With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, you’ve probably already packed your beach bag in anticipation for a fun few days in the sun. But there is a hidden danger that you need to be aware of this summer.
Sunscreen is burning our kids!
You’ve probably seen stories on social media of babies and children ending up in hospital after contracting 2nd degree burns after a day in the sun. Even after their parents applied sunscreen regularly. Like Jesse Swan’s poor baby Thomas, who was hospitalized for 3 days after suffering horrible burns after she applied Peppa Pig sunscreen.
Or Belle Haven’s son Liam, who was left with 1st and 2nd degree burns after applying 50+ SPF Banana Boat Kid’s Spray Sunscreen sunscreen regularly.
The most important ingredients to look for…
There are two active ingredients that are missing from both the Peppa Pig sunscreen and the Banana Boat Spray: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These are natural minerals that cover the skin and reflect or block a broad spectrum of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Scientists have found that Zinc oxide and Titanium Dioxide are very effective and safe sunblocks. (read the study here). Scientists have also found that there is no absorption of these minerals into deeper layers of the skin, making them safe (read the study here).
So, Check your kid’s sunscreen NOW and look for one of these ingredients in the active ingredients list!
But there is also one dangerous ingredient that you should look out for…
A commonly used active ingredient in sunscreen is Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has been shown to penetrate deep into the bloodstream and acts as a hormone in the body. It can cause allergic skin reactions. Although the studies have not been conclusive, research has linked high concentrations of oxybenzone to health problems such as endometriosis, and low birth weight in newborn girls. (read some research on oxybenzone here).
Other things to watch out for.
Other things to watch out for when choosing sunscreen for your children, are spray sunscreens and sunscreens offering sky-high SPF.
Spray sunscreens pose an inhalation risk. When applying a spray sunscreen, it’s easy to miss a spot, especially on a wriggling child. The FDA has expressed concerns about spray sunscreen but has not banned it yet.
High SPF Sunscreens
Sunscreens with SPF+ above 50 are a concern. SPF refers to a sunscreen’s ability to protect from UVB rays, but not UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause damage. So, sunscreens with high SPF may reduce redness however, they raise the risk of other types of sun damage. They also encourage people to stay in the sun for longer periods of time without re-application.
So, what are the safest sunscreens?
EWG releases a yearly list of the safest and the most dangerous sunscreens for both children and adults. They look for things like the active ingredients as well as whether it’s a spray or if it’s SPF is too high. You can read a list of their safest sunscreens for 2017 here. And their most dangerous sunscreens for 2017 here.
I hope this article keeps you a little safer this memorial weekend, and all summer! Let me know in the comments if you have ever experienced an issue with sunscreen, or any other sunscreen-related advice you have!
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