Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunscreen Tips for the Family

It looks as though our excessive sun exposure will be coming early this year. We have already hit 80 degrees here in New England (April 3rd???) and it looks as though we only have more beautiful days on the horizon. That means it is time to update our sunscreen for the year. (Keep in mind that sunscreen will lose it's effectiveness after the expiration, typically only 1 season- so throw it out each year.)

Make sure you do your research on sunscreens before purchasing, especially with your children in mind. I feel that this is one product where you get what you pay for. There are many things to look out for in your research.

•First off, watch out for the chemicals used. Some of the ingredients are carcinogens and hormone disruptors (you know, that wacky process causing our little girls to get boobs when they are 7 or 8 years old!!!) Avoid oxybenzone, the worst culprit I discovered in my research.

• Keep in mind that SPF 55-100+ sunscreens block just 1-2% more sunburn rays than SPF 30- so you just might be slathering on a ton of extra chemicals for no good reason.

The Environmental Working Group has a great database of sunscreens with a rating system ranging from 'Recommended' to 'Avoid'. (My trusted Aveeno 70+ that I have been slathering on for 2 years was actually rated as a 'Caution'! Good thing I am researching this year.)

• One of my favorite websites, Cosmetics Database, offers ratings on everything from makeup with sunscreen to sunless tanning products. (This website is also part of the EWG.) I use Cosmetics Database to research the safety of everything from baby products to hair products to toothpaste. You really should bookmark it if you are at all concerned with the health and beauty products that you use.

• My favorite that I found in my research was the Badger line. They are not too expensive and can be found at any local co-op or natural food store (like Whole Foods.) It is a really thick product, so you risk looking a little goofy if you don't rub it in adequately. But, personally, I'd rather look a little ghostly than have a face covered with cancer. Or better yet, with the wonderful pregnancy mask on my face that is enhanced every year with sun exposure.
I'd love to know if you have a safe sunblock that's your fave.


  1. Thanks for this! I never even thought to check the ingredients on sunscreen, or the expiration date for that matter! I have a boat load left over from my honeymoon almost 4 years ago - probably not so effective anymore! :)

  2. R U kidding me? So I've been diligently lathering on my Neutrogena SPF face lotion every-single-day and it has oxbenzine in it and when that gets in the sun I get cancer on my face. {{Chin on floor.}}

    What a great post. I'll be throwing out my face lotion tonight and we'll all be wearing decent sunblock this summer.

  3. I use the Badger line too, I just wish it wasn't so sticky :( I thought Kiss My Face was OK, but then I saw it is a 3-4 caution score! I usually trust my local natural food store, but not anymore. Research, research, research!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. California Baby is the only kind I can use on Abs without it irritating her eyes. I tried Waterbabies once and her eyes practically swelled shut.
    I'm going to check out the Badger line. I heard others who like it, too.

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  9. Thanks for the share! When picking out sunscreen for your kids any advice on ingredients to look out for since their skin is so sensitive?