It’s the first really hot, sunny day here. I am unpacking and Joe is taking the kids out for fun. Having suffered one too many bad sunburns in my day, and knowing that most skin cancers are related to sun exposure, protecting my practically see-through kids has moved to the top of the list of my worries. So I just spent 1/2 an hour slathering my kids from head to toe with sunscreen.
I try to use sunscreens without oxybenzone, a chemical that may disrupt hormones. We also try to avoid vitamin A, retinol or its derivatives, such as retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate because they may not only increase sun sensitivity (not so great for a sunscreen) but also may be harmful. The research is not totally clear so I err on the side of caution.
After trying almost a dozen other more natural brands like Kinesys, Badger, and California Baby, and All Terrain, last year my husband found Devita Solar Body Block SPF 30+, which is the best we have ever come across. It is easy to apply, non-greasy, and lasts a long time. It generally runs about $20 per 7 oz. tube but if you look around, you might get a deal.
We have also used Vanicream SPF 30, which was recommended by a good friend of mine a few years back, who learned about it when she worked with immune-compromised patients some years ago. It is also really effective but is stickier than the Devita and turns you white. It costs about the same.
What are the 2013 rules about sunscreen? The New York Times has this to say.
The Environmental Working Group, which seems to have the most objective information that I can find, just posted their current information here. Their mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so they can make better choices.
A big mess of special interests, including medical professionals, sunscreen manufacturers, and hippy non-profits like EWG weigh in on this topic. If you sort it out better than we have, please let me know!