I had no idea when I first became a parent of the variety of ingredients in kids sunscreens and how scary some of them could be.
And then one July day when my daughter was 2 she experienced a serious allergic reaction to a conventional sunscreen. Her wee body swelled terribly and turned beet red. Frightening.
Categorized by doctors as a ‘hyper allergic reaction’ it was something I never wanted to experience again.
And so the label-reading and researching began. The sunscreen that caused the reaction turned out to be a chemical stew. Try to find out what your child is allergic to when there are multiple potential culprit ingredients, It included some likely suspects including oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, isobutane, synthetic fragrance and homosalate. Enough to make a new mom cringe and her baby’s skin crawl.
The bottom line is I wish I had known before I slathered my first born in sunscreen that it could be much worse in many ways than what I was trying to guard her against.
Now I choose ONLY mineral-based sunscreens. Not only did my daughter have a reaction to the chemical-based stuff but in all my research I found concerns of endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity and cancer associated with commonly used synthetic sunscreens ingredients. Horrific for any parent to think of.
Only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide cut the mustard now. These minerals create a physical barrier and are not relying on chemical UV absorbers to do the work. As a bonus they do not sting eyes as do the chemical sunscreens and you don’t have to wait any length of time before going in the sun. Once applied, you are good to go.
Although there are MANY fabulous, SAFE sunscreen brands as per the Environmental Working Group, I do have my favourites that have served my extremely sensitive, allergic daughter well over the past few years:
Best For: Super-sensitive-skinned, allergy or eczema-prone kids. No synthetics, no nut or seed ingredients, no fragrance or gluten. Bonus: It’s formulated by a pediatric dermatologist.
Best For: Sensitive and allergy-prone kids who like a little bit of scent. Still safe but yummy, all-natural scent. My allergy-prone daughter is crazy for this stuff now.
Best For: Babies and very fair-skinned wee ones. Best to stay out of the sun of course but if you must, this super-safe, unscented formula offers a great physical barrier.
Good news is that there are lots of great sunscreens. Do you homework here and make sure to choose something super-safe. You will find different brands carried in different areas so best to do your own research on a brand you might be interested in so you feel rest-assured. Happy and safe sun-screening!