June 26, 2012 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
Dear Doctor Mama,
I’m trying to choose a natural sunscreen for my kids but I’ve heard that even some of the ones in the health food stores aren’t always safe. Are there some ingredients that I should stay away from or are there any brands that you could recommend?
Denise in RI
I come across the same problem every year. My favorite sunscreen, made by Dr. Hauschka, was discontinued a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve been searching for something that’s both safe and effective.
Last year, I went with one that I found at Whole Foods. The brand was recommended by the Environmental Working Group, but I didn’t write down the name of the specific sunscreen that had the high safety rating from the group. Instead, I assumed that any product from that company was o.k.
I coated my kids unknowingly with toxic chemicals for most of the summer.
Since then, I’ve revisited the EWGs Skin Deep database many times to try to find an acceptable sunscreen.
Here’s the lowdown.
AVOID these sunscreen ingredients:
- 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC)
- Benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone)
- 3-benzylidene camphor
- Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC)
- Vitamin A (retinol)
LOOK FOR sunscreens with:
- Mexoryl SX (ecamsule)
- Tinosorb M
- Tinosorb S
Or, if you want to avoid chemicals altogether, choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Here are some of my favorites:
Badger—all of their products get a safety rating of “1” from the EWG, the highest rating the group gives; I like this one best: Badger All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30, Unscented 2.9 oz (87 ml)
- pros: very high sun protection, very water resistant
- cons: greasy! white!
Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin – 4 oz – Lotion
- pros: great sun protection, not greasy or white
- cons: need to reapply often, especially if you spend a lot of time in the water
Thanks for your question. I wrote a more comprehensive article about safer sunscreens, too.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for educational and/or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health or that of a family member, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.
Category: Ask Doctor Mama, Natural Family
| Tags: chemicals in sunscreen, green sunscreen, healthy sunscreen, how to choose a safe sunscreen, non toxic sunscreen, safe sunscreen, sunscreen for kids