Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Fav Non-Toxic Sunscreens for Kids, Summer 2017

Everyone should be wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, especially during summer. We should not only be wearing it daily, but if we spend time outdoors we need to be reapplying throughout the day- that is a lot of sunscreen you and your family will be using!

 I know all of this, and yet the struggle to put daily sunblock on in my house is real.  Oh so real.  My boys hate putting sunscreen on. They groan, they sometimes run away. I remind them that we live in California and they have to put sunblock on every day.  Still a struggle.  I try to explain (to the oldest one) what skin cancer is  it helps-  a bit, but usually it is still a struggle.

So, I try to incorporate other methods to avoid the sun's dangerous rays when I can, which include:  
  • - wearing a hat
  • - wearing protective clothing
  • - planning around the sun and avoiding peak hours
  • - sticking to the shade as much as possible
  • - wearing sunglasses - even for babies and kids (read more on why this is important and how to choose a proper sunglass for kids here) 

This, it turns out, is just as important as wearing sunscreen daily.  According to the Environmental Working Group's 2017  Guide to Sunscreen "Stanford University dermatologists who reviewed CDC national survey data concluded that people who relied solely on sunscreens for sun protection had more sunburns than people who reported infrequent sunscreen use but wore hats and clothing to shield themselves from the sun "

But, as moms, we all know that kids will be outdoors, without shade, without a hat in the noon sun sometimes (especially during recess or camp!) - so sunscreen is still as important as ever.  So, here are our favorite sunscreens that are easy to apply and non-toxic...... wish putting sunblock on my boys was as easy as choosing a safe and non-toxic sunblock!

All Terrain Kid-Sport SPF-30 Oxybenzone-Free Natural Sunscreen Lotion, 6-Ounce

Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion - Fragrance Free, 3 Ounces, Best Natural Mineral Sunscreen, Non-Nano, Sensitive

Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen, Body, SPF 30  (currently this is my pick because this stick makes it is easier to put sunblock on the kids and its larger size allos me to protect more skin than smaller sized sunblock sticks.  Also, it does not leave them white which means less rubbing and less drama)  

The sunscreens with the worse ratings (ie:  do not use or buy)

  • Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+ (contains retinyl palmitate and very high SPF)
  • Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen, SPF 60+  (contains retinyl palmitate and very high SPF)
  • Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100 (contains oxybenzone, a hormone disrupting chemical and very high SPF) 
  • Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100 ((contains oxybenzone, a hormone disrupting chemical and very high SPF) 
  • Well at Walgreens Sunscreen Continuous Spray, Kids, SPF 50 (contains both oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate) 
  • Vichy Laboratoires Ideal Capital Soleil 60 Sunscreen, SPF 60 (contains oxybenzone, a hormone disrupting chemical and very high SPF) 
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+ (contains both oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate) 

For those who want more information here is a brief tutorial on how to choose a non-toxic sunblock;

According to the Environmental Working group, Almost three-fourths of sunscreen on the market offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients (like those mentioned below)

Remember: your skin is your largest organ. Anything you put on it enters your body- and if you are pregnant it enters your developing baby's body too.

What To Avoid

- The main ingredient you want to avoid? Retinyl palmitate, a type of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an antioxidant added to skin products because it is believed to help slow the skin's aging process. It is safe to use for night creams, which we use while indoors. However, a federal study recently found that Vitamin A might speed the growth of cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.

- Oxybenzone – One of the most common ingredients in sunscreens sold in the US- so common that most people in the US have it running through our blood stream. This is a hormone disrupting chemical that acts like estrogen in the body. In studies, it has been seen to alter sperm production in animals and is also associated with endometriosis in women. The worse part? It only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays.

- It is also a good idea to avoid sunscreens not labeled as “Broad Spectrum” or that have low SPF values between 2 and 14. While they help prevent sunburn, they do not help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.
- Sprays: According to EWG these "pose an inhalation risk and may not provide a thick and even coating on skin.

What to Look for in a non-toxic effective sunscreen:

- zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These chemicals are stable in sunlight, offer protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation – UVA and UVB – and don’t often contain potentially harmful additives.

- European sunscreens: According to EWG "Nearly every sunscreen sold in the U.S. claims to offer “broad spectrum” protection, which suggests they shield against harmful UVA rays. But many products are too weak to be sold in Europe, where standards are higher. In Europe, sunscreen makers can formulate their products with four chemicals that offer stronger protection from UVA rays. American manufacturers have been waiting for years for FDA approval to use these sunscreen ingredients." so if you are heading to Europe this summer: stock up!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Why Are There "Acceptable Levels" of Lead in Baby Food?

When we think about potential sources of lead exposure, we think about lead in water pipes or lead in chipping old paint.  No parent would ever think that a source of lead exposure could possibly be food... especially baby food. 

 However, a recent report published by the Environmental Defense Fund found just that:  about 20 percent of baby food samples tested over a decade-long period had detectable levels of lead.   


Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Sunglasses Are Just as Important as Sunblock and Seatbelts for Your Child's Health

Many of us consider sunglasses a fashion choice but they are actually an important necessity year round, especially in the summer, for adults, babies and children.