The rising temperatures and longer days mean that summer is finally upon us. And so are all the outdoor celebrations! With summer comes poolside barbecues and long hours in the sun, potentially leading to harmful skin damage and accelerated aging. We all know the importance of protecting our skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays during the heat of the summer, but sometimes the products we choose can be just as damaging as the rays themselves, especially for our children!
Traditional sunscreens are made from a cocktail of chemicals that are easily absorbed into the body’s largest organ, the skin. These products are full of parabens, fragrances, phthalates and usually come in an aerosol cans, which, according to Scientific American, omit volatile organic compounds, contributing to asthma-inducing smog. There is also increasing evidence that the commonly used chemical, oxybenzone, may act like estrogen in the body, causing potential disruptions in hormone activity. Many sunscreens also contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that actually increases the risk of certain skin cancers.
The alternative to these potentially hazardous products is mineral sunscreen, which has risen in popularity and production by 34% in the last 10 years. Mineral sunscreen uses zinc and natural titanium that reflect the sun’s rays like a mirror. Just like reading a food label, look for products with fewer ingredients that contain no parabens or fragrance. Mineral sunscreens are also made from natural ingredients, making them better for the environment as well.
Each year, the Environmental Working Group puts out its guide for nontoxic sunscreen with evidenced based recommendations for the best way to protect your family from the sun! Check out this list for the best sport sunblock and the best and worst choices for your kids!