Mom's Health Corner

Mom’s Health Corner: Imperfect Protection

March 6, 2017

Imperfect Protection

My heart has been smiling over all the warm weather lately. As the first hints of Spring are peaking on the horizon – this means spending more time outdoors with our little ones!

Last year, I started doing some research on sunscreens and came by a great website – The Environmental Working Group (a non-profit, non-partisan organization). This website changed the way I think about buying products for my kids. Did you read my post about coconut oil? I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve been using it for everything!

We all want what’s best for our kids. I see many of you online sharing your vast wealth of knowledge on healthy diets, exercise, and even – organic clothing. But did you know that all sunblocks are NOT created equal?

Who cares?

It’s no coincidence that cases of melanoma have tripled in the past 35 years.

Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers COMBINED.

A single blistering burn as a child more than doubles your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

And yes- if you must know- I’m THAT mom who makes her kids wear beach shirts in the summer. And I try to keep a hat or sunglasses on them for as long as they’ll possibly stand it!  

So here we go. Things you MIGHT NOT know:

  1. SPF over 50 is a marketing ploy & very misleading. The ingredients suppress reddening of the skin while increasing your chances of other types of skin damage. Stick to UVA/UVB blocks in the SPF range of 30-50.
  1. Chemical sunblocks break down over time. Opt for a mineral sunblock instead.
  1. Stay away from the spray. I know it’s convenient, but the FDA has raised doubts about its safety and effectiveness. FDA guidelines are weak here in America. Many of our sunblocks wouldn’t be approved in other countries.
  1. Don’t skimp on application – many people don’t get their intended protection because they don’t apply and reapply enough. Apply at least 20 minutes before you go out & reapply every 2 hours – after sweating, towel drying, or playing in the water – no matter what the bottle says!
  1. DON’T get the bug/sun combo
  1. Avoid VITAMIN A & oxybenzone when possible. Vitamin A research is inconclusive so it’s best to just avoid it if you can. Oxybenzone acts as estrogen in the body when absorbed by the skin & studies suggest could be harmful to young girls.

Sunblock is good. But these are even better:

Time your day around the sun. Avoid or limit the sun from 10 am – 4 pm if possible.

Wear protective clothing.

Find shade.

Check UV index.

Note – Avoid sunblock and sun exposure for infants under 6 months

There are SO MANY SUNBLOCKS on the market!! How do I choose?

Here are some of the top ranked sunscreens from 2016:

Best Possible Score = 1, Worst Scores 7-10

Attitude Little Ones 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 – Ranking 1

Babyganics Mineral Based Suncreen Lotion SPF 50 – Ranking 2

Burt’s Bee Baby Bee Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 – Ranking 1

CeraVe Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 45 – Ranking 2

Kabana Organic Skincare Green Screen D Sunscreen SPF 35 – Ranking 1

Others: TruKid, ThinkBaby, The Honest Company, or Get the Full List Here


Worst Blocks – You can check online for a list of the worst. Many were cheap and convenient sunblocks with harmful inactive ingredients. On the list? Coppertone, Neutrogena, and Banana Boat – to name a few.

Check out my favorite mineral sunscreen! 


Sources: (See website if you’re interested in how the products were ranked and scored.)

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