Sunscreen for Your Little Ones

By Breanna Rothe from sustainablemommy.ca, Photo: Tricia Hong

“A consumer advocacy group has a warning for parents who think they‘re protecting  their family with sunscreen: You may be getting burned. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit, has released an investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don‘t adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals.” (Mercola)

With so many different sunscreens on the Market it is hard to decide which one is  right for your little ones. Beyond deciding on the brand and SPF, there are some other important factors to consider, such as the fact that many new studies such as the one mentioned above, have concluded that most of the ingredients in popular drugstore brands of sunscreen, contain chemicals that can be very harmful to your health, potentially cancer causing, and therefore not something you want to put on a baby or young child. Two main ingredients to avoid when purchasing a sunscreen for your family is anything containing Oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmitate.

The other harmful ingredients to keep your eye out for are:

Octisalate, Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Octocrylene, Homosalate, Micronized Titanium Dioxide, Micronized Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid), Nano Zinc Oxide, Nano Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA / PABA Ester), Menthyl Anthranilate, Mexoryl SX, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Sulisobenzone (Benzophenone-4), Benzophenone-2

I found it helpful to print this list out and it take it with me to the store when picking out a sunscreen, because even some brands that claim to be natural, still contained a couple of these harmful ingredients.

The top three chemical free sunscreens on the market right now according to Adrian Vasil in her book “The Ecoholic Body” are “Badger Baby Sunscreen, Goddess Garden Kids and Green Beaver Certified Organic Kids”. Vasil mentions further that these three sunscreens “ offer top protection with all-natural and high organic content, but Green Beaver is hands down the sheerest followed by Goddess Garden (Badger is pretty whitening).” Personally I have been using the Badger brand for the past few years and have been very satisfied with it for my kids.

So whether you are taking your kids to the park, the beach or relaxing at the cottage this summer, remember to have your favorite chemical free sunscreen with you,  and always try to limit your little ones time in direct sun when possible as well as making sure they wear a hat at all times.

References:

Photo: Tricia Hong

Dr. Mercola. Four Out of Five Sunscreens May Be Hazardous to YourHealth. 2008

Vasil, Adria. The Ecoholic Body: Your Ultimate Earth Friendly Guide to Living Healthy and Looking Good.Vintage Canada Edition. 2012. P.376

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One response to “Sunscreen for Your Little Ones”

  1. Carolyn

    The stuff they put in the majority of sunscreens is shameful – even the stuff that is pediatrician approved! Why they add all those harmful, unnecessary chemicals is beyond me. I am a busy mom and truth be told am not always as “natural” as I would like, but I don’t compromise on sunscreen. The idea of my two kids covered in chemical sunscreens while they heat up in the sun and it absorbs into their skin makes me cringe! Natural sunscreen is worth the extra cash.

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