Okay guys – we’ve got this! The confusion seems to grow every year with how to pick a safe, mineral based sunscreen for your family. I’ve realized it’s easier to explain what ingredients you want IN the sunscreen rather than explain which ones you don’t want in the sunscreen. I could tell you for another year to avoid oxybenzone, Vitamin A (called retinyl palmitate or retinol) and all these ingredients you can’t pronounce but instead it’s going to get really easy. If you want the safest sunscreen (in my opinion) look for one ingredient in the active ingredient list: Zinc Oxide. What does that mean? You’ll get the whitish tinge to your skin but for me, I don’t mind this trade-off because having only Zinc Oxide listed in the active ingredients mean that UVA/B rays are effectively blocked at the skin’s surface.
With the explosion in so many new mineral (organic) based sunscreens on the market, there are actually very few that only have the Zinc Oxide as the only active ingredient. That is why this little tip is going to save you hours of time and research. Do you have a fussy teen or husband that doesn’t like the whitened look of Zinc? Hold tight there is a solution for them too!
So for little kids, in order of importance for sun care the preference would be to cover up – stay in the shade and wear protective clothing to block UVA/B rays. This was pretty effective when my kids were younger but now we spend our days at pools, water slides and my oldest is going to camp and all of my kids are refusing to wear sun shirts this year. My girls want to show off their bathing suits and my sons are self conscience of wearing sun shirts this year. So while this was a great form of defense against the sun in previous years, this year it’s not working. Thankfully for this summer, they are so happy to not have to wear the protective clothing, they aren’t complaining about the whitening sunscreen they’ve been wearing. I use Badger sunscreen. But I can see the whitening issue becoming a problem with my pre-teen next summer so I’m sensitive to this problem if you’ve got family members that don’t like the look of only having a zinc based sunscreen. Your loophole around this is using a sunscreen that has both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in the active ingredients. The Titanium Dioxide mineral soaks through the skin to deliver sun protection for UVA/B rays through the skin (not all UVA rays unless Zinc Oxide is also an ingredient). It’s important to mention you need both the Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals because Titanium on it’s own won’t block all UVA/B rays. But this is a good alternative for anyone who still wants solid sun protection, without the whitened look on the skin.
So this is easier right? And for me, I just like what Badger does with education and transparency. They also re-formulated and produced non-nano sunscreens last year so they get my vote. Check out My Little Green Shop if you need sunscreen to finish up this hot summer! They always have great shipping deals & are a trusted sponsor of Mommy Footprint.