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Choosing the Best Sunscreen for Your Family this Summer

Summer is quickly approaching, and with it the question of sun protection comes up, especially for parents with young children.

EWG, known for their skin-deep website that rates the safety of cosmetics and beauty products, just put out their sunscreen guide for 2014. It is a great resource to have at your fingertips when you’re standing in front of a wall of seemingly identical products trying to pick one. They analyzed the ingredients of 462 common sunscreens and give them a hazard rating between 0 and 10 (with 0 being safest).

It’s Not All About SPF

Contrary to popular belief sun protection is not all about the SPF.  The difference in protection between an SPF 50 and an SPF 100 sunscreen are slim, but there are added dangers.  Higher SPF sunscreens tend to have less protection from UVA rays, they give people false security so they stay in the sun longer (resulting in more burns), and they generally contain higher concentrations of dangerous and carcinogenic ingredients.

  • You want to pick a sunscreen that does not contain vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) as it has been linked to speeding the growth of skin cancers.
  • Avoid hyperallergenic ingredients, especially with kids, as sunscreen is known for often causing reactions.
  • There are also quite a few common ingredients in sunscreens (like oxybenzone) that are hormone disruptors, which also is more problematic for children.
  • Lastly when using mineral based sunscreen make sure they do not contain nanoparticles, which are easily absorbed by the skin.

Picking the Right One

Overwhelmed yet?  EWG’s guide to sunscreens is great because they simplify the process of picking which sunscreen is best for you and your family, giving them simple ratings and clearly showing potential issues.

Generally with children and pregnant women you want to be extra cautious and stay below a rating of 2.  My personal favorites are Badger, thinkbaby, Blue Lizard, and Coola.

Check out the guide here and see how your favorite sunscreens rank.

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Alex MacDonald

Alex MacDonald

Alex is a play at home mom with two young kids. She is passionate about child nurturing, education, and safety.
Categories: Family,Health
  • sandra

    Great info!. With the start of lovely weather, I have been thinking about sunscreen and it’s definitely daunting choosing the ‘right’ sunscreen and these pointers are the perfect start.

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