Is it just me or is there a new controversy over toxins and skin care everytime I turn the corner!!! Summer is almost here and now I have something new to research and figure out!! What am I going to do to protect my kids from the sun??? With tons of controversy and terminology surrounding sunscreen it is harder then ever to make this decision. To help break it down let’s first look at some of the terminology surrounding this hot topic.
The Difference between Sunscreen and Sunblock
Here is what Kiwi Magazine says about sunscreen and sunblock:
Sunblocks: Are always mineral-based and sit on the surface of the skin—making them very hard to rub in. The active ingredients in sunblocks are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are both natural minerals.
Traditional Sunscreens: Are generally chemical-based and work by absorbing the energy of UV rays before they penetrate your skin.
What Exactly is the Controversy over Sunscreen???
According About.com Pediatrics these are the key points every parent should be aware of before buying sunscreen for their baby.
- The FDA has not updated the rules for sunscreen labels in over 30 years!!! That is so crazy!!! New sunscreen labels have been proposed, and could be released soon. What are they waiting for??? The new rules and labels will make it easier for parents to compare sunscreens and figure out which one suits their family’s needs best.
- New sunscreen ingredients that are approved in Japan and Europe, have not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States. If we got faster approval for these new ingredients we might be able to make better sunscreens for our kids.
- Using sunscreen decreases your child’s ability to make vitamin D. Children can get Vitamin D from other sources such as milk and vitamins, but as a parent you want to make sure your child isn’t be deprived of an important vitamin.
- Vitamin A, also known as retinyl palmitate, an inactive ingredient in many brands of sunscreen, may be linked to tumors and skin lesions.
- Some sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, may penetrate the skin and cause hormone problems. Oxybenzone is known to casue skin irritation.
The biggest concern of parents is the safety of sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.
Are they safe?
It depends on who you ask, and although many experts already think they are safe, more studies are likely being done. Even though these ingredients are present in 40 to 60 percent of sunscreens, there are alternative sunscreens with other ingredients.
Here is what to Look for in Sunscreens and Sunblock According to Family Health and Nutrition
1. Most lotion is a combination of both sunblock and sunscreen, so read the ingredients carefully if you are needing a pure sunblock.
2. Be sure to look for a sunblock or sunscreen that does NOT contain vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, as this may speed up the cancer that sunscreen is used to prevent.
3. Be sure to check the Environmental Working Group’s searchable database of all sunblocks and sunscreens before heading to the store to find the ones safest and most effective for you and your family
Here is the link to The Environmental Working Group’s database on sunblocks and sunscreens
I know it can be confusing with so many differnt articles, journals, and blogs out there about this topic. As a parent of two small children I am going to keep researching so that I can make the healthiest decision for my family. I hope that this was able to shed some light on the subject, and that this blog will be able to help you make an educated decision for your family.