The Bright Sun is Out (and so is it’s harmful rays)!
I grew up in Houston, Texas, where the sun was pretty much out year round. As long as I can remember I loved being out in the sun, playing or just laying out with my friends. The sun was something we never seemed to worry about when we were young. After college, I was diagnosed with a melanoma and then a year later the doctors found another one. I was very lucky because they caught it early enough and I only needed surgery. At that point, sunscreen was part of my daily routine. As I started having children my skin started to become extremely sensitive to the sunscreens I was using. I knew I needed a new approach and whatever was causing my skin to react I did not want to be putting on my kids either. I started reading labels but everything seems to be organic or natural but you can never really tell what that means.
Check labels to choose the best sunscreen out there today
If you are a parent and worried about your child’s exposure to the sun, make sure you check out the Environmental Working Group and see how YOUR personal care products and sunscreen rate for safety. Some of mine were terrible! The higher the number, the more dangerous the products.
Maybe you’ve heard of the term ‘physical sunscreen’? Basically, it’s just another word for mineral sunscreen, which works like a shield by reflecting and scattering UV rays to prevent them from penetrating or damaging the skin. There are some products out there that use mineral non-nanoparticle zinc oxide as the sunblocker. Why should we say no to nanoparticles? Because they are so tiny they may penetrate the skin’s defenses and make their way into the bloodstream and have adverse health effects. There’s not enough data to know for sure, but we don’t think it’s worth the risk, so we steer clear of them.
Minerals can be Good in Sunscreen
Look to see that your products are screened for safety and sourced sustainably to meet your standards. Instead of using a potentially harmful sun blocker like oxybenzone, find a sunscreen that uses non-nanoparticle zinc oxide, an effective mineral that works by reflecting UV light rays. Plus, minerals are great for people with sensitive skin because it tends to be less irritating. Zinc oxide is also better for the ocean than oxybenzone, which recent studies have shown may be harmful to coral reefs.
Remember those thick, white ‘sunblocks’ you used as a kid that never seemed to rub in? Luckily, the formulation and spreadability have improved over the years, look for mineral-based sunscreens that blend in seamlessly. There is no need to compromise beauty for safety! Also, make sure to properly apply sunscreen to make it an effective sunblock. Sun safety is SO important and doing the best we can with the information we have is key! If you have any specific questions about sunscreen safety and ingredients, I am happy to help! I’ve tried them all!
So, in a nutshell, what sunscreen should you buy?
My favorites are from Beautycounter, Vanicream, Babyganics, California Baby, and Aveeno Baby, but don’t forget to check EWG.com for ratings on the sunscreen you love to make sure it is safe for you and your family!
Stay away from Aerosol Spray Sunscreens and anything with these chemicals: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.