Do We really Need Sunscreen?
Does your sunscreen keep skin cancer away, or is it actually causing it? Lately there’s been a lot of information about how sunscreen can cause more harm than good. But why? Well, shockingly – ingredients matter!
Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. Lab studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended effects on human health from frequent sunscreen application. The most worrisome is oxybenzone, added to nearly 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in EWG’s 2016 sunscreen database. [Read the full article here for the Trouble With Oxybenzone and Other Sunscreen Chemicals on EWG’s website.]
Here are some tips to keep you safe in the sun, according to EWG – Sunscreen Should Be Your Last Resort:
- Wear Clothes: shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays, reducing risk by 27%.
- Plan Around the Sun: go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky.
- Find Shade – or Make It: Picnic under a tree or take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade, reducing the risk of multiple burns by 30%.
- Don’t Get Burned: Red, sore, blistered skin means you’ve gotten far too much sun.
- Sunglasses are Essential: not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation.
- Check UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure.
If you’re going to wear sunblock, you’ll want to make sure it’s a SAFER mineral-based sunscreen, instead of chemical-based. If it works for my FAIR family, it can work for you!
Are you familiar with the EWG?
If you’re not familiar with the EWG ratings, the website has a search engine of most products we use on our skin.
The EWG has a rating system of 1-10. (1 being great. The products have low levels of toxin and harmful chemical exposures, as well as endocrine disruptions).
To learn more about the EWG’s rating system and how to use their web-data base to check your favorite products, you can click here to read more. They also have a handy phone app I use all the time when I am out and about in the stores shopping and want to try a new product out, but don’t know if its a “safe product” or not. I like to stay between a number rating of 1-3, these are numbers I feel safe/comfortable with. However you may feel comfortable with going higher depending on the product.
A good rule of thumb is; if it’s going to stay on your body for awhile (like sunscreen) you should stick with a lower EWG ratings. If its something like hand soap that you immediately wash off then it might be okay to go a tad higher on the EWG rating if you absolutely can’t part with that product.
What about major brands of Sunscreen? Are they safe?
We all love a good deal right? However sometimes that deal isn’t worth having/taking. I know for me it was so hard to shell out the big bucks for sunscreen that would wash away as soon as my kids jumped in the pool. Plus having to reapply it over and over again throughout the day. It pained my pockets to splurge on sunscreen. Once I did all my research on sunscreen I immediately felt better about shelling out the big bucks.
Now, when I see big name brand sunscreen on sale I push my shopping cart right past them and feel empowered to know I will not be deceived by their marketing gimmicks of how their sunscreen will protect me and my family from the sun. Proof is in the pudding! Next time you see these sunscreens I mention below I suggest you roll your shopping right past them too
Here are a few sunscreens you might stroll across while in Target/Wal-Mart/Drug Stores. I could have listed more but these are the sunscreens I used to buy.
1. Up & Up Kid’s Suncreen Stick, SPF 55: EWG rating 7 (7-10 is rated as a high hazard).
2. Coppertone Sport Breathable Ultra Sweatproof Sunscreen, SPF 50: EWG rating 5 (3-6 Moderate Hazard).
3. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60: EWG rating 6 (3-6 Moderate Hazard).
4. Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Sport Performance Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30 : EWG rating 7(7-10 is rated as a high hazard).
5. Bare Republic Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Sport, SPF 50: EWG rating 6 (3-6 Moderate Hazard)
6. Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70: EWG rating 7 (7-10 is rated as a high hazard).
Why are baby Sunscreen rated HIGHER according to the EWG?
As I researched more and more I noticed the baby sunscreens are rated higher then the non baby/kids sunscreen, WHY IS THAT?
- People like sprays because they’re easy to squirt on squirming kids and hard-to-reach areas. But they may pose serious inhalation risks, and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot.
- Oxybenzone: Yup here is that word again sigh… an active ingredient in sunscreens. which penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic skin reactions. So this ingredient is a horrible hormone disruption for girls, especially for pregnant women, and babies.
- Retinyl palmitate a form of vitamin A. On sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.
- Sky-high SPFs is also a issue in kids/baby sunscreens because they can only protect past a certain SPF, therefore you don’t really benefit, so parents may accidentally expose their children to longer sun thinking the SPF will help protect them against harmful sun rays. The term SPF refers only to protection against UVB rays that burn the skin. It has little to do with a product’s ability to protect skin from UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the body, accelerate skin aging, may suppress the immune system and may cause skin cancer. The scary part about high-SPF is it gives people a false sense of security High-SPF suppress the skin reddening and pain of sunburns, but they raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering barring SPF above 50.
Safer Sunscreen for you and your children
MY whole family has been LOVING Beautycounter’s Safer Sunscreen with natural zinc-based protection. It even smells like candy, it’s the first brand my kids won’t get mad at me to put on! Clicking HERE, to check it out
We also love that EWG rates it the SAFEST rating possible, check it out by clicking here to see the ratings
Beautycounter has definitely been a helpful friend for us as a family. I love that Beautycounter sunscreen comes in different forms and sizes. The face sun stick for my face is seriously my go to friend daily! I leave it in purse or car cup holder so when I need it I can just grab it and put it on my face or my kids faces.
Beautycounter also has a full body water resistant sunscreen in many different forms like lotion, or a body stick, as well as a face stick. I love the sun sticks because when you have squirmy kids, are in a hurry, and you want something that is fast, and easy to put on your kid. This is hands down one of the best sunscreens I have used for my family.
The best past is I can trust the ingredients and the protection in Beautycounter Sunscreen.
What other brands are good for you?
I am going to list a few for you that I also think are safe for you and your family. I listed ones for you that you can easily find on amazon or at the local stores.
- Beautycounter Sunscreen in the form of sun stick, or body lotion – EWG CERTIFIED!! (which means its better then a 1 rating).
- Babyganics Pure Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30- 4oz (For the sun stick click here).
- Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 35
- JASON Sun Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Alba Botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen, Sport, SPF 45
To get the full list of EWG approved sunscreens click here to check it out.
I truly hope you have found this blog post helpful and informative. I also hope you feel empowered with knowledge to protect your family from product toxins. We know sometimes it is far easier to buy the stuff on sale, but over time the toxin overload adds up in our bodies, so lets give our bodies a break this summer, it deserves it…right?
I love my sunshine.
Summer sun rays feel so fine.
I get a nice tan just from lying on the beach.
I need sunscreen within reach.
Copyright © Robert Pettit
About the Author: Arlene Salcedo is a health-conscious wife and mother of four children living in Temecula, CA. She is an independent consultant for Beautycounter products and loves teaching women about living a healthier lifestyle.
*This post was originally published on Little Wellness Corner.