Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BQOTD: Sunscreen

The below post was originally posted on July 7, 2010. However, I'm re-posting it because I think it contains some really important info about sunscreen! 

During college, I worked at a rafting company. Over the course of my time there, I started to notice that on days that I applied sunscreen, I actually burnt worse than on days that I forgot to. We're talking hard-core, blistering sunburns while wearing sunscreen.

A few years later, I had insurance coverage that allowed me to see a dermatologist, so I went. And I asked my dermatologist about the sunscreen issue. She told me that I was most likely allergic to one of the chemicals in sunscreen, and getting a chemical burn from it rather than a sunburn. Ouch.

She recommended La Roche Posay's Anthelios Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, which I've been using since to GREAT results (Edited to add-  First of all, this is NOT a sponsored post in any way. Second of all, even though it is only SPF 15 and is technically a lotion rather than a sunscreen, I've not gotten a sunburn since I started wearing it unless I just plain miss a spot). But it's expensive, and I have to order it through the mail. So I was also hoping to identify back-up sunscreens that I could buy in stores in case I'm out.

I headed over to The Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide, and I was really surprised at what I read. Basically, the EWG ranks sunscreen based on UVB protection, UVA protection, UVA/UVB balance, sunscreen stability, and health concerns.

I had no idea that there were so many health concerns related to sunscreen--for example, did you know that many sunscreens (41% in the US) contain Vitamin A? Vitamin A is typically used as an anti-aging agent in night creams, which is fine. However, when coupled with sun exposure, Vitamin A has been shown (by FDA studies) to speed the development of cancerous tumors. Wow. Luckily for you and me, the EWG's guide notes which sunscreens contain Vitamin A.

So I'm curious--what sunscreen are you using, and how does it score from the EWG?


  1. If you see my chid at the pool, he's the one wearing all the clothes :) We've struggled with sunscreen this summer and I just stopped using it on him. He broke out many times with several different kind but the last time, it was so bad, we almost had to take him to the ER. So, for him. We cover him up best as possible for now. I'm hoping he outgrows it but who knows. I have simillar issues as some cause me to break out in a awful rash so I usually use Neutrogenas pure and free for myself.

  2. I use Coppertone Waterbabies spf 50 for me & my son, which rates ok according to the EWG. It seems to me that the only sunscreens on their list that are truly safe are either REALLY expensive or you can only order through the mail.
    Sometimes I use Neutrogena (spf 50 or higher) on my face, too.

  3. I love this post because it's something that I try to spread the word about with family and friends too, but because a lot of people don't even think about what they're slathering on they often think I'm crazy ;) We try to keep our LO as covered as possible or in the shade, but for situations which call for it we use sunblock, babyganics and california baby are good choices. Also something to consider, you want sunblock vs. sunscreen (because one is absorbed by the skin completely, while the other forms a protective layer on top of the skin), and sunblock can block vitamin D absorption, which is an important thing that we all need so I usually try to let myself, and my LO get some limited sun exposure (like 10-15 minutes) before putting on the sunscreen. It's not even close to enough sun to burn, but it is enough to soak up a bit of vitamin D!

  4. I'm all about learning about sunscreen since my German blood took over my Indian blood and I burn every.single.time.

    I've been using aveeno and so far haven't burned with it on. I will be checking out that website!

    Also, your rafting job? was it on the rogue river? we just went with Orange Torpedo Trips and had a blast!

  5. My favorite sunscreen is Aveeno, but it's SO expensive, right now we just have a Coopertone one, I think. They're both rated pretty well! :)

  6. Great topic Mere, I normally go for a local brand. I remember I've read once that Sarah @Sarah Says has done an entire research on this topic. I couldn't find that post but I hope she checks your post and tells us abt it :)


  7. Okay, here's my advice from being cultured by hippies: Every morning before 9am, soak up sun rays (NO sunglasses) for 10-15 minutes. Putter in the garden, sip coffee on the porch, whatever. But make sure your face gets the sun (the area under your eyes is super sensitive to UV light and controls how you tan/burn). Your body (over time) will naturally acclimate and tan without burning. So uh, that's my sunscreen, and I've only gotten pink twice in the 6 months of summer over this year. Probably not helpful, but interesting hopefully :)

  8. I use california baby or neutrogena sensitive skin. I have changed sunscreens since having kids and using the EWG website for research and always look for the sunscreens that have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in them as they are rated better and healthier. They are more expensive, but I would rather pay the extra $ than add more chemicals into my children's bodies.


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