Every Spring Break and Summer Moms are on the hunt to find the right sunscreen for their baby/kids.  We put together some Safe Choice facts to prevent sunburns this summer.  Did you know that a lot of sunscreens are actually so loaded with chemicals that they CAUSE the cancer they are trying to prevent?  Sounds crazy, but because the FDA is so slow regulating hazardous chemicals in sunscreen and approving the new safer ones, not all sunscreens on the market are safe.

toddler-in-the-summer

What makes a “bad” sunscreen?

So, how can you tell if a sunscreen is “bad”?  Consider the factors below.

1. Chemicals

There are two stinkers to really watch out for.  Oxybenzone acts like a shot of estrogen in the bloodstream and disrupts hormones.  Neutrogena is loaded with it.  Another one is retinyl palmitate (or really retinyl anything).  When sun shines on it, it can cause skin tumors and other problems).

2. SPF 50+

Never choose a sunscreen with an SPF over 50.Why?  SPF is an outdated idea that protects you from UVB rays.  UVB rays cause sunburn, but an SPF below 50 will be fine for that.  Sunscreens with super high SPF may NOT protect you from UVA rays and these are the ones that cause skin cancer.  Just because you are not getting a burn doesn’t mean you are not being exposed to harmful rays.

3. Spray Sunscreens

They are convenient.  Believe me, I know.  Kids chomping at the bit to get into the waves are like restraining a herd of horses.  But did you know inhaling that stuff is awful for little lungs?  I didn’t.  Sadly but surely, I gave the sprays up.

Which sunscreen should you consider?

DSC_0045copygtThe good ones are generally the crunchy-granola kind – you know, heavy, oily, the kind so loaded with zinc it coats you in greasepaint kinda like a summer clown.  I personally like Supergoop, sold here at the Motherhood Center, not only is it safe but it feels light and non-greasy like traditional sunscreens.

But even the perfect sunscreen is just one tool among many to protect baby from the sun.  Those old-school Victorian staples should always be a part of your routine to prevent most sun damage.

  • Supergoop
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Long sleeves
  • Sunshades at the beach
  • Avoiding the sun at its peak

Be safe and have a great summer!