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Fun in the sun…with or without sunscreen?

Posted Mar 05 2010 9:27am

As temperatures rise here in Tennessee and I start to notice that “healthy” pink glow on our cheeks after a little fun in the sun I can’t help but think about sunscreen.  Historically, I’ve been a big fan.   I mean, what’s not to like, right?  It protects us from the sun’s harmful rays (a definite plus since one in five Americans is diagnosed with skin cancer) and it smells like summer.  Plus, I’m a conscious consumer (or so I thought). I’ve always bought Aveeno Baby because it’s “dermatologist recommended for over 60 years” and their products have a reputation for being gentle and natural.  But after all I’ve learned this year I decided to do a little research and find out if our sunscreen of choice was really the right choice – and I’m glad I did.  Here’s what I learned. 

According to the Environmental Working Group, after looking at 783 sunscreens available in the U.S. they found that only 16% are both safe and effective.  Wow!  I hoped my Aveeno Baby would fall into that small percent, but no such luck.  According to the list of active ingredients on the back of the bottle, it contains Oxybenzone, one of the big sunscreen offenders.  The CDC found Oxybenzone in 97% of Americans tested, which apparently is not good because the chemical has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage and low birth weight.  Ok, so now what.  I mean maybe Oxybenzone comes from other sources too.  I don’t know.  But I do know that going without sunscreen isn’t an option.  Remember, I live in Tennessee with two boys under 4.  If you’re looking for us in the summer you will likely find us at the pool, the park or in the backyard.  So, here’s my verdict.  

I did some research and found  a few highly recommended natural sunscreens.  I’ve included the list below.  I’m buying from this list, but also implementing some other common sense tactics for sun safety, including: saving the sunscreen for long periods of sun exposure, wearing sun hats or ball caps to shade our faces, picking up a few lightweight long-sleeve shirts for long days at the beach and putting up shade umbrellas on the kids table and the adults table on the back patio.  Other than that, I’m going to enjoy summer and the sun while it lasts because winter always comes too fast. 

Sunscreen Options:

  • Aubrey Organics –
  • Badger Balm –
  • California Baby – (I tried this one, but my youngest son broke out in a rash.  He has very sensitive skin, but it might work for some of you.)
  • Dermalogica –
  • Kiss My Face –  (I’m trying this one with the kids right now. I’ll keep you posted.)
  • Natria Sun Screen –  ( I chose this one for myself and my husband.  It has vitamins A, B, C and E, which provide antioxidants to counteract the free-radicals caused by sun exposure.  Good for those of us who have had more years in the sun.)
  • UV Natural –
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