This post is a little off topic, but I’ve spent so much time in the past month looking into sunscreens, that I thought I would share my results…
Anyone that’s been following along on Facebook and Twitter lately may know I’ve been spending a lot of time searching for appropriate sunscreens for the family since reading the EWG’s new findings on sunscreens.
What bothered me most of all about the finding was that every sunscreen we had in the house except the Coppertone Water Babies was poorly rated. You know those super easy to use spray sunscreens? Yeah, apparently they are a big no-no because of the risk of inhalation risks. Not only did we have sunscreens that contained the potentially harmful chemicals such as Oxybenzone, but most of the sunscreens I was using did a poor job of protecting against UVA rays which cause skin cancer. I have had MANY blistering sunburns in my life, and I now try to protect myself more than the average person.
I think what bothered me most when I started searching for a healthier product was the cost of the sunscreens that were highly rated. Most of the sunscreens approved were 15.00 or higher for a small bottle. It’s suggested that you reapply every 40 minutes and use a full ounce (two tablespoons) every time you reapply. That means that a family of five needs 15 ounces of sunscreen for the average 3 hour trip to the beach. To give you an idea, that’s almost two full bottles of Coppertone Kids sunscreen per trip to the beach! Even with the least expensive of sunscreens, that’s a lot of money. That does not take into account the daily amount needed to cover up you and kids for the playtime outside every day.
So, here is what we’ve decided. For the kids we’re using Coppertone Kids tear free spf 50 with an ewg rating of 2 (a lower number is a good thing).
I initially also bought the Coppertone Sensitive Skin Faces for my face. However, after reading the ingredients of the different formulas of Coppertone, I think there is one product that is repackaged at many different prices. As far as I can tell by reading the ingredients the Coppertone Kids sunscreen listed above is the exact same product as Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Natural spf 50 which sells for about the same price. It also seems to be the same product as the much more expensive Coppertone Sensitive Skin Faces spf 50. Save yourself the money and just buy one type in bulk and use it for all purpose.
However, when I need a bit more protection against UVA rays like when I go to the beach, I am going to use a different product for me because of my high-risk category for skin cancer. I would also use it on the kids, but I don’t think it’s a product approved for children and I am concerned about their baby skin. The price is scary though. Amazon (an affiliate) is selling it for 15.41 a 3 ounce bottle. That’s why it will only be used when I am getting the maximum exposure.
It’s also important to note that pretty much every single sunscreen with a good EWG score that I could find used zinc oxide as the main sunscreen ingredient. Zinc Oxide is hard to rub in. It goes on white and takes for ever to rub in. It also rubs off on everything leaving white marks everywhere. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing that the chemicals that make it easy to absorb are the ones that are potentially hazardous. It’s annoying and its going to take awhile to get used to. It is a mild annoyance though compared to the dangers of skin cancer.
6/7/2016 – Update: After skirting around the more expensive lines, I finally gave in and learned to love one of the more expensive lines. We now use Blue Lizard as our sunscreen.
Please remember that the information here is opinion, not fact. I AM NOT AN EXPERT!! Everyone is different, and everyone can make their own decision. I am sharing the decisions I have made for my family based on the information I have read because I hope that it can be helpful to you when you are figure out what is best for you and your family.
Please feel free to share your opinions here as well, even if they are very different from the ones I’ve shared. I would also love to hear what sunscreens you are using, and the experiences you have had.