More than Skin Deep– the latest and safest sunscreens, part 1

More than Skin Deep– the latest and safest sunscreens, part 1
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Environmental Working Group has released their 5th annual sunscreen report, giving out toxicity scores on 1,700 different products.

At the inception of this article, I thought I’d buy a couple different products and test them out, without trying to turn my daughter into a lab rat, and refraining from doing a ‘control’ sample—in other words, allowing her to get sunburned.

In the past decade, doctors and health specialists are becoming more aware of the dangers of sun exposure, especially the significant future health risks of getting multiple or severe sunburns in early childhood.

I started out with a little sample tube of Alba Botanica Sun Lavender Sunblock SPF45 (ingredients including organic lavender and ‘natural protection’). I put it on a little before noon and sent her out into the sun for 30 minutes. Besides being flushed pink and sweaty from running around in the 95 degree heat—not a hint of burn. And then, I got bolder and sent her to the pool with her dad at 4pm with no re-apply of sunscreen. That evening, still no sign of sun. On day two, we went to the park with the water feature at 10am, and I slathered her right before we got out of the car and a little bit more 10 minutes later when I changed her into her swimsuit. She played in the water and the sun for over an hour.

That afternoon, we were inside, but she seemed a little flushed and sweaty and very tired, because summer had hit with a vengeance and it was again in the high nineties– so we were all a little damp and salty.

When I went to get my little darling out of bed on day 3, however, I noticed the beginnings of a sun-kissed glow to her face. It’s cute, to be sure, but inwardly, I cringe at the thought of what it may mean for the future of her skin. Or maybe I’m just paranoid. But it did make me vow to reapply the Alba sunscreen after half an hour or so in the water, and to put it on before we leave the house, instead of right before she gets in the water.

I bought some of this same stuff for my dad and put it in a mini-care package for him to take to the Giants’ game on Father’s Day, and even let a grandfather at the playground smear some on his fair and red-headed grandson.

Um, then I read the EWG’s report on the lavender Alba Botanica.

Now I will go upstairs and throw it out. Note to self: read study before purchase.

Up next week: Aubrey Natural Sun SPF 30+ at $15.99 for 4oz. It scored a 1 out 5 on toxicity levels. I’ll test it out, collect the results and the low-down on my informal mom’s poll of sunscreens, give you the purchasing details of a few products from different places, including my friendly, neighborhood Whole Foods (where, btw, I purchased the Alba) and point out the major no-no’s and big yes’s of the EWG’s study.

Now, off to smear my little lab rat and take her to the pool.

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swirly sun photo by digitalart

the ‘lab rat’ photo and the ‘lab rat’ belong to the author