>> Thursday, June 10, 2010
This past weekend, we headed down to Wilmington for some fun times on one of North Carolina's beautiful beaches. As soon as we got there, we dutifully slathered our boys with sunscreen - I had bought a couple bottles of Nature's Gate Mineral Kidsblock because it was on sale at Whole Foods and scores a 3 with the EWG.
Admittedly, we were on the beach for about four hours and forgot to reapply after two hours, but still...Nature's Gate Mineral Kidsblock is total crap. It's so thick that it's hard to spread and even feels a little crumbly the more you rub it. It doesn't soak into the skin, which might be good since it contains nanoparticles (like all mineral sunscreens) but leaves you looking like a chalky ghost. (Yes, my vanity is at play here, but who wants to look ridiculous when at the beach?) When you get into the water, the sunscreen just rinses right off (yay, $8 washed out into the ocean!). And to top it off, my kids went home with one of those sunburns that doesn't rear it's ugly head until hours after you're out of the sun and then gets progressively worse and worse until it hurts to move.
Back to the sunscreen drawing board...
The Environmental Working Group came out with its 2010 Sunscreen Guide a month or two ago, so I spent an hour last night reading every bit of it. Here's what I learned:
- There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and mineral. The most common ingredient in chemical sunscreens is oxybenzone, which is potentially a hormone disrupter. Mineral sunscreens contain nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but the EWG has determined that these are safer than the alternative.
- Some sunscreens contain Vitamin A, and this may be causing tumors and lesions.
- Pale white folk like myself and two of my boys should look for a high SPF and slather it on (which I knew) but an SPF higher than 50 is bogus.
- It's better to use a cream sunscreen than a spray because you could end up inhaling things you don't want to. I know it's easier to apply a spray to an antsy child, but I personally have always preferred creams because I can tell where I'm applying and if I'm putting enough on (though that's moot if I forget to reapply like I did last weekend!).
A couple contenders:
- Badger SPF 30 unscented sunscreen
- California Baby Sunscreen SPF 30
- Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35
- Loving Naturals SPF 30
The Nature's Gate sunscreen cost me $8 for 4 oz. on sale. Of the options listed above, the cheapest is the Episencial at $15 for a 4 oz., and the prices go way up from there. Considering that we go through an entire bottle of sunscreen every time we go swimming, that's a big deal. I'm wondering if it would be more cost effective to buy all of them sunshirts so we would need to apply less sunscreen. Or maybe just make them wear t-shirts.