Boy this is a hot topic. On one hand you don’t want to get sunburned and on the other you don’t want to take a chemical bath. Never mind the interference with vitamin D absorption. It is really challenging to know what sunscreen is the safest to use, especially on our children. I have come across an excellent resource from the Environmental Working Group which has a EWG 2010 Sunscreen Guide. This is a great resource as you can look up your current sunscreen and see its rating, as well as see the top rated sunscreens. Unfortunately, it is a US based group but many of the products are available here in Canada. One of the top ones available here is Badger Sunscreen SPF 30. Not only does it have an a good rating for UVA and UVB protection but it’s health concern is rated low. One of the worst from their hall of shame is Panama Jack Naturals Baby Sunblock SPF 50. This one actually contains a potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone – in a baby sunscreen!
I also really liked the nine surprising truths about sunscreens. There were things like – too little sun might be harmful and decrease vitamin D levels. Hurray! People are paying attention. It is also debatable whether the usage of sunscreens actually prevent skin cancer. One of the things that I found quite interesting is that sunscreens may actually increase the risk of melanoma, which is the most deadliest form of skin cancer.
Surprisingly, as someone with fair skin I rarely use sunscreen. I prefer to stay in the shade and wear a big hat when I am outside. If I am going to be going to the beach or spending the entire day out gardening I will use some but I don’t do it daily. Sometimes the SPF is deceiving, the high number actually gives you the false sense of security against getting burned. My kids are blessed with a darker complexion then me but we all wear hats and avoid the midday sun.
That all being said I am going to throw out my old “natural sunscreen” which received a lousy rating from the EWG report and go and buy some Badger!