Which Sunscreen is Right for You?

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safe sunscreen choices for your family

Have you ever stood in front of the selection of sunscreen products and been intimidated by all the choices? Mineral, UVA/UVB, Spray, Non-Nano and so on. It’s a little more confusing now, and finding which sunscreen is right for your family can be a bit daunting. I am often asked what sunscreen we are using, and why. Today I’m sharing some of my top picks this year and how we making our sunscreen shopping decisions. {some affiliate links are included in this post}

A couple of things to look for in general when shopping for suncreen.

  1. Look for mineral based sunscreen: zinc or titanium dioxide
  2. Avoid chemical based suncreen: oxybenzone. There is concern that it’s more detrimental to your skin if you don’t have enough on and it can accelerate skin turnover…aka skin cancer. Avobenzone is a concern, but less of a hazard to your body. {further detail: EWG recommends that consumers avoid this chemical because it can penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones (Calafat 2008, Rodriguez 2006, Krause 2012).} 
  3. Don’t buy sunscreen wipes. The FDA has barred them going forward.
  4. Skip the aerosol sprays. I do miss them, but the concern about inhaling nano-particles is enough to make me take a pass.

EWG does not recommend powder and spray sunscreens because of concerns about inhalation. The FDA is reviewing safety and efficacy data for sprays…EWG is especially concerned about inhalation of nano-sized and micronized zinc and titanium in powdered sunscreens and makeups. Inhalation is a much more direct route of exposure to these compounds than skin penetration, which appears to be low in healthy skin. If you want the benefits of a mineral sunscreen, choose a zinc- or titanium-containing lotion but not a powder. If you use a pump or spray sunscreen, lower your inhalation risk by applying it on your hands and then wiping it on your face. {source}

Coola baby sunscreen, EWG rating of 1

 Babies and Kids

  • Coola Baby SPF 50 is again one of our top picks for this season. After trying multiple mineral based sunscreens, this is the only brand that does not cause our son’s skin to turn red and bumpy on his face. It rubs in well and isn’t too thick, which is so helpful for wiggly children. The one bummer is the price. At $36, it’s not cheap so I find it’s often used on the littlest bodies in the house, and also for faces. Note- if it’s a little cool, the lotion becomes a little thick. Warm the bottle in your hands. EWG rating of 1
  • Block Island Organic Baby SPF 30- another safe option and one we are using on the big kids in the house. A lower SPF so you need to be mindful of reapplying it. This also has an EWG rating of a 1 and is locally made in Rhode Island. Bonus~~ all readers can order Block Island Sunscreen at a 20% discount. Use code: emilyr
  • BabyGanics Pure Mineral Sunscreen Stick- loving this stick as it has a broader application stick than most others. It’s awesome for faces. There is a lot of whiteness because of the zinc, but it’s quite helpful when you let a five year old try to apply sunscreen herself. This is not rated by the EWG at this time

block island sunscreen, EWG rating of 1

Mom & Dad

  • Block Island Organics Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40.   This is starting to be the go to sunscreen as we dash off to the pool or playground. It’s a little thinner than other sunscreens so it’s really easy to apply. It does leave a whitish cast, but works very well around water. You could see the water bead up on the skin. At $27.99 it’s a reasonble price for a sunscreen with an EWG rating of a 1. Again- the 20% discount is available by purchasing directly from Block Island Organic. 
  • Mexitan SPF 50 Natural Sunscreen. This one makes the cut as it’s at a lower price and has an EWG rating of a 1. I haven’t tried it myself but have read many great reviews from other bloggers doing sunscreen reviews.

The other component of protecting your skin that bares mentioning is clothing. We put our kids in rash guard swim suits that cover most of your body. It makes it easier to keep their body covered, use less of the expensive sunscreen and helps us avoid having to reapply sunscreen too often. We have used Mini Boden, One Step Ahead and now Cabana Life suits with success.

Got a “burning” sunscreen question? {so punny right?} Let me know and I’ll try to answer it!

About Emily Roach

Green Boston mom of three young children. Focused on family nutrition, wholesome recipes, and an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great tips! I found a BabyGanics mineral sunscreen at CVS that we’ve been very happy with this summer. I love using the EWG guide to help with these decisions.
    Annemarie recently posted…Cherry Tomato Ricotta PastaMy Profile

  2. This information is great. Standing in the sunscreen aisle is certainly overwhelming. Especially with all of the news stories lately! Thanks for sharing this!
    Lauryn recently posted…How to Lower Your Stress Level NaturallyMy Profile

  3. I’ve been looking for new sunscreens, we have some sensitive skin issues here. I’m looking forward to trying the Block Island sunscreen.
    Nancy b recently posted…A Cool Bowling DayMy Profile

  4. I struggle every year to find the safest and best sunscreen for my family. We’re using Badger this year. Thanks for the great tips to help out. I’ve never used sprays, as much as I would love to. The inhalation of chemicals truly scares me. I’m in love with Coola for my face. I use it every day.
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted…Top 3 Reasons to Eat More TomatoesMy Profile

  5. I love these recommendations Emily! I hate putting anything on baby’s skin because he is just so new and sensitive. I’ve only used babyganics with him!

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