Since having my first child, my views on many of the products I was buying for myself and my husband have changed. So this year when we went to purchase sunscreen for our family I did what any informed mother would do. I researched the ingredients on the bottle I had emptied at home. No harm right? I was shocked at some of the ingredients I had been slathering on my skin over the last year. So on my search went for a natural, healthy alternative for our family.
Below, I will share with you a small list of the things I felt were important to avoid in the product we decided to purchase and as I always say in situations like this, research. Find what works best for your family.
Nano or Micronized Mineral Particles: I have chosen to stray from these ingredients simply because they can be absorbed into the skin and there is very little concrete evidence of it being either safe or unsafe. So in the case that it can indeed be absorbed into the skin, I would rather not chance my family to something that could quite possibly cause free radical damage, cancer or other environmental toxins. More info from EWG on the subject here.
Padimate O/Paba: This ingredient can react with DNA to produce DNA damage similar to the effects of ionizing radiation. Read more about it here.
Oxybenzone: This is basically synthetic estrogen, it can penetrate the skin and disrupt your hormone system. Find out more about Oxybenzone here.
Retinol Palmitate: This was a big one for me. When this is exposed to UV light, the compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that damage DNA and cause gene mutations, which in turn can cause cancer. It can also speet development of skin tumors and lesions. But the worst of all is that daily application of this ingredient can build up enough Vitamin A in a womans body that it may be toxic to a developing fetus. How scary is that? Find more about it here and it’s rating in the EWG database.
Octyl Methoxycinnamate: Used as a UV Absorber it is used most widely in sunscreen. It can senditize skin or rather act as a photoallergen. It may have Estrogenic effects with disruption of thyroid hormone and brain signaling.
So now you may ask, What did I look for in a sunscreen? Well here is my list of wants in a sunscreen, quite simple really;
Zinc Oxide: It is the broadest spectrum UVA and UVB absorber, better than any other chemical or physical sunscreen. It sits atop the skin and scatters UVA and UVB light unlike chemical sunscreens that absorb into the skin along with the UV rays and convert them into energy. I choose to use a non nano, that is uncoated. It is even used for skin disorders such as diaper rash. It is considered safe for use on infants.
Natural Oils and Moisturizers: For example, Oils such as Grape Seed, Sunflower, and Coconut oil are all wonderful for the skin. As are Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, and Shea Butter.
SPF of about 30: Because there is no reason to go any higher and 30 offers the right amount of protection when used as directed and with common sense to how long you should stay in the sun.
Someday soon I hope to find the perfect homemade sunscreen recipe and share it with you. But for now I will invest into a healthy and safe sunscreen, to me it is worth every penny. Also as always using caution to cover up my baby properly in the case of long exposure with the sun.