Ahh, summer. The days are longer, the sun is brighter and we’re still “social distancing,” so playing outside seems to be the only thing to do these days. But in addition to protecting your children from Covid-19, protecting them from the sun’s harmful rays is also important. And as if there wasn’t enough to worry about right now, some stories began circulating about certain brands of “baby” sunscreen that were causing some terrifying side effects such as seizures. After seeing the same post (and sharing it myself) from many, many different sites, I began questioning the validity of the original warning, but at that point I took it upon myself to do further research on what I was slathering on my son.
I’ll admit, I should have done my research on this topic a long time ago, but I assumed buying sunscreens labeled “baby, natural, organic, etc” meant I was doing the right thing. I grew up being doused in generic Coppertone Water Babies and I turned out fine? So I’m sure I’m already a step ahead, right? Maybe, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
First thing I learned is there are two main types of sunscreen, Chemical and Mineral (sometimes called physical), and the main difference is how they work to prevent sunburn. Chemical sunscreen (which is not recommended for babies) works by absorbing the sun’s rays, and through the magic of chemistry, creates a chemical reaction to then dissolve the sun’s rays from actually hitting and harming the body. However, there is a good chance that some of the chemical sunscreen is also absorbed into the bloodstream.
Mineral sunscreens, to keep it short and sweet, are different from chemical sunscreens because they sit on top of the skin and deflect the sun’s rays away from the skin. Which, from what I’ve read, is a better, safer option.
So, just pick up a mineral sunscreen and you’re good to go, right? Well, it’s a better option, but there are SO many options it’s still pretty difficult to choose the right one. And, some mineral sunscreens are “safer” than the others due to their list of ingredients.
*I’d like to insert an opinion of my own here. I think if you’re given the option of letting your baby get a sun burn, or putting on some random sunscreen with a not total ideal ingredient list, you’re better off using the sunscreen. But it’s good to be informed and make informed decisions on the behalf of your kids…But, you do you mama.*
So, where do we begin? First of all, EWG (Environmental Working Group) compiled a list of some great options. (< click to see list).
These listed do not have a bunch of the “unsafe” ingredients such as Oybenzone (also known as Benzophenone-3) which according to the EWG can cause allergic skin reactions and is a weak estrogen and has potent anti-androgenic effects. It can seep into the bloodstream and acclimate in the blood, kidneys and liver. It can also damage coral reefs, and Benzophenone (aka Avobenzone) which according to safecosmetics.org and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) can cause Organ System Toxicity and can can cause liver hypertrophy in rats. So, the list linked above is a great start.
From that list, I polled a bunch of followers and the top 2 were:
ThinkBaby – Although a few people said it’s hard to rub onto skin and it has a strange smell. (I actually bought this and returned before using because of these comments)
Badger – a few followers said they love this one, but I haven’t had a chance to try for myself.
In addition to the list above, HMB tried out a few in person and this was our findings!
Earth Baby Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – I’m going to be honest, I love this stuff. It’s organic, free of all the nasty stuff (Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, Benzophenone, Oybenzone, Formaldehyde, Mineral Oil, Propylene glycol, DEA, MEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Triethanolamine, Petrolatum, Lanolin,) and it applies SO EASILY. Rubs in clear and when used with a beauty blender, it’s even better. (Here is a link for some cheap ones I now leave in our beach bag!)
It’s also reef friendly and only fragranced with essential oils plus they donate 1% of all sales to organizations such as the Preface Project and The Folded Flag Foundation, which helps the children of fallen heroes.
Babo Botanicals – This is a great option!All of their sun products are family friendly and they have lotions, sprays and stick options. I love the spray for squirmy toddlers, but the spray does come out white and still requires some rubbing, but not a big deal AT ALL. Their Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray scored a ZERO (which is the best!) rating on Think Dirty, as did their Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen! All of their sunscreens are family friendly so I stocked up on the non-baby ones so I don’t have 15 million different brands in my beach bag. Highly recommend!
The third product we tried was Tubby Todd Mineral Sunstick. There are so many sunscreens on the market, it would have taken me years to try them all, so I wanted to grab one good option in stick form that I could leave in the diaper bag or stroller! This stuff is great too. It goes on smooth but it does need some extra rubbing in. But it works great for little faces and noses! I use it on my own quite often as well! It’s certified organic and also free of all the harmful crap mentioned above.
If you want to give it a try, here is a 10% coupon! Just shop this link.
I hope this post is helpful. The world is weird right now, so don’t stress yourself out over sunscreen. We’re all just doing out best, so slather that babe up and get out in the sun. Oh, and PS, don’t forget to have someone get your back. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.