“Look at me! Look at me! It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how!” ~ Dr.Seuss
Summertime is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and for many of us that means lot of outdoor actives and languid days at the beach.
Summer is the perfect time of year to step outside and appreciate the beauty of the season, but it’s also a time to take precautions to protect the health of our skin. This includes using safe sunscreens and alternative ways to shade ourselves from the sun’s rays.
Of course we should use sunscreen, but many of us are using sunscreens that have cancer-causing properties as well as the harmful properties of aerosol products.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tests sunscreens on a yearly basis using three different categories to see which are the most harmful. This year’s list is concerning because the majority of brands are those that we regularly see at the corner pharmacy.
Truthfully, it’s easier to buy these harmful products than it is to use safe, all natural products because they are less expensive and readily available. Although it may be a pain to order these better sunscreens, in the end we can’t put a price on our family’s health.
The first category tested is how high the SPF is.
It seems like higher would be better, right?
Not according to the EWG, who states,“The most worrisome thing about high-SPF products is that they give people a false sense of security and beguile them to stay in the sun too long. High-SPF suppresses the skin reddening and pain of sunburns, but they raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering barring SPF above 50+.”
The second factor that the EWG considers is the amount of harmful chemicals present in a specific brand.
One chemical that the FDA monitors is Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is actively absorbed by the skin and transferred into the blood stream where it acts as estrogen. Some studies have linked Oxybenzone to higher rates of endometriosis in women, and lower birth weight in newborns.
Fourteen percent of all sunscreen products and 10 percent of lip products contain the ingredient Retinyl Palmitate. The problem with this ingredient is that According to government studies, the problem with this ingredient, when combined with sun exposure, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Although the FDA has been studying this chemical for years, no definitive statement has been made regarding the long term safety of Retinyl Palmitate.
The EWG says “The definitive study may not have been done, but based on available evidence (including the government’s studies) we think you’re better off avoiding sunscreens with retinyl palmitate. There are plenty of better choices.”
And I have to side with the EWG on this one. We should avoid taking unnecessary risks.
The third concern the EWG has are popular aerosol sunscreens, specifically for children.
We know aerosols are harmful for the environment, but they are also potentially deadly for the sensitive lungs of our children. Even the FDA has expressed concerns about the safety of this product, but hasn’t banned them.
The following is a list of the EWG’s most dangerous sunscreens for 2016:
Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray, Kids, SPF 70
Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70+
Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
CVS Baby Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
CVS Kids Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen For Kids, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 70+
Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
While it does take more time money to purchase safer sunscreens, it is worth it.
If you don’t have a health store in your area, then the best way to purchase these is directly from the company.
The EWG looks at a multitude of ingredient hazards and marks only the best sunscreens with a green rating.
The following have all been rated green by the EWG for 2016:
Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen, SPF 33
All Terrain KidSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
ATTITUDE Little Ones 100% Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30
babyhampton beach*bum sunscreen, SPF 30
Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
Bare Belly Organics Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
Belly Buttons & Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Baby, SPF 30+
BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen, SPF 35
California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+
COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen Unscented Moisturizer, SPF 50
Goddess Garden Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Hampton Sun Sunscreen Lotion For Baby, SPF 45
Jersey Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
Nurture My Body Baby Organic Sunscreen, SPF 32
Substance Baby Natural Sun Care Creme, SPF 30
Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50
Sunumbra Sunkids Natural Sunscreen, SPF 40
Thinksport for Kids Sunscreen, SPF 50+
TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+
In the past I’ve been I guilty of using toxic sunscreen.
But as I began to research, I was convinced to stop using toxic sunscreens.
I take the time to go out of my way to purchase Alba sunscreens for my family. Although I can’t protect us from everything, I can control what I put on our skin and into our bodies.
I am convinced. I hope you are too.
In addition to using safe and chemical free sunscreens there are other ways to protect our skin from the sun.
We can enjoy outdoor activities before and after the prime sun hours between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., as well spending time in the shade. If we must spend time in the sun, we can wear a hat, clothing that protects our exposed skin or use an umbrella.
Because the skin is our largest organ, we owe it to ourselves to protect it from the sun.
Author: Kate Rose
Editors: Ashleigh Hitchcock; Emily Bartran