nature of being both beneficial and harmful. This duality underscores the critical need for broad-spectrum sunscreens that offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

When selecting a pregnancy safe sunscreen, it’s essential to look for products that not only meet the SPF requirements for UVB protection but also offer substantial UVA protection. Sunscreens labeled with at least an SPF 30 for UVB and a 4-star UVA protection or the “UVA” circle indicating compliance with EU standards, ensure a broad spectrum of protection. Additionally, the preference for proven reef safe sunscreens over chemical sunscreens, or those containing potentially harmful ingredients like zinc oxide, aligns with the emphasis on safety and efficacy.

Vitamin D during pregnancy

Vitamin D is like sunshine for your body, and it’s been around for over 500 million years! Did you know that Vitamin D is also a hormone? This means it helps control how your cells and organs function. Vitamin D is essential for life. When you’re pregnant, it becomes even more important. Here’s why:

  • Sunshine Makes Sunshine: Your skin can actually make vitamin D when it gets sunlight.
  • Building Blocks for Baby: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate, which are essential for your baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, and even their heart and nervous system to grow strong and healthy.
  • Not All Sunshine is Created Equal: The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on things like the season, time of day, and even how much sunscreen you wear.
protect your unborn baby and yourself with Aethic SPF 50 for mother and child

Sun Safety for Mamas: Sun exposure is great for vitamin D production, but being pregnant means being extra careful with the sun. Here’s the key: While you want some sunshine, too much sun can be harmful. That’s why using the best proven safe sunscreen with broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, with high photostability for pregnant women is important for preventing sunburn and sun damage.

Sunshine’s Potential Benefits During Pregnancy

Promising research by Tommy’s, a charity supporting pregnancy research, explores the potential positive effects of sunlight exposure during pregnancy. Their study suggests that sunshine might:

  • Promote Placental Health: Adequate sun exposure throughout pregnancy could be linked to a lower risk of developing placental problems. Healthy placentas are crucial to prevent complications like pre-eclampsia, improper fetal growth, preterm birth, and even stillbirth.
  • Improve Birth Outcomes: The study identified a possible connection between sunshine and increased birth weight, potentially indicating better fetal development.
  • Lower Blood Pressure: Research suggests sunlight exposure during pregnancy might help regulate blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.
Pregnancy safe sunscreen UK
pregnancy safe sunscreen UK
pregnancy safe sunscreen UK

Important Considerations

  • Finding the Balance: While sunshine offers potential benefits, it’s crucial to remember that excessive sun exposure can be harmful during pregnancy. Sunburn is always a risk, and sun protection remains essential.
  • Emerging Research: This is a developing area of study, and more research is needed to solidify these findings and understand the specific mechanisms by which sunlight might influence pregnancy outcomes. However, it doesn’t eliminate the importance of sun protection throughout pregnancy.
  • Beyond Vitamin D: Interestingly, the research suggests that the benefits might be due to a direct effect of sunlight on the skin, rather than solely through Vitamin D production.

Top Ingredients to Avoid in Sunscreens During Pregnancy

When considering pregnancy safe sunscreen in the UK, it’s paramount to be vigilant about the ingredients list. Expectant mothers should be aware of certain substances that could potentially harm them or their developing baby. Our formulations are meticulously designed, excluding harmful chemicals often found in traditional sunscreens. Here’s a closer look at the top ingredients to avoid in sunscreens during pregnancy:

  • Oxybenzone: Known for its potential endocrine-disrupting properties, which could interfere with hormonal balance.
  • Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate): Another chemical filter suspected of being an endocrine disruptor and could impact developmental growth.
  • Homosalate: Increases the absorption of pesticides in the body, which is particularly concerning during pregnancy.

We prioritize safety for moms and babies. That’s why our sunscreens are formulated with ingredients widely recognized as safe for pregnancy. Our products do not contain zinc oxide, due to its contentious nature regarding safety in pregnancy. it is also free from Titanium Dioxide. This ensures our proven and patented sunscreens are not only effective but also align with our ethos of safety, purity, and sustainability.

In the journey to finding the ideal pregnancy safe sunscreen, we encourage expectant mothers to thoroughly examine product labels and opt for options that prioritize Proven or patented products, containing natural and organic components. Aethic sunscreens prioritize your well-being with triple sun filters, photostability up to 83% , broad-spectrum SPF protection. These gentle formulas are free from harsh chemicals and provide the confidence you need to enjoy the sunshine while safeguarding yourself and your growing baby.

