We all know that the best sunscreen is a broad brimmed hat, protective clothing, sunglasses and shade but realistically, that is not always possible with kids and sometimes they need sunscreen.
If you are a parent looking for a healthy choice sunscreen in Australia, avoiding harsh chemicals whilst providing the best protection, then consider the following.
1. INGREDIENTS MATTER
Young children’s skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergens.
Look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX as the base ingredient. These substances protect skin from harmful UVA radiation and remain on the skin, with little if any penetrating into the body.
Nasties to avoid: oxybenzone, triethanolamine, Vitamin A
If you are concerned about your child reacting to a new sunscreen then test the sunscreen first. Apply a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product.
Lab tests have indicated that nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may create free radicals that cause damage to cellular DNA, particularly in the presence of UV light.
More research is needed. I think this is reason enough to invoke the precautionary principle, and nanoparticles should be proven to be safe before they hit the market.
3.TAKE YOUR OWN SUNSCREEN FOR DAYCARE AND SCHOOL
Some childcare facilities provide sunscreen for the kids, but you can bring your own if you prefer a safer, less toxic brand. Share this article with them and explain your choice of sunscreen.
KIDS HEALTH NATURALLY ‘HEALTHY’ CHOICE SUNSCREEN BRANDS TO CONSIDER
I choose the following sunscreens for my kids for broad spectrum protection with fewer hazardous ingredients.
Cancer Council Sensitive Sunscreen
Grahams SunClear SPF 30+ Natural Sunscreen
Wotnot 30+ SPF Sunscreen
The US-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) has extensively researched chemicals and minerals used in sunscreens, and come up with its 2012 Sunscreen Guide. It favours zinc and titanium products over chemical products and considers the potential risks of nanomaterials are lesser than the known risks of chemical sunscreens.
Choice also have an article on Sunscreens and nanoparticles written on 26th July 2012