What’s in your Sunscreen?

Remember Baz Luhrmann circa 1999?  He created the base drop twangy song that gave you advice of his own meanderings.   Well his main tip for the future was to wear sunscreen.  I really wonder which brand he used, because many sunscreens are detrimental to your health, due to the excessive use of harmful chemicals.

The good news is that today, there are now sunscreen brands that have created skin healthy formulations.  So, as promised in the Eat your Sunscreen post, let’s figure out what brands these are and how to decode the labels to keep your family protected.

To start here’s a list of what to look for and what to avoid.  Typically the active ingredient in a mineral-based sunscreen is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  Both deserve a thumbs up, but my favorite is zinc oxide which is a miracle in a tube.  (Tune in to another upcoming HHK post to find out why.)   Back to the list, green tea is showing up more in natural-based sunscreens since it is a powerful antioxidant and assists in reducing skin damage from sun radiation.  Shea butter naturally has an SPF of 6 and will also give you an added bonus of softening the skin.  Some natural sunscreens are also using skin favorites such as jojoba oil, sunflower oil, etc.

These following chemicals found in traditional sunscreens, I call the dirty baker’s dozen.  Avoid these chemicals in your screen for a safe experience:   Para amino benzoic acid, Octyl salicyclate, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Cinoxate, Padimate O, Dioxybenzone, Phenylbenzimidazole, Homosalate, Sulisobenzone, Menthyl anthranilate, Trolamine salicyclate, and Octocrylene.

What’s wrong with these chemicals?  Well the body absorbs them and once inside, Oxybenzone, for example, can be a hormone disruptor and its presence in pregnant women correlates with lower baby birth weights, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Dioxybenzone & Oxybenzone are both tremendous free radical generators which create a host of health problems.  Free radicals accelerate the body’s aging and can lead to many diseases such as cancer & heart disease.

Onto brands…

Last season, I was on the Badger® bandwagon. Badger® contains organic ingredients, non-nano zinc oxide, and is broad spectrum (protecting from both UVA & UVB). It works immediately upon application & the packaging is BPA- and Phthalate-free in a recyclable tube. This is a quality product and has a nice mild scent of Chamomile & Calendula.  What I noticed was that the screen went on very thick, so you only needed a little, but had to take some time massaging your baby to get it all in. (www.badgerbalm.com)

This season I am experimenting with Green Babies™.  This one also uses non-nano zinc oxide and is also broad spectrum and water resistant.   It is oxybenzone, paraben & PABA free.  I am trying the unscented version which also contains hydrating pomegranate seed oil.  The consistency is really nice too.  (www.greenbabies.com)

Some others on deck to try would be Jason’s Natural Sunblock (www.jason-natural.com), California Baby (www.californiababy.com), Soleo Organics (www.soleoorganics.com), & Alba Botanica Organic Lavender Sunscreen (www.albabotanica.com).  Remember these sunscreens are not only for your kids… you can use them too!

Let’s talk…what sunscreen are you using?

Hip Tip:  Did you know that sunscreen not only blocks UV rays, but also hinders your body’s ability to generate vitamin D from sun exposure?  Dedicate some time out in the sun (sans screen) so you can capitalize on this natural vitamin power.   



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