Top tips for sun safety during pregnancy

  1. Seek Shade: Especially during peak sun hours (typically 10 am to 4 pm), find shade whenever possible. Relax under a beach umbrella, a tree, or even pop up a sunshade at the park.
  1. Sunscreen is Essential: Choose a broad-spectrum, photostable pregnancy safe sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Look for proven reef safe sunscreens which tend to be gentler on sensitive skin, because they contain no toxic chemicals. Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours, or more often if sweating or swimming.
  2. Cover Up: Wear loose-fitting, breathable, possibly UV clothing with a tight weave to provide physical protection from the sun’s rays. Opt for light colors that reflect sunlight rather than dark colors which absorb it.
  3. Hat it Up: A wide-brimmed hat is a great way to shield your face, neck, and ears from the sun. Look for one made from a breathable material like straw or cotton.
Pregnant woman wearing a large sunhat
  1. Hydrate: Pregnancy increases your need for fluids, and sun exposure can further dehydrate you. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay cool and replenish fluids lost through sweat.
  2. Seek Cool Relief: Take breaks in air-conditioned spaces or cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool (after applying sunscreen, of course!).
  3. Protect Your Lips: Don’t forget your lips! Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher to prevent sunburn and chapping.
pregnant woman cooling off in the pool wearing pregnancy safe sunscreen
  1. Talk to Your Doctor: If you have any concerns about sun safety during pregnancy, discuss them with your doctor. They can address any other questions you might have.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the outdoors safely and protect yourself and your baby from the harmful effects of the sun.

Expert Opinions and recommendations

Ever feel like pregnancy throws your skincare routine into chaos? Hormonal fluctuations can lead to everything from breakouts to dryness, leaving the “pregnancy glow” feeling like a distant dream. Plus, with certain ingredients off-limits, finding safe and effective products can feel overwhelming.

Sunscreen is crucial during pregnancy, as your skin might be more sensitive to the sun. We understand the importance of using safe products, which is why our pregnancy safe sunscreens are formulated without any chemicals at all!

Extra Care for Sensitive Skin:

If you have fair or sensitive skin, freckles, red or fair hair, many moles, or a family history of skin cancer, it’s wise to take extra precautions. We recommend sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher and regularly checking your skin for any changes. General advice from dermatologists is to avoid products containing retinoids or salicylic acids.

Misinformation can be overwhelming during such a special time. Here is some expert advice about sunscreen and commonly questioned ingredients:

  • Exfoliants: Low concentrations of salicylic acid (BHA) are okay for oily skin, while glycolic or lactic acid (AHAs) can help with dryness. AHA peels are preferred for larger areas.
  • Sunscreen: Daily sunscreen use is vital. Choose products that are pure, proven and free from chemicals.
  • Brightening Products: Avoid arbutin and derivatives (they break down to hydroquinone). Opt for niacinamide (5%+) and vitamin C for brightening.
  • Azelaic Acid: Topical application is considered safe and effective for discoloration, breakouts, and rosacea.
  • Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid: Anti-aging products containing these, along with vitamin C and peptides, are generally safe. However, always consult your doctor before starting any new anti-aging product, especially with combinations of ingredients.

Applying Sunscreen Effectively During Pregnancy

Applying pregnancy safe sunscreen effectively is not just about protection from the sun’s rays but also ensuring the safety of both the expectant mother and the developing baby. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure maximum efficacy and safety:

  1. Pre-Application:
    • Timing: Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before stepping out into the sun.
    • Amount: For adults, the recommended amount is about 6 to 8 teaspoons of sunscreen to cover the entire body. For facial application, a pea-sized amount is sufficient to reduce the risk of over-application.
    • Coverage: Ensure all exposed skin is covered, including often-missed areas such as the back of the neck, ears, and the tops of feet.
  2. Reapplication:
    • Frequency: Reapply every two hours to maintain optimal protection, more frequently if swimming, sweating, or towel drying.
    • After Water Exposure: Even if using water-resistant sunscreen, it’s crucial to reapply immediately after being in water.
  3. Additional Protection:
    • Lip Balm: Use a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the sensitive skin on your lips.
    • Clothing: Wear light, breathable clothing, possibly UV-clothing, with a tight weave to cover as much skin as possible. Wide-brimmed hats and UV-protective sunglasses add layers of defense against UV radiation.
Aethic take a leap for the ocean

We hope we have addressed some of your questions that may arise when you’re expecting and seeking pregnancy safe sunscreen options to protect your unborn baby and your skin. Aethic is committed to developing products that are entirely safe for the environment, and therefore for you and your skin. When you choose Aethic, you’re not only protecting yourself but also the oceans. Thank you! Take a leap for the ocean !