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