What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Kids Sunscreens…

Summer On The Dock

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:

Dr Robin For Kids SPF 30

969457_574892349222064_137487956_n

 

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.

 

 

Thinkbaby SPF 50 / Thinksport kids SPF 50

SUN_CAT

 

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.

 

 

COOLA Baby SPF 50

Baby_SPF_50_450x530__43787.1335045389.220.220

 

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!

5 Best Family-Friendly ‘After Sun’ Products

Now that summer is finally here and is accompanied by sun drenched days (Yippee!), I amMuskoka chair reminded of the need for after-sun products. My own experience has proved that some of these can be very hard on sensitive skin and that in many cases, conventional after-sun products don’t cut it.

I found out the hard way that conventional ‘after-sun’ was not going to work for us. One day, when I applied one to my young daughter’s skin, she screamed AND cried, ‘Get it off. It’s hurting me’!!

I had assumed the product was safe for her uber-sensitive skin as it was from a ‘natural’ products company.  Apparently, not so.  I checked the label after the screaming subsided, to find after aloe, were listed a few synthetic chemicals.  Clearly not suitable for sensitive-skinned kids. I then researched to find truly soothing products that would not cause us upset when applied.

As I hear so often that many parents identify with my need for only the most gentle of products, I am sharing my new fave, better-than-conventional skin soothers:

Dr. Robin For Kids Daily Moisture

  • Size/Price: 6 oz/177mL $16.00
  • Main Ingredients: Shea Butter, Safflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil
  • Why We Love It: Dr. Robin is a pediatric dermatologist and developed her line of products for sensitive or eczema-prone kids.  She is also a mom of three wee kids. And Dr. Robin’s Daily Moisture works well on winter-weary skin too so if you have some left over at the end of the summer…lucky you!
  • Buy Here or Here

COOLA Body Lotion Bars

  • Size/Price: 2.75 oz./78g $22.00
  • Main Ingredients: Shea Butter, Beeswax, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E
  • Why We Love It: Easy to apply. It is a bar of soothing, hydrating ingredients that you simply pick up like a puck and rub on skin. Older kids can apply themselves.  And we found it difficult to waste product.
  • Buy Here or Here

COOLA Radical Recovery After Sun Lotion

  • Size/Price: 6oz/180 mL $36.00
  • Main Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera Juice and delicious-smelling flower and citrus oils AND many ingredients are organic.
  • Why We Love It: Works so well AND smells so good! It comes in a tube large enough to do for the whole family for the entire summer season.
  • Buy Here or Here

Ella’s Botanicals Magic Balm

  • Size/Price: 62g/2oz $15.00
  • Main Ingredients: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax and delicious-smelling oils of lavendar or tangerine depending which scent suits your fancy….Ella makes two Magic Balms. She says Lavendar is her best-seller but we are partial to Clementine.
  • Why We Love It: Soothes skin sooo well and we love that Ella is a person not just a brand name and a mom herself. Ella is a hometown favourite where I live for moms looking for all natural products for their kids.
  • Buy Here or Here

Consonant Unscented Hydrating Body Lotion

  • Size/Price: 8.5 oz/ 250 mL $22.00 OR 17 oz/ 500mL $42.00
  • Main Ingredients: Organic Aloe, soothing Sunflower Seed Oil and hydrating Coconut Oil.
  • Why We Love It: We love most products by this award-winning Canadian cosmetic company and this product is no exception. Unit for