Health & Fitness
4 Great Sunscreens That (Probably) Won't Give You Or Your Kids Cancer
As if moms needed one more thing to worry about - we now have to worry that the sunscreens that we use on our children will not actually help them as the product labels promise, but instead hurt them by releasing chemicals that could potentially cause cancer, birth defects, and generate excessive amounts of free-radicals, which in the end might be more damaging than the UV rays that we are trying to protect ourselves against. Especially here in the US, we don't seem to have the "perfect product" because of the standards currrently governing sunscreens (you can read more about Europe's better sunscreen options in the link below).
According to the Environmental Working Group, "the major choice in the U.S. is between 'chemical' sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body's hormone systems, and 'mineral' sunscreens (zinc and titanium), which often contain micronized or nano-scale particles of those minerals". The EWG determined that "mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today's choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. They offer UVA protection, which is sorely lacking in most of today's sunscreen products."
So, what's a mom like myself who wants to spend time outdoors with her kids to do? Research, research, research. (Did you know that it's not good or necessary to have a sunscreen with an SPF over 30? And that most of the ones that say they are over 30 SPF are phoney-baloney anyway?) I've spent a small fortune over the past 2 years ordering and trying new sunscreens off of Amazon before I was able to settle on a few that I like. Lucky for you, I don't mind sharing the fruits of my labor. Without further ado - here are my top 4 no-icky-stuff sunscreens:
My favorite - MD Solar Sciences Mineral Screen Gel (SPF 30+)
EWA calculated risk (scale of 1 to 10) - 2
Pros: Love the smooth application of this sunscreen. It is a mineral screen "gel", but it looks more like a traditional sunscreen lotion right out of the bottle - the difference is when you rub it on your skin, it absorbs almost immediately. The kids love it because it isn't thick and greasy like a lotion, doesn't run into their eyes when they sweat or get wet. I love it because I feel like a supermom when they wear it - UVA and free radicals can all bite me. Plus, I love how smooth it feels on my skin, too.
Cons: At $23 bucks a bottle, it's spendy.
1st runner up - BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen (SPF 30+)
EWA Calculated Risk (scale of 1 to 10) - 1
Pros: This sunscreen seems to hold up really well - it's the one I send with my kids to school to be applied on their faces and bodies for playground time in the afternoon and it hasn't let me down yet. It's not greasy and has no scent so you don't smell like a piece of candy when you wear it.
Cons: Being that it's a zinc oxide sunscreen, it leaves your skin a bit white, and it's a bit noticeable in the water, but if you rub it in well enough you won't notice that quite as much. Also, it's not greasy, but it is a bit sticky until it's totally dry.
Most Wallet Friendly Option - Alba Botanica Mineral Protection Kids Sunblock (SPF 30)
EWA Calculated Risk (scale of 1 to 10) - 2
Pros: This sunscreen is a low-risk mineral sunscreen, made for kids, that gives you a whole 4 oz for under 10 bucks a pop (and free 2 day shipping for you Amazon Prime types). Great for the times when you need to stock up on sunscreen but can't quite afford to spend $23 bucks a tube. This is our go-to beach vacation sunscreen.
Cons: Slightly difficult to rub in, and definitely a bit more "white" than some of the other sunscreens, probably because my kids won't stand still long enough for me to rub it in completely.
If I Couldn't Use the Others I'd Happily Use - Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body (SPF 30)
EWA Calculated Risk (scale of 1 to 10) - 1
Pros: Coverage is really great with this product, and if you're a snorkel fan, scuba diver, etc. and plan on swimming amongst sea life, this is the sunscreen for you. Badger has a comprehensive page about the effects of sunscreens on coral reefs on their website, and has worked to formulate their sunscreen to not only keep humans alive, but to keep the coral reefs alive too. Not too shabby, eh?
Cons: It does take a few extra seconds to rub in, but who lit a fire under your butt to rush into the sun anyway?
Happy Spring - may this post carry you off into the next few months of sunshine and warm sunsets. Go, purchase good sunscreen, and be well!