Sunscreen is a very blurry topic when you begin to dig into the benefits vs. the risks and the question of true effectiveness. Considering some of the unquestionably unsafe things that the FDA approves, when they even say they have not reviewed the safety of sunscreens in more than 30 years and that the chemicals in sunscreens could pose more risk than the sun itself....ummmmm, that should tell us we need to be a little more informed before picking up the old Banana Boat!
As I have said before, it just isn't fair that in this world today, we have to be scientists in order to safely shop for our families! So, here's a little on what I have found with regard to sunscreens!
The short of it, sunscreens are made to provide a layer between your skin and the sun, which blocks the sun from penetrating your skin. This is done using either chemical or mineral filters. Many of these chemical filters are applied in thick layers in order to function as intended; however they are readily absorbed into the skin especially when worn for long periods and baked into our skin by the sun. Some of the most commonly used chemicals are pervasive in the US today and are found in nearly every American's blood and urine and have even been found in the majority of breast milk. These chemicals are proven hormone disrupters that copycat estrogen, significantly reduce testosterone and inhibit proper thyroid function, not to mention their many allergy concerns. (ewg)
Mineral based blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, have a much smaller rate of absorption into the skin, less allergy concern and most importantly no evidence of hormone disruption! (ewg) These are certainly the preferred option when you must use a cosmetic sunscreen! However, we must not forget to consider that at times these mineral based sunscreens can also include the chemicals we are trying to avoid, and can include other dangerous inactive ingredients as well! Crazy, right? Looking at the ingredients can be mind boggling and completely overwhelming!
How to get around the stress of Sunscreens!?
Cover Up - Light clothing layers are a great choice for blocking the sun. Several companies make UV blocking/ SPF clothing specific for beach, swim, sun and summer -rash shirts and even long sleeve breathable shirts!
Put a lid on it - Wear a hat to keep from burning your scalp and throw shade on your face!
Seek Shade - Make sure shade is available in the heat of the day or bring it along!
Watch the Clock & the Forecast - Try to limit exposure in the heat of the day or on days where the UV Index is highest!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! The sun and the heat rob moisture from your body and your skin! Make sure to amp up your water intake and especially your little's water intake! Kids can become dehydrated much faster than adults do! Consider fruit - it's a great way to get extra water in them uncover! ;)
Consult the EWG's Skin Deep Site for the safest options! Not only do they offer comprehensive reports on the safest sunscreens for your kiddos, but they also have an app and and amazing search engine where you can find ratings and reports on all your cosmetics! Simply type in your product and you can see how the rate the safety, as well as, what risks are associated with it and why! I LOVE their site and apps and keep this one handy for everything that touches my precious babies!
I hope this helps!