Tag Archives | SPF

Top Organic Sunscreens for 2010 & Tips For Purchasing

Please note: In May 2010 the EWG strengthened their safe sunscreen requirements so the top list has now changed in the EWG sunscreen database. To read more on these new recommendations, please read the latest Mommy Footprint article called EWG Sunscreen Guide & Surprising Truths Parents Need To Read.

Drum roll please.  Every year we excitedly wait to see the results for top organic sunscreens recommended by EWG (Environmental Working Group).  I’ve listed the top 5 results below and asked Gwen, owner of Nayla Natural Care to put together some sunscreen tips for Mommy Footprint readers. Her online store is carrying 3 of the top 5 brands recommended by EWG which shows Gwen’s depth for sourcing great products.  Check out the Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30 and the new Thinkbaby and Thinksport SPF 30+.  Nayla Natural Care has kindly offered a prize pack of Badger products to kickoff our series of safer sunscreen (more information on the contest at end of this article).

Top 5 Beach & Sport Sunscreens EWG – Skin Deep

1. Loving Naturals Sunscreen 30+ SPF

2. Heiko Kids 40 SPF

3. Thinkbaby and Thinksport Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 30+

4. Badger Sunscreen SPF 30

5. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+

I link to the online store Nayla frequently because I trust Gwen’s excellent product knowledge and customer service. I’d like to thank Gwen for taking the time to write these awesome sunscreen tips – I learned a lot from her article.  I especially love the handy SPF calculator!

Tips for Purchasing Sunscreen, by Gwen Leron

It is that time of year again, when we all start to look at purchasing sun block/screen for the upcoming sunny days of summer. With all of the products on the market and the abundance of information out there, Suzanne and I thought it would be a great idea to lay out all of the things you need to know before purchasing a sun block/screen for your family.

This is Part 1 of what we have put together and here, we will present the basics on sun block/screen, and the terms you should know.

What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The most common SPF factors are 15, 30 and 45. The SPF tells you approximately how long your sun block/screen will protect you from the sun. For example, if you normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, multiply 10 minutes by the SPF. Therefore, an SPF15 will protect you for 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) before you have to re-apply. It is important not to go exactly by the SPF calculation though. Sweating, clothing rubbing against the skin and water can all reduce the “safe time” so it is always a good idea to re-apply well before the calculated SPF time. A good rule is to apply once every hour.

What is the difference between sunscreen and sun block?

A chemical based sunscreen is known as a chemical block. These types of sunscreens do not leave a white film on the skin and rub in as a regular lotion would. The chemicals in these sunscreens filter sunlight and reduce the ultraviolet penetration to the skin. Chemical sunscreens usually contain chemical preservatives such as parabens to lengthen shelf life. It is a good idea to stay away from chemical ingredients and preservatives because they easily absorb into the skin and can cause a multitude of problems.

A sun block that is not chemical based is known as a physical block. These types of blocks contain an active natural mineral ingredient, either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. After applying, the sun block physically blocks the ultraviolet penetration to the skin and do not use any chemicals to do so. Physical blocks usually leave a whitish tinge to the skin after application and contain natural preservatives that in turn give them a shorter shelf life than their chemical based equivalents. To combat the unappealing look of the “white sunscreen” sitting on the skin, some companies turn to nano-particles in sunscreen, which we will discuss in Part 2.

What is broad spectrum? A sun block/screen is broad spectrum if it protects against Ultraviolet-A (UVA) and Ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. UVA and UVB rays together cause skin cancer, premature aging, sunburn and more, so always be sure that the sun block/screen you choose is labeled broad spectrum.

Note: The sun also emits Ultraviolet-C (UVC) rays but they are of little concern because the majority of UVC rays are filtered by the earth’s ozone layer before it reaches us (a little bit more incentive to protect the environment).

What is the difference between water resistant and waterproof?

Water resistant means that that the sun block/screen will retain its SPF after 40 minutes of any type of moisture exposure. Keep in mind that water exposure also includes sweating.

Waterproof means that the product will retain its SPF after 80 minutes of water exposure.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series. We will dive a bit deeper into the more technical terms that you may come across when trying to decipher sun block/screen ingredients.

If you would like to enter the Badger sunscreen contest, click onto the Nayla Natural Care site, pick your favorite product, then post that product to the Mommy Footprint fan page. The lucky winner will receive a bottle of 2.9oz of Badger SPF 30 sunscreen. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can use our traditional method of entering a contest by using our referral form. This contest is open to all residents in North America and will close on April 17th. This prize package includes 1 Badger SPF 30 sunscreen, Badger SPF 15 lip balm, and Badger Bali Balm after sun care.

badger sunscreen SPF 30+

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Just Arrived – 2008 Safe Sunscreen Report From EWG!

Wow – timing is everything.   We’ve been talking a lot about safe sunscreen for kids at Mommy Footprint and I was tipped off yesterday that The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just updated their database with 2008 best sunscreens.  Their new ranking system is so easy to read and even tells you why a sunscreen is rated poorly with a column called ‘concerns’. Much easier to figure out with one overall score, rather than two separate ones (previously one for chemicals and one for UVA/UVB protection). Just type in your sunscreen brand via the find your sunscreen tab, or select the brand from the ‘select a specific brand’ from the drop-down menu. In the EWG’s sunscreen summary report, they quote that only 15% of 952 products analyzed met their criteria for safety and effective sun protection, blocking both UVA and UVB rays. And an even scarier quote from this page is:

None of market leader Coppertone’s 41 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness, and only 1 of 103 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second- and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG.

Hmmm….again, when I plugged in my Banana Boat Sunscreen, it came up with a rating of 3 and the reason why is because it contains oxybenzone (an ingredient in most sunscreens that is thought to be linked to cancer, developmental /reproductive toxicity, allergies, and more)…but yet I can’t find that ingredient on my Banana Boat packaging! I’m going to call them to figure out if they’ve left it off the list of active ingredients (intentionally) or if they’ve actually removed it as an ingredient from the sunscreen. While I figure out my own sunscreen drama, here are the top 10 sunscreens, as recommended by EWG. Or – you can read the recommended products from popular brands which is also very easy to read.

Top 10 Sunscreens:

1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30 zinc
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/year-Round, SPF 30+
4. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
5. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
6. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
7. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
8. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
9. Vanicream Sunscreen Sport, SPF 35
10. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+

I learned a great tip from the CNN video that featured EWG in a show (great for information regarding oxybenzone if you have 5 minutes).  Do not buy sunscreen and bug repellent combo sprays.  Apparently there is an ingredient in the bug repellent that diminishes how well the sunscreen will work. Well you learn something new everyday!

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