Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Sunscreen falls into the same category as car seats and healthy eating: all things the Social Security Ponzi generation didn't have to give a rip about as young parents! When I was a kid taking turns peeling the shedding skin off of each other's backs was as much of a rite of summer as spitting watermelon seeds. (I am really sounding like a geezer!)
Parents today have access to more information and want to make the best choices for our families, sun protection included. If you have noticed the increase in natural products, but aren't sure about making the switch? Read on.
Chemical vs. Mineral
Empowering people to create intentional homes and lives through decision making makes us happy. People's happiest choices are often the healthiest too. Like decluttering a pantry can inspire healthier eating, decluttering body products may inspire healthier choices regarding what we put onto our body. What goes on so often goes in. They are as important to think about as your food. Sunblocks in particular are used over a large portion of the body and reapplied frequently, making an educated decision wise.
According to Environmental Working Group's (EWG) The Trouble with Ingredients in Sunscreen the common active ingredients in sunscreens vary in toxicity:
High Toxicity: Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Easily absorbed and most hormone disruption.
Moderate Toxicity: Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene
Lower Toxicity: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Avobenzone, Mexoryl SX. Absorption is low to none and no hormonal effect.
Basically, go with minerals.
To Spray or Not to Spray
It doesn't take more than a minute or two at the beach to observe the popularity of sunscreen sprays. Though more convenient (albeit wasteful-I often feel as though I am being treated to a reapplication via my neighbor's over spray against my will) they are not recommended, even in mineral version. The mineral options just don't provide as much coverage.
That being said, my husband, who tans very easily, has been a slacker about sunscreen for years. At the beach he used to eventually apply and only a SPF 15 or less. Meanwhile this freckle-face stayed in the shade and plastered the stuff on. A little over a year ago, my husband had a spot on his ear removed. Luckily it was the easily treatable basal cell cancer, but still! He has to be rechecked biannually and remember to apply and wear a hat more regularly. He uses a mineral spray. It's better than nothing.
Yes. Spraying is so much easier, but so is McDonald's. It doesn't make it the best option. I'll be the first to admit that many mineral sunscreens are thick and hard to rub in without a whitish haze. There are many that are getting better in this department.
Stick with lotion, but anything is better than nothing.
The Price is Wrong $$$
For sure many of the safe sunscreens are pricier, although there are many brands that are pretty affordable such as Babyganics at Target. Sunscreen lotions go a long way compared to sprays which end up blowing away, especially in sea breeze. Just like choosing to eat organic over having a cable bill, it's a matter of choosing to prioritize health in your budget and might not be feasible for many.
You know what's cheaper and easier than sunscreen? Shade! Swim shirts are a great option too. I have been the weirdo at the pool for the last two summers rocking a swim shirt. It's nice to only have to deal with applying on half of my body. Even my husband has decided to get a shirt this summer. My daughters aren't in love with wearing them at the pool, but I insist on the beach where they are in the sun for so long. Shirts cut done on surface area for those lovely sandy reapplication sessions.
We are usually out of the sun at its peak at home and pop lots of umbrellas at the beach. I am on the hunt for a straw hat before we head to Rehoboth. Geezer indeed.
Narrow the Hunt
The EWG's 2018 Guide to Sunscreens can take the mystery out of picking a safe one. Most of the products below were rated safe by EWG. Green Goddess is a spray so was not rated safest. The Thrive Market lip SPF was unrated by EWG. The Mychelle products were purchased from Thrive Market where they were a great price. (We buy lots of pantry items from Thrive. Love that they give free memberships to teachers, military, and those who qualify financially).
In Our Pool Bag 2018
Without further ado, the sunscreens we are using this year:
1. Mychelle Sun Shield Liquid- Non-tinted,
SPF 50 1 oz
This is a great facial daily SPF that absorbs easily.
2. Mychelle Replenishing Solar Defense Body Lotion,
SPF 50 6 oz
Mommy's sunblock. A mineral sunblock that isn't thick and pasty! I am naturally pasty enough! I'm done being cheap and sharing with the girls. This tube should last all summer, especially since I wear a swim shirt at the pool like a proper nerd.
3. Mineral Fusion Mineral Brush-On Sun Defense,
SPF 30 .14 oz
Love this brand of makeup. This is an EWG Verified brand which means it passed strict standards. This powder will last a long time. Nice to reapply over makeup on the go.
4. Mychelle Sun Shield Stick- Tinted,
SPF 50 .52 oz
Nice for times I don't want the girls looking like ghost faces in pictures. I don't do sticks, personally. I fear they would be break out city!
5. Babyganics Pure Mineral Baby Sunscreen Stick,
SPF 50. 47 oz
Fine for daily use on the kiddos when I don't care about a whitish tinge.
6. Babyganics Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum Protection,
SPF 50 8 oz
For the girls.
7. Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Spray,
SPF 30 6 oz
Daddy's spray. He doesn't seem to mind the name, but doesn't love this brand. I found it on sale for much cheaper than this. He prefers the Pacifica spray he bought at Target last year. That stuff did smell fabulous! Fancy pants! He's using this stuff up first, then back to his favorite (another girly brand).
8. Thrive Market Coconut Lip Balm SPF 30 Zinc Oxide - 4 1.5 oz tubes
In case you didn't notice, I think Jim Gaffigan is pretty funny. I highly recommend listening to his audio book Dad is Fat, especially while traveling with your honey if you are parents. Sooo funny!! Enjoy!
A couple years ago I saw Gaffigan shooting his show outside Katz's Deli which was even better than the pastrami sandwich I ate afterward. Hearing Marie Kondo (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) speak that evening truly made it a day for the books!
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