Posts Tagged ‘Parabens’

Safe sunscreens 2010

EWG's top-rated sunscreen

I never really thought about what was in my sunscreen until I had kids. Before my daughter was born, I was just beginning to learn about all the harmful chemicals in soap , shampoo, etc. So when it was time for us to take our yearly family beach trip, I sought out a safe sunscreen. Then I had to do the leg work myself, but didn’t really know what to look for either.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group came to the rescue 4 years ago with their Safer Sunscreen Guide. Every year, new research is available, shifting the list around a bit. This year, research shows that vitamin A may speed up the development of cancer. See their whole list of surprising facts about sunscreen.

And you definitely will not find the widely used and available  Baby Blanket, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Panama Jack or Neutrogena anywhere near the top of the list, in fact, you will find these at the bottom of the list. Blue Lizard and Bull Frog are middle of the road. These chemicals sunscreens contain ingredients that are possible carcinogens. To me, it does not make any sense to slather on something that may cause cancer in an effort to protect yourself from something (the sun) that may cause cancer.

Non-nanoparticle zinc oxide based sunscreens are deemed to be the safest and most effective sunscreens available today. Zinc oxide is all natural offering sun protection without the harmful chemicals. And like other skin care products, you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients and it should be free of PEG compounds, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and any other active ingredient other than zinc oxide (or possibly titanium dioxide).

This year, EWG tested 500 sunscreens and can only recommend 39 of them for safety and effectiveness. That’s 8%. Pretty lame.

Here is a list of the top-10 sunscreens as tested by the EWG, and the EWG rating (0-2 = low concern, 3-6 = some concern, 7-10 = high concern).
1. Badger Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented 1
2. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented 1
3. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30 1
4. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 1
5. Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
6. Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick, SPF 30 1
7. Purple Prairie Botanicals SunStuff, SPF 30 1
8. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
9. Soleo Organics Atlantis Resort All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1 -
10. Soleo Organics Wyland Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1

…….I have to toss CA Baby in here as it is one of my favorite lines
19. California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
20. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
21. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 2
22. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+, Citronella 2

Want to see the rest of the list and see how your sunscreen stacks up? Visit EWG’s mini-site dedicated to sunscreens and sunscreen safety.

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California Baby sunscreen review
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CleanWell Hand Sanitizer: Product Review

I had been looking for an alcohol-free hand sanitizer for some time now that I could use on the go when I would not have access to soap and water, like at the playground, or after changing a diaper in the car (not while in motion) when we are out and about. I knew the alcohol-based ones were not safe for kids. If a child ingested it, they could get alcohol poisoning, so I didn’t even want alcohol-based sanitizers in the house knowing I can’t use it without my toddler begging for some as well. I prefer to avoid the ER.

Also, Triclosan is toxic, so that was out as well. As well as parabens, phthalates, PEG compounds, etc.

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon CleanWell Hand Sanitizer. It claimed to be all natural, alcohol and triclosan free and kills 99.99% of germs, including MRSA, staph, E. coli, and Salmonella. It is botanically based, and no pesticides or chemicals are used. Plants are also a renewable resource. No petrochemicals or harmful byproducts are created during harvesting or manufacturing.

cleanwell6oz

OK, I gotta be honest here, I LOVE this stuff. It smells great – a nice herbal smell. One or two sprays is all you need. One 1 ounce bottle will yield 225+ sprays, so you get 4 times as many uses as the gel sanitizers.

CleanWell Hand Sanitizer is safe, no parabens, phthalates, alcohol or other ickies. Thymus Vulgaris Oil is the active ingredient (hence the herbal scent). EWG’s cosmetic’s database does not list Clean Well Hand Sanitizer, but I entered the individual ingredients and everything was in the safe (0-2) category except citric acid which was a 4 (it seems mostly for skin sensitivities).

It’s important to note that there are good bacteria and bad bacteria, so using antibacterial products on a regular basis is not good or recommended. In fact, the over use of antibiotics and antibacterial products cases viruses to mutate creating superbugs and strains that are resistant to medication. So while CleanWell is a great product, it, along with other hand sanitizers and antibacterial products, should never be used on a regular basis. It should only be used when hand washing with regular soap and water is not an option (think port-a-potty, wiping noses in the car, etc.)

CleanWell Hand Sanitizer is available in purse/travel size (1 oz) and regular size (6 oz). I’d recommend several to keep in various places – your purse, the diaper bag(s), at work – so you will have it when needed. I have one in each diaper bag (we have 3), in my purse and on the changing table (easy for between kids when I am changing both).

CleanWell has a whole family of products including CleanWell Sanitizing Wipes, CleanWell Foaming Hand Wash and the CleanWell Hand Sanitizer.

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Safer Sunscreens 2009

It’s that time of year again — planning for beach trips, the pool, biking, or whatever outdoor activities interest you.

california-baby-spf-30-natural-sunscreen

Last year, the folks at the Environmental Working Group published a report on the effectiveness of sunscreens. They studied 952 common sunscreens and found 4 out of 5 do not do their job.  Additionally, 53% of sunscreen make claims on the bottle that are simply inaccurate and are terms the FDA has said are unacceptable terms or misleading. 

They also found zinc and titanium based formulas to be the most effective.

What to avoid. Avoid ingredients like those with anything “–paraben” in the name, fragrance (likely contains phthalates), PEG compounds, polyethylene, oxybenzone,  triethanolamine, BHT,  benzyl alcohol, and others. This is not a complete list, just some of the ones you may find. Definitely consult the EWG’s Cosmetic Databse for more information on specific ingredients.

Again, read those labels and remember formulas frequently change!

Here is a little summary on the EWG website, plus their recommended top 10 sunscreens that are safe and effective. They also offer a list of “common brand names” and specifically which product in that line is safe and effective. **A little disclaimer though about the cosmetic database.** I have personally found discrepencies in the ingredients they have listed in their database than what is actually listed on the bottle. This is because formulas change frequently and it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with each and every product. So definitely still consult the databse as a guide, but as always read the labels before you buy!!

EWG’s recommended Top 10 sunscreens (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard)
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30   0
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+  0
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+   0
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30       0
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum    1
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40     1
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35      1
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+      1
(there is also a Baby version)
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30     1
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+  1

From 10 Common Brands (and their hazard rating. Rating is based on level of hazard, 0 being safest, 10 being highest hazard). If more than 1 product is listed for that entire brand’s line, I put the range, so be sure to get the ones specified below)
** Please note, these are safer common brands (meaning easier to find), does not mean they are free of harmful ingredients. Other than California Baby, I would personally NOT recommend any of the below or use these for myself or my family.
1. Blue Lizard anything without oxybenzone    (1-7)
2. California Baby anything with SPF 30+     (0-2)
3. CVS with zinc oxide       (2-7) 
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock  (1-7)
5. Kiss My Face “Paraben Free” series     (2-7)
6. Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock     (2-7)
7. Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc)    (2-7)
8. SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense     (2-3)
9. Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face      (1-2)
10. Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears   (1-7)

Personally, I am a HUGE fan of TruKids and California Baby. TruKids is a little less expensive. My husband and I both used it last year during our traditional week at the beach and I use California Baby on my then 2 year old. She enjoyed using the TruKids face stick on all 3 of our faces! None of us got burned, and our relatives who used Bull Frog did get burned.

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California Baby Sunscreen: Product Review
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Do your cosmetic and beauty products contain toxic ingredients?

The answer is probably “yes.” I have a very difficult time finding a product I can purchase off the shelves that does not contain toxic ingredients. Even products from Arbonne, Mary Kay, Avon, etc. are not free of toxins. Makes me mad that Arbonne touts the whole “Pure. Safe. Beneficial.” slogan, because it’s simply not true.

One lady has set out to educate the public on toxins in beauty products and has created her own website called OrganicDivas.com.

Another organization has started a Campaign for Safer Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org, where cosmetic and beauty care companies sign a compact that their products do not contain certain toxic ingredients. They are a coalition working to protect the public health by calling for the elimination of chemicals used in the cosmetics industry linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

They look at several factors when evaluating companies including global compliance with the EU cosmetics directive (strictest standards in the world for cosmetics), fully disclosing all ingredients, have a safe rating in the EWG’s cosmeticsdatabase.com, among other things.

You can download their PDF of campaign signers. Unless you already have eliminated such toxins from you home, it’s unlikely you will recognize many, if any, of these companies. Many of these are small companies who were started by mothers, women and other consumers who wanted safer products and were not able to find them. Some people had medical conditions that were aggravated by traditional skincare products, thus they created their own.

Organic Diva’s Fave Brands

Suki facial cleansers and foundations
UV Natural sunscreens (they have a baby version too)
Zum soaps and lotions
• Afterglow lipstick and blush
• Wee soaps, lotions and sunscreens for babies

Diva’s Dirty Dozen

Here’s a list of synthetic cosmetic ingredients known to cause or strongly suspected of causing cancer, birth defects or endocrine (hormone) disruption, as compiled by nutritionist and author Ann Louise Gittleman for the Organic Diva website.
• Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl paraben
• Imidazolindyl urea
• Diazolindyl urea
• Petrolatum
• Propylene glycol
• PVP/V copolymer
• Sodium lauryl sulfate
• Stearalkonium chloride
• Synthetic colors
• Synthetic fragrances
• Phthalates
• Triethanolamine

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TruKid Sunny Days sunscreen product review 
California Baby sunscreen product review

California Baby Line: Products Review

OK, so I kept running into California Baby in my research and for some reason it was not my first, but second choice in a baby product for my daughter. I saw the products at Target and Whole Foods, and the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database had all products listed as either a 1, 2, or 3. The contain no parabens, phthalates, SLS, synthetic fragrances, and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. They also ensure none of their oils are processed in a facility that also processes nuts. They are very stringent with guidelines and only use the best ingredients.

So, for my first go round, I tried the California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash, which the EWG rated a 1 out of 10, so low hazard. It’s unscented, as in it is not only fragrance-free, but there really is no scent. My sensitive husband likes this. It’s also an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, which I love! And it’s tear-free, which is another great thing!

The Super Sensitive Body Lotion is very soft and smooth. It also does not have a scent.

Now if you want a scented product, California Baby does have several wonderful options. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Calming Shampoo & Body Wash, Hair Conditioner, and Diaper Area Wash. There is a face and body lotion, Diaper Rash Cream, Baby Powder, Massage Oil, Bubble Bath, and Hair Detangler all also in the Calming scent. Did I mention I love this scent? It really is very calming and I wish I could smell like this all the time.

The Non-Burning and Calming Diaper Area Wash is becoming one of my favorite products. My daughter (2.5 years) actually asks for this now. She had a little redness last night so I spritzed this on her and this morning it was fine! I even used it on her lightly skinned knees to help cleans the area.

There are many other products in the California Baby line. I also really loved the California Baby Mineral Sunscreen. Price wise, California Baby is not the cheapest of the safe stuff, but certainly not the most expensive. And the great thing is you can purchase the shampoo and body wash in a larger version as well which will help save a little money!

I give California Baby and A+!

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Aubrey Organics Kids Line: Product Review
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Aubrey Organics Kids Line: Product Review

I picked up some Aubrey Organics Kids shampoo, bath soap (liquid) and lotion at Whole Foods in my quest to replace my Arbonne Baby Line with safer products. Aubrey Organics is free of parabens, phthalates, PEGs, dioxanes and sodium laurel sulfate.  My first place of reference in deciding which products to try was the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database. The Aubrey Organics line was rated a 2 out of 10, considered a low hazard.

I like the scent of the shampoo and body wash and it lathers nicely. In a nutshell, it gets the job done.

I did not like that these products were not tear-free. I also prefer an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, but it was not a big deal.

The lotion was also nice and smooth. You do have to shake well before each use and the scent of the lotion was very strong. My husband cannot tolerate it its so strong. And in my first trimester with baby number two, the smell got to me at times too.

The price was in line with most similar products, about $9 for an 8oz bottle.

All in all, it’s a good product line, but could be better. I give it a B- for not being tear-free or an all-in-one wash and for the strongly scented lotion.

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