More than Skin Deep– Sunscreen Report part two

After reading the EWG sunscreen report, I decided to take one of their winners on a test run.
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Next up, Aubrey’s Natural Sun SPF 30+ ($12.99 for 4 oz.)  I did my grocery shopping at Whole Foods (no, I’m not wealthy; my husband works for them and we get a phat/fat discount) and purchased a tube of the Aubrey.  With about 20 minutes to kill right around noon, I figured that the lab rat and I would go to the park and take the stuff for a test run/jump/swing/play.  I applied it before we left the Whole Foods parking lot, so it would have plenty of time to soak in.

The texture was nice and thin without being watery, and went on well, despite the lab rat’s squirming in her car seat.  It gave off a scent that made her smell like something edible—wrapped in coconut and topped with a cherry.  My mouth began to water as I smeared some on my own arms.  (I’m trying to content myself with a pale, porcelain look this summer.)  It was obviously close to lunch time.  The result—no burn, and according to my husband, I still smelled mouthwatering at dinnertime.  Hmmm, this stuff could serve double duty—child-appropriate sunscreen AND hubby enticer.

In sampling the prices and locations of some of these popular sunblocks, here’s what I found:  Aveeno Continuous Protection Baby Sunblock Lotion (4oz. for $9.99 at Safeway) is not on the EWG’s list, but Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, SPF 50 is, and they give it a 1, or low-toxin score.  I don’t know how you’d apply a stick sunscreen to a baby, toddler or preschooler, but it’s safer if not more convenient.

Banana Boat Kids Tear Free Continuous Spray Sunscreen Spf 50 (6oz. for $11.59 at Safeway, and similarly priced at CVS) though more easily applied, scores a frightening 7, due to various chemical ingredients that are listed as anything from endocrine disruptors, cancer-causing and allergy causing.  GreenAmerica has also listed nanoparticles (such as those found in spray sunscreens) as being toxic.  Um, yikes.

So what IS okay?  Think minerals, not chemicals.  Visualize good, old-fashioned zinc oxide (or titanium dioxide) on the nose like the lifeguards from the ‘60’s.

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I combed the aisles of Whole Foods and found, not surprisingly, that the good mineral sunscreens will cost you about $10 for an average of 4oz.  Online, I flipped through the CVS website and also found a product called Think Baby Sunscreen Water Resistant SPR 30+the active ingredient of which is zinc oxide, and scores a reassuring 1 on the EWG’s report.  It, too, is over $10 for 3oz.  But compared with the price of health problems, that’s a steal.

Up next week: what Mamas like you are using on their kids, and what’s more dangerous than a sunburn.

Thanks to Ryan Murray for posing and Natasha Kuehn for taking the lifeguard photo.

Nifty Sun pic2 by digitalart

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