Safe Sunscreens Without All the Chemicals That Can Irritate Eczema and Sensitive Skin
If you're going to be out in the sun for a prolonged period, it's important to wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
It's important to help our kids avoid skin damage since even as few as 5 sunburns put us at greater risk for skin cancer later in life.
But you're probably wondering about all the chemicals in them.
Are they safe? Especially for babies and kids?
The Environmental Working Group reports that at least a quarter of the sunscreens they tested would have been effective without adding harmful chemicals!
While you want great protection, you don't want tons of unnecessary chemicals or chemicals that offer protection but aren't safe for kids.
While sprays from Banana Boat, Neutrogena, and other common brands are easier they're really not the best option.
Banana Boat Sport sunscreen is probably one of the worst offenders! Disliked by dermatologists for sure!
Natural sunscreens are better but more likely to be sticky and difficult to apply especially if you're in a rush to get it on before the kids are running for the water!
If your child has eczema or sensitive skin, you can waste a ton of money on natural sunscreens that end up causing redness, burning, or a flare-up.
So, to help take the hassle out of buying a safe, effective sunscreen, I've put together guidelines to look for when buying one.
You'll also find a list of my favorite, natural sunscreens that work for most sensitive kids to simplify your sunscreen purchase.
Guidelines for Choosing a Safe Sunscreen
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. Opt for Mineral Sunscreens
Mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the skin and act as a shield, providing a physical barrier and deflecting the sun’s rays.
Based on existing test data, the FDA recognizes only these two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as both safe and effective.
Sunscreen products made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide meet rigorous standards for effectiveness and safety.
3. 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 bloodstream 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.
Kid Tested Mom Approved Safe, Natural Sunscreens
This is hands down the favorite sunscreen of moms! It's even good for kids that are prone to skin irritation from every other sunscreen.
This one is gentle, safe for skin, and comes in a spray that makes it SO much easier to apply quickly and spread it evenly over your skin.
Badger sunscreens offer full, broad-spectrum protection using the mineral zinc oxide as the only active ingredient. While it is a little oily and sticky to apply, it does the job wonderfully and you know it's safe.
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!