Oh, so you heard that Vitamin A, a common sunscreen ingredient seems to actually accelerate the development of skin cancer?
Well, definitely take it with a grain of salt. The whistle-blowers, a lobbying group called the Evironmental Working Group, seem to have based their assertions on the preliminary findings of one study, while there are many other studies that have concluded that the antioxidant is safe.
This article, by a cosmetic producer, takes apart the EWG claims with a studied efficiency. While the author owns a cosmetic company and is obviously vested in the debate, I find her well-supported counter-argument to the EWG article much more convincing!
That said, I’m all about finding effective natural solutions. I figure the fewer chemical cocktails we expose ourselves to, the better - as long as we’re not getting sunburned in the process! I found the EWG’s recommendations for alternatives rather helpful, even if they do stand to make a buck on commissions from Amazon (conflict of interest, much?)!
I stopped using mainstream sunscreens when my daughter got a chemical burn from the Aveeno Baby spf 30 I applied on a sunny day this spring. Now we use the zinc-based lotions, including my ultimate favorite - local to Bend, Angelina Skincare’s Hi Protection Sunshade Lotion (a certain princess in the family loves the sparkly version!).
Despite their propagandist fear-mongering reputation, the Environmental Working Group does have a useful list of sunscreen tips, most of which are hard to argue with.
Whether you decide to go the chemical or mineral sunscreen route, you should always choose a broad spectrum, waterproof/sweatproof formula with an SPF no higher than 50 (you’ll be tempted to stay in the sun longer and reapply less often with higher SPFs).
Of course, everyone agrees about the best and safest kinds of sun protection:
1. Avoidance - stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 4pm, and try to remain in the shade any time you’re out.
2. Barrier protection - hats, long sleeves, etc. are very effective sun protection. Get your kid (and yourself!) a UPF rash guard shirt for swimming this summer and you’ll go a long way in protecting him from major sun exposure. Don’t forget sunglasses! Your eyes are susceptible to sun damage, too.
Lucky for you, I’ve put a collection of sun protection items in my Amazon store for your browsing convenience. Hop on over and do your part in supporting HeyLauraWhat! :)