Northern Exposure

Wednesday Walkthrough . . . your beach bag

The recent trend in my Inbox right now is sunscreen. Lots of people are encouraging you to slather it on when you hit the beach or even when you just walk outside. So, let's take a stroll to your beach bag and pull out the lotion that called your name from the store shelves because of its high/low level of SPF, promise of organic matter, colorful and cute (or not-so-cute) label, or price tag.

If you're like me, there's a draw between two main factors: 1) Ingredients 2) Price. I'll buy the product that has the best ingredients with the most reasonable price tag. But what's really important when it comes to buying sunscreen?

According to the Enviornmental Working Group's 2009 Sunscreen Guide, just because the label promises a waterproof lotion with a high SPF rating, doesn't guarantee that it's the best sunscreen for you. The FDA standards that the sunscreen industry is abiding by are 31 years old. And even those out-of-date standards are not necessarily being followed by all companies. Your best bet for buying sunscreen is to follow the EWG's guide that tested hundreds of sunscreens, moisturizers and lip balms for actual-SPF-protection and ingredient toxicity. Here's their top 10 list:

1. Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30+
2. Badger Sunscreen SPF 30
3. Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stuff, SPF 30
4. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
5. Mexitan Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
7. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Frangrance, SPF 30+ (I've found this at Target!)
8. MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28
9. Little Forest Sunscreen Lotion for Babies and Kids, SPF 30+
10. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+

A couple of other thoughts before you slather your sunscreen on:

1. Why aren't babies under the age of six months allowed to wear sunscreen? There were so many things that I was told not to do/consume during pregnancy and nursing that I previously had had no idea could be potentially harmful to my growing baby. It got me thinking. . .if I shouldn't be doing this when I'm pregnant, should I ever be doing it? This thought still haunts me now and then.

2. A friend of mine has been fighting skin cancer. One of the first things her doctor told her when she was diagnosed, "Stop using sunscreen." Ironic, huh?

3. Large brimmed hats and oversized sunglasses are really popular right now, and rash gaurds for babies are in abundance. So, it's stylish to shade your skin. That's easy enough.

4. One thing you can inject (or rub on topically) is coconut oil. And the research says it not only moisturizes, but it prevents premature aging.

5. A tan is your skin's natural form of protection against the sun.

My personal sunscreen habits fluctuate around a few key principles:

1. Stay in the shade/wear a big hat and long sleeves as much as possible.

2. When I know I'll be in the sun for a long time (i.e. when I have been in this situation before and burned my skin), I'll grab an EWG-approved sunscreen and double it with a big hat.

3. Start the sunny season with short sessions in the sun to build a tan and naturally shield my skin from harmful UV's.

What have you learned about sunscreen that left you feeling more exposed than protected?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another note to sunscreen is that it is oily and if gotten in the eyes, washing it out with water won't cut. It is a grease. So keep very far from the eyes. :) Mom U