Baby and Child Sun Sense: Do You Do the EWG?

Sun Sense(1)Parenting is full of moments where just when you think you are doing something right, it turns out you're actually doing it wrong, and sunscreen is one of those things for me. We'd get to the pool and I'd spray the kids down and send them on their way, confident I was doing the right thing as far as sun safety, but it turns out, I wasn't.

Luckily though, there are resources to help out on the sunscreen front, like the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment whose mission is to "empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment". Using breakthrough research and education, they help consumers make smarter and safer choices.

A whopping 80 percent of U.S. sun protection products analyzed by EWG contain harmful ingredients or offer inadequate protection against dangerous ultraviolet radiation -- or both, according to a new shopping guide released by the EWG. EWG scrutinized 1,700 products, including sunscreens, SPF-rated moisturizers and lip balms, to compile this year’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens. The easy-to-use interactive tool highlights the best and worst products and offers a host of tips to help shoppers find better options.

Some contain hazardous chemicals such as the hormone disruptor oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A linked to skin damage. More than 30 products landed in EWG’s 2015 Sunscreen Hall of Shame because of potentially toxic ingredients, inhalation risks from sprays and excessive SPF claims. Neutrogena products raised an unusual number of flags in EWG’s review because of the brand’s egregious marketing. It markets itself as the “#1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand.” Yet EWG has given most of the Neutrogena’s products it analyzed a failing grade.

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According to the analysis, Neutrogena sells questionable “wet skin” aerosol sprays and products with SPF values as high as 110. That’s more than double the maximum recommended value by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which calls SPF values greater than 50+ “inherently misleading.” Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia do not allow ultra-high SPFs. Studies have shown that people are misled by label claims about sun protection and that, as a result, those who use higher SPF sunscreens are more likely to stay out in the sun longer and more likely to burn. EWG also found that Neutrogena’s allegedly hypoallergenic “pure & free baby” sunscreen lotion actually contains a potent skin allergen, the preservative methylisothiazolinone.

Only 21 percent of the 1,000 sunscreens analyzed for EWG’s guide scored high marks. The full list can be found here. Roughly 19 percent of moisturizers and 21 percent of lip balms scored well. EWG estimates that half of the products in this year’s guide could not be sold in Europe because of the European Commission’s stricter rules on SPF values and UVA protection. Other products in EWG’s Hall of Shame include Banana Boat, Coppertone and CVS.

Today I want to highlight a great brand carried by Mamatoga favorite, The Bundle Store, Goddess Garden. For example, their Goddess Garden Baby Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 gets a score of 1 (the best score) from the EWG. I chatted with Amber about the brand and the Goddess Garden products she carries, they are all non-nano mineral physical sunscreens (vs chemical sunscreens), and they are sheer and blend well and are non oily. In the shop she carries:

  • the above mentioned Baby Sunscreen which is very simple with organic ingredients, the active ingredient being zinc, with no fragrance and extremely gentle on sensitive skin and is 40 minutes water resistant
  • the Kids Sunscreen also contains simple organic ingredients, zinc and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients and is also 40 minutes water resistant
  • the Kids Sport is just like the above Kids Sunscreen but is 80 minutes water resistant and is available in both tube and continuous spray. (***There is some concern by experts that spray sunscreens have a possibility that people might accidentally breathe in the ingredients, a risk that’s greatest in children, who—as any parent knows—are more likely to squirm around when they’re being sprayed)
  • Facial Sunscreen, with very simple, organic ingredients, active ingredient is zinc. 40 minutes water resistant

All of the above products will also be available at Amber's exclusive The Bundle Store Trunk Show at the upcoming Mamatoga Supper Club at McGregor Links Country Club with samples to try out!

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Finding the right sunscreen is only half the battle. Limiting your sun exposure and wearing protective clothing (some of my favorite picks here) are more important for preventing skin cancer and premature aging, the analysis says.

EWG’s 2015 guide includes important information on how to read product labels, identify potential hazards and avoid getting burned. Shoppers on the go can download EWG’s Skin Deep mobile barcode scanning app to get ratings and safety information on sunscreens and other cosmetics products right at their fingertips while they're shopping.