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.
The toughest product to truly understand and learn about from a safety and organic standpoint has been sunscreen. I recently noticed that two of the top sunscreens rated for safety and UV protection from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) market themselves for being so effective because they do or don’t contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the core active ingredient. Confused? To give you an example, the #1 rated Soleo Organics sunscreen has in bold letters on the box NO titanium dioxide. The only active ingredient listed on the back of Soleo is Zinc Oxide with 22.3% concentrate. The also very highly ranked (via EWG) California Baby sunscreen has only one ingredient listed within its active ingredients ~ titanium dioxide. Isn’t this the same ingredient that Soleo proudly boasts about not using ~ yet both are ranked super high?
Since parents are so ingredient savvy these days, I’m sure the watchdogs at Environmental Working Group have received questions on this interesting debate regarding which active ingredients to look for when choosing a safe sunscreen for your family. They are doing their best to clear up some of the confusion starting with a 6 part series (the first was published Monday July 27th called About Those Mineral Sunscreens) in an effort to transfer all product knowledge and make us all sunscreen experts. Lisa Frack is a very smart, informative and well written analyst that is writing for this series. I’ve been a big fan of Lisa’s and she is the perfect person to make this tough subject easier to understand.
The EWG have also posted a very handy 2009 sunscreen report that is 1-page and easy to read. My favorite part of the guide is the condensed listing for ‘best easy-to-find sunscreens’ because we all know sourcing organic sunscreens on the fly is no easy task. Well worth a quick glance and something you can print and carry if purchasing sunscreen in a retail store if you don’t have this information in an electronic form. This has arrived in the knick of time as I’ve finished my bottle of Soleo and California Baby sunscreens and to be honest, I won’t be a repeat customer on the zinc oxide Soleo sunscreen. I cannot justify spending over $30 for a bottle. The 2.8 oz bottle that I paid $32 only lasted my beautiful 4 children 1 week and with the heat wave the West Coast is experiencing, it’s not a practical solution for my family. I don’t think it’s fair that certain brands of sunscreens are targeting safety for families and children and then set their price point that high. I think even paying $15-$20 is high, but is a way more affordable option for families wanting the safety and solid ratings from sunscreens listed within the EWG sunscreen database. Continue Reading →