With the summer’s sunny season quickly approaching I have been doing some earnest research on sun safety and our skin. According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer – sunlight being a main source of UV rays. If you have been burned once in your life, you may be at a greater risk of developing skin cancer; since our children are dependent on us – lets keep their skin safe. Of course, this does not mean stay out of the sun completely but to follow basic sun safety. Seek the shade on sunny days (you will still get UV exposure even in the shade), wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), cool long layers, and a hat.
When it comes to sunscreen, most of us buy one of the major brands like the one with the puppy pulling on the girls bathing suit or the one that smells like sunny vacations – hot and tropical, but I would earnestly encourage that we turn that bottle over and read what we are slopping on our skin in the heat of the day. Remember, our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs all chemicals it comes into contact with instantly – which is directly absorbed into to our bloodstream.
The majority of big brand labels (non-mineral or organic based) sunscreen’s active UV filter ingredients are Oxybenzone, which acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women; Rentinyl Acetate, a synthetic vitamin A ingredient – the FDA has raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations; Octinoxate which creates hormone-like activity in the reproductive system, and linked to thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies. These ingredients are among only some of the concerning ingredients (others are parabens and fragrances) that have been proven to attribute not only to hormone disruption, but have been found to be linked to cancer and skin allergies. So – whoa, earnest information overload I know, and if you are interested in learning more I urge to you to do some of your own research, start with the Environmental Working Groups website article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals, and from there check out their other links that are helpful and informative.
Okay, so now what? Well there are sunscreens out there that are mineral based, which on the whole are much more safer for you than the ingredients already listed. When shopping for a safer sunscreen use the following criteria:
- Stay away from ALL aerosol spray screens – the inhalation factor raises too many concerns.
- Natural does not always mean safe – check ingredients and avoid the ones listed above.
- Stay with mineral based – look for the following ingredients Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Mexoryl SX.
- Avoid SPF higher than 50, there has been little evidence of the increased protection once the SPF has reached 50. (According the EWG – High-SPF products may give people a false sense of security, tempt them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.)
- NO tanning oils – the offer minimal sun protection and placing oil on your skin only magnifies the harmful rays we are trying to protect ourselves from.
If you are not in the mood for looking and researching all ingredients here are some of my favorite, low toxicity exposure sunscreens that I love (and will also be giving away). For the earnest kiddos, I like BabyGanics, not only is it mineral based but is also friendly on the checkbook. BabyGanics offers 2 cream based sunscreens (one in a tube, another in non-aerosol, pump spray form) both go on nicely and are fragrance free for sensitive skin, water resistant (80 minutes), tear free, hypoallergenic, and have NO PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles. BabyGanics can be found at Target, Babies R Us and other big box stores that have natural or organic sections. For the whole earnest family I like The Honest Company‘s Sunscreen Lotion. It is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, it is also a bit higher in cost. If you are already a subscription holder you can get it at a discounted rate, and can also be found at Target stores. This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-Nano, mineral-based, biodegradable, reef-friendly, water resistant (80 minutes) and pH balanced.
For my everyday facial lotion, I am sure to use a face cream that contains SPF 20, I use UrbanOreganics Green Tea facial moisturizer (you can find my review of the item here). This cream contains no harsh chemicals and leaves your skin feeling soft and well moisturized, without feeling greasy. It is thick, but not heavy, and will fully absorb into your skin in a matter of minutes. Perfect for all skin types. SPF is from Zinc Oxide and the cream is vegan, organic and contains non GMO ingredients.
Earnest followers, get out and enjoy the sun, its vitamin D, its light and its warmth – but let’s be safe and choose mineral based coverage in addition to covering up when we can. Have fun in the sun!
To Enter To Win Sweepstakes:
Please share your sun safety tips in the comments below (one entry per person) to enter to win an earnest sun safe prize pack that will include my favorite sunscreens listed in this post (UrbanOreganics SPF 20 facial cream, The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen lotion and BabyGanics SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen lotion – valued at over $50.00). Earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook/Twitter and come back and comment “shared” in the comments section. The earnest giveaway closes 5-31-15 and is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on 6-1-15. **Participants must 18 years of age or older.
Earnest Tip: SPF cannot “add up” – if you use SPF 15 facial cream, then apply SPF 30 suncreen, the protection factor is 30 – it does not add up to 45. This is a common consumer mistake so lets spread the word and be sun safe.
Great article. We LOVE LOVE LOVE babyganics, but it’s almost impossible to find in Canada. We like green beaver, but find it thick and hard to get out of clothing g if you happen to get it on there.
we also LOVE coconut oil as a sunscreen. Its effects arent long lasting (cant spend the day in the sun with JUST coconut oil) but it’s fantastic for babies who are under six months of age and shouldn’t be using any type of sunscreen. 🙂
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Good article and good to know these facts. We were just on a vacation in Cuba and we used the spray sunscreen. And honestly no matter how much anyone sunscreened you still end up burned or very tanned which are both not healthy. Thanks for all the useful info.
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You are such a great author. Thanks for all the tips. I always try and put sunscreen on my kids. I am looking into the natural ones. I also have uva protected clothing on NY kids when I know they are outside most of the day. Thanks for all the info.
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Congrats Jennifer – you are this post’s winner. Please message Earnest Mom on facebook or email from this blog so I can get your shipping information!
Yah. So excited. Thank you.
I buys kids rash guards with SPF in the material, I little extra umph while they splash outside.
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Thank you for your comments and facebook participation for this post’s giveaway. The earnest winner is: Jennifer (the Jennifer that left a comment above – no last name but I did reply to your earnest comment). Congrats on your Earnest Sun Safety prize pack!