fun in the sun

Since summer is finally here (yay!), I wanted to share some tips and products to help keep kids safe while they enjoy fun in the sun.  Naturally, I started the list with sun safety.  I learned so much surprising information about sunscreen, what’s in it and what to avoid, that I decided it deserved its own post.  I knew sunscreen was pretty much a bunch of chemicals, but I never really put much thought into what those chemicals could be doing to my child’s skin and her body!  Did you?

By now, I am sure you know that you don’t have to be at the beach or on vacation to get too much sun.  Properly protecting your child’s skin (and yours) from harmful UV rays can lower the risk of developing skin cancer in the future.  Although the Food and Drug Administration has issued new labeling rules for sunscreens, there is still a lot that the FDA is not requiring manufacturers to tell us.

The Environmental Working Group recently released a 2013 Guide To Sunscreens.  Below are a few things that I didn’t know about sunscreen and you might not either:

  • Although sprays have become quite popular, they emit particles that could be harmful to breathe in.  Creams are a better option.
  • Avoid brands that contain retinyl palmitate, retinol also known as vitamin A.  Studies have shown that applying vitamin A to the skin has been shown to accelerate the development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin.
  • Would you give your kid estrogen?  If the answer is no, then you should avoid products that contain the active ingredient oxybenzone.  Once it penetrates the skin, it acts like estrogen in the body.  It can also cause an allergic reaction.
  • Choose fragrance-free sunscreens to reduce exposure additional chemicals and potential allergens.
  • Pass on products that combine bug repellent with SPF.  Most of the time, sunscreen needs to be applied more frequently than bug repellent.  Buy them separately and apply the bug repellent before you apply sunscreen.
  • Choose sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50+.  SPF’s higher than 50+ do not guarantee additional protection.  And remember, a higher SPF does not mean that sunscreen should be applied less often.
  • Make sure your brand offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
  • It’s best that infants less than 6 months old stay out of the sun and applying sunscreen should be avoided.  However, a small amount of sunscreen can be used if sun exposure cannot be avoided.

Now for a few things you may already know about sun safety but still bear repeating:

  • The sun’s rays are strongest at midday between about 10am and 2pm.  Try to schedule play for early morning or late afternoon.  If you must head out during peak hours, make sure kids play in the shade, wear a hat, shades, loose long sleeves and apply plenty of sunscreen.
  • Remember to apply sunscreen generously and reapply it often, especially if the kids are playing in water, sweating a lot or outdoors for a long period of time.

Not sure how your sunscreen measures up?  Type in your brand of sunscreen and see.  I checked my brand and it failed miserably.  Here are a few brands recommended for kids:

1.   Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
2.   BurnOut SPF 30 Kids Physical Sunscreen
3.   Elements Herbs Kids Sunscreen SPF 30
4.   Kiss My Face Mineral Sunscreen for Kids SPF 30
5.   Sunology Natural Sunscreen Creme for Kids SPF 50
6.   Sunumbra Sunkids Natural Sunscreen SPF 40
7.   thinksport Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+
8.   Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Lotion SPF 50
9.   Absolutely Natural KIDS Sunscreen SPF 30
10. Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunblock SPF 30

Be sure to check the complete list for other brands that meet the criteria above for you as well as additional brands for kids.

Got any other sun safety tips?

Follow me on twitter @herlifeinspired

6 comments on “Best Sunscreens for Kids”

  1. This is super helpful! I was just researching sunscreens but stopped because there was so much conflicting information. Thanks for boiling it down. Glad I found your post through SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  2. This is super helpful! I was just researching sunscreens but stopped because there was so much conflicting information. Thanks for boiling it down. Glad I found your post through SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *