Everyone knows kids need to wear sunscreen, but if you’re like me you’re wondering about all the chemicals in them. Are they safe? Especially for babies and kids? So I thought I’d share what I do for my family along with some basic info to simplify buying safer sunscreen.
It can be a pain to get your children to hold still for a good coating of sun screen, but it’s an important part of a happy, healthy summer. While you want great protection, you don’t want tons of unneccessary chemicals or chemicals that offer protection but aren’t safe for kids. While sprays or no sunscreen are easier they’re really not the best option.
DID YOU KNOW: According to the Environmental Working Group, 25% of the sunscreens they tested would have been effective without the use of potentially harmful ingredients! (1)
1. Absolutely Avoid Aerosolized Sprays
The FDA has cautioned these sprays may not be safe or effective for different reasons but we can sum up the worst of it pretty simply: droplets of sunscreen could push chemicals deep into the lungs where they could irritate lung tissue or pass into the bloodstream. The FDA also says it lacks data to prove that spays provide the coverage needed to be effective on dry skin- let alone slippery, wet, just-out-of-the-pool skin.
2. Choose “Non-micronized” Sunscreens
Most sunscreens are made by grinding Zinc oxide into smaller and smaller particles. You want the particles to be small enough to spread without being cakey, but large enough to provide adequate coverage since each particle fans out and reflects UVA/UVB light.
The problem arises when the Zinc oxide particles are ground together during the creation of the main powder base. When they do this by ‘micronization’ they actually grind up some of the particles so small (nano-particles) that they absorb into the skin and blood stream and can have potentially toxic effects on the body. Not only that, but they will no longer give sunblock coverage, as the particles themselves are too small to shield against UVA and UVB light. I always choose non-micronized sunblock so I don’t have to worry about it absorbing into my children’s bodies, and it provides great coverage.
Here are suggestions that I use for my family:
1. Badger Natural & Organic Sunscreens:
Badger sunscreens offer full, broad spectrum protection using the mineral zinc oxide as the only active ingredient. The certifed natural and organic sunscreen base is made of plant oils, aloe, and beeswax, which provides valuable anti-oxidants and moisturizes your skin.
While it is a little oily and sticky to apply, it does the job wonderfully and you know it’s safe.
2. BurnOut Pure Suncare
Burnout is the sunscreen that I personally use and I can even apply it to my face without getting breakouts or feeling oily and greasy. If you are a beach family, this brand is for you! Rub it in completely, but don’t forget to reapply.
BurnOut advanced suncare products were developed by environmental scientist and avid surfer Kevin Dunn who, with a family history of skin cancer, was disappointed with commercial sunblocks that left him burned and were less than effective in the ocean.
All BurnOut products are put through rigorous Ocean Testing and quality control measures to ensure the highest quality suncare products available.
3. Thinkbaby and Thinksport
With a team of physicians and scientists focused on the latest chemical and biological science, Thinkbaby and Thinksport continue to lead in the usage of safe materials for consumer products. Their efforts are further energized by working with both leading child advocacy partners and like-minded individuals who seek alternative products.
There’s No Perfect Sunscreen
None of these products are perfect, but all of them are better than the junk-filled, spray-on, ineffective, mass-marketed sunscreens. And remember, you can always make your own at home!