Is your sunscreen safe? The Scoop on Non-Toxic Sunscreen for Kids

Sunscreen is an absolute must for the summer sun, especially for our little ones.

The general recommendation for all infants is to avoid direct sunlight whenever possible. If they are going to be outside, be sure to utilize other forms of sun protection such as covering their skin with light colored clothing, keeping a broad brimmed hat on them, and seeking shade when available.

Once they hit 6 months however, it is important to keep our tiny treasures coated in sunscreen. But how do you choose a “safe” sunscreen? The options can be overwhelming, so we would like to share some of the basics with you, so that you can choose the sunscreen that is right for your child.

Aside from looking at the SPF value, it is important to pay close attention to the ingredients in sunscreen. Your skin is the largest organ of your body which means whatever we are applying to our skin, gets directly absorbed into our body.

Sunscreen is designed to soak quickly into our skin and stay there.

 Did you know that most of the chemicals in sunscreen can actually be identified in blood and urine samples or even breast milk. Breastfeeding moms should be especially careful to use a non-toxic product on themselves to avoid transferring the chemicals to their baby.

Nearly all sunscreens contain nano-particles of titanium dioxide and zinc.

These materials have been found by the FDA to be harmless for topical use on skin and are said to have a low risk of irritation. However,  Titanium Dioxide and Zinc have in fact been found to be dangerous when inhaled, making the ever so popular spray sunscreens hazardous to small children who are likely to inhale it as it is being applied.

It is important to remember that these nano particles are loosely regulated by the FDA and there are very few restrictions regarding how much of these materials can safely be used in sunscreen. Because these particles are so small, they can cross the barrier from our blood to our brains.

This blood-brain barrier contamination can lead to increased cell oxidation and damage, increasing the possibility of skin cancer and other potential long-term side effects.

In addition, Retinyl Palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight.

The top two chemical offenders are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

These chemicals are found in a wide variety of skin care products and are directly associated with skin irritations and allergies. Octinoxate and Oxybenzone are also known to disrupt and imbalance hormones, even causing endometriosis and reproductive system damage with severe exposure.

What is the safest sunscreen for my family?

As a general rule, we recommend that you stick with sunscreens that are mineral-based, have an SPF of 30-50, and have a higher percent of zinc-oxide. Here are a few of our favorite all natural options:

Think Baby sunscreen 50+SPF is our absolute favorite for baby sun protection. With no Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV chemical absorbers, this is a brand we can definitely stand behind. This formula is non nano and free of parabens, phthalates, PABA and 1,4 dioxane. Think baby gets outstanding reviews and wears comfortably, even on the fussiest baby.

Jersey Kids SPF30 sunscreen is one of the highest rated non-toxic sunscreen we could find. This sunscreen is formulated using non-nano zinc oxide and has petrohemical-free, non-toxic ingredients. Containing No Retinyl Palmintate, no Oxybenzone, no Petrochemicals, and no irritating fragrances.

Elemental Herbs Zinc SPF 33 sunscreen is another top choice for safe sun protection. This product offers UVB Broad Spectrum Protection with 100% GMO free, hypo-allergenic and vegan ingredients. Elemental Herbs Zinc is non-nano and free of parabens.

A great resource to use as your guide when shopping for non-toxic personal care products for your family is The Environmental Working Group. They offer both a comprehensive website and app where you can scan products right from your smart phone, to see the EWG rating before you make your selection.

We encourage you to keep your family’s health in mind when selecting a sunscreen and make a point to learn more about how to eliminate harsh chemicals from your family’s skin care products.

Now grab your sunscreen and hats, and get out there and enjoy all summer has to offer with your family!

Disclaimer: Please note that any information presented in this blog and/or Doulas of Austin materials and website is never intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a properly licensed healthcare professional.