Sun Block….The Shady Truth!

Summer is here, and oh boy it is going to be a hot one! Most of us will be hitting the pool or the beach which means rubbing on that  suntan lotion.  STOP, because you may want to get the facts before turning your child into that ghostly white figure covered in sun block.  It seems over the last few years we have become a lot more conscious of slathering on the sun block in order to protect our skin from burning.  Since we are no longer burning our skin most of us our under the impression that we  are protecting ourselves from cancer.  Turns out that all this time we may have just been chasing our tails because of the dangerous toxins in most sun block.

Many products that we have grown up with are not toxic free, so the more we slather on, the more we pollute our bodies with dangerous toxins.  This is especially harmful for children who are more susceptible to these toxins since their bodies are unable to break them down as fast as an adult.  Polluted with hormone disruptors and other harmful chemicals many sun blocks are just not measuring up.  Add in the fact that anyone can buy an approval from the Skin Cancer Foundation by giving a large donation and having an SPF of greater than fifteen, it just makes the whole situation mind boggling.

So what do we do?  Thank goodness the Environmental Working Group has once again come to the rescue providing a nice list of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!  Use the following link to see how your current sun block rates.

I was in serious shock at what I found.  I had been using the sprays (kids didn’t yell as much) and for me my good friends Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic I used since I was a kid.  Recently I had changed my kids to Aveeno Baby because of their sensitive skin (thinking that I was getting the best for them!) Boy I was wrong on all three of these.  None of them were on The Good list!  Coppertone (another common brand) made an okay appearance if you purchase non spray, but for the kids my recommendation goes out to Earth’s Best Organic, which is available at both drug and groccery stores (even Toys R Us).

Here’s the quick list of The Do’s and Don’ts of Sun Block!

  • Avoid sprays and powders because inhalation (breathing it in) is simply NOT GOOD
  • SPF needs to be 15-50 (anything over is just asking for trouble, you get a false sense of security)
  • Avoid ingredients Oxybenzone, Vitamin A, and insect repellent
  • Buy products with Zinc, Titanium Dioxide and Avobenzone or Mexorl SX (yes print this off or write it down because you will forget it!)
  • Buy Mineral Products because of their high UVA protectors
  • Always reapply often and liberally

The General Do’s and Don’ts of Sun Exposure!

  • Always wear protective clothing (swim shirts, hats, sunglasses)
  • Stay in the shade when possible (beach umbrella, canopy, tree)
  • Avoid peak hours when possible from 10-2
  • Remember that a certain amount of sun exposure daily with NO SUNBLOCK is needed to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.  Plan on a little early morning playtime outside and soak in a few natural rays for 20 minutes.