My three children (ages 5, 3 and 1) are fair skinned, with blond hair, blue eyes and a lot of Irish blood. Yet, despite this, I do not cover my kids in sunscreen every time they go outside. On the contrary, when they are outside to play, be it in the backyard or at the beach, they are without sunscreen more often than they are with it. In the almost 6 years since having my oldest, only one of my children has ever had a sunburn and it was minor – the baby had been under the shade and had gotten some sun on his legs without me realizing. Why no sunscreen? Because it blocks the vitamin D that we so need and because it is not always necessary. A lot of time my kids wear rash guards and spend equal time in both the shade and in direct sunlight. My husband was a beach lifeguard for most of their lives and we would spend 8 hour days there. We would wait at least an hour before putting it on and we would only reapply once. Never a burn. Of course, there are times when protection is necessary. Like I mentioned, 8 hours at the beach, we’d be silly not to apply some during that time. Because I am super cognizant about what enters my children’s body, be it via their mouths or their skin, I make sure to read every ingredient on the sunblocks I look at, knowing that natural doesn’t necessarily mean it is, and neither does organic. Because the number one question I am asked during the summer months is about sunscreen, I decided to take a closer look at the ‘natural’ ones consistently recommended. What better way to do this than to delve into the ingredients of each – that way you can see for yourself, what’s natural, what’s organic, and what’s not!
**Update 5/16/16 – my kids are now 8, 6 and 4 – no burns and still using the same routine 🙂
My Choice for my Family:
Let me start with my least favorites: Alba, California Baby and Aveeno. All three contain ingredients that I do not want on the skin of my children. For example, Benzyl Alcohol (linked to organ system toxicity and allergies), Phenoxyethanl (linked to organ system toxicity and skin irritant), Tocopherylacetate (linked to cancer and allergies), Dimethicone (linked to organ system toxicity), PEG-8 (linked to organ system toxicity), Polysorbate-60 (linked to organ system toxicity). I also prefer zinc oxide (it HAS to be non-nano) to titanium dioxide. If a sunscreen doesn’t say that the zinc they use is non-nano, you don’t want it, as it is carcinogenic. P.S. – Aveeno is owned by Johnson and Johnson, the same company that used formaldehyde in its baby products for years.
So that leaves Poofy Organics,
Ava Anderson (out of business) and Badger. All have safe, organic, quality ingredients. After having used all three, my top pick is Poofy Organics. I find that it rubs on easier and quicker than the other two. I love the combination of oils used, making for a smooth application. I also love that Poofy consistently puts out safe, organic products, made by hand in small batches by the owner herself. Because shipping price is the same for purchasing one, or a few, I stock up. Poofy Organics also had their sunscreen independently tested to ensure it meets the “broad spectrum” guidelines & it absolutely does. The test results can be found right next to the ingredient list on the website. Badger is also good. It’s my second favorite, as it doesn’t seem to rub in as well as Poofy’s does, but it does work great.
Most Cost Effective: I decided to look at how Poofy’s ‘The Sunscreen’ compares in cost to other natural sunscreens and guess what? Not only do I like it the best, but it’s one of the most cost effective. Here’s the comparison: ‘The Sunscreen’ is 16.00 for 3.4 ounces. Badger retails for about 14.00 for 2.9 ounces. Little Twig retails 16.00 for 2.9 ounces . Ava Anderson is 15.95 for 2.9 ounces. Honest Company 13.95 for 3 ounces.
You can purchase Poofy’s sunscreen here. Because I love it so much, I have partnered with Poofy, consulting with them so that a percentage of sales supports this website. Thank you for purchasing it through the link if it’s the sunscreen that you decide on for your family. While you’re at it, on the same page you’ll find Poofy’s bug repellent, great for repelling ticks and mosquitos – another one of my favorites.
SO there you have it – it’s really as simple as looking at ingredients and deciding for yourself. If you have trouble deciphering anything, you can always double check ingredients with the Environmental Working Group’s website.
Some more info with what to avoid and why, along with a list of better sunscreens: http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/06/neutrogena-sunscreen-toxic-avoid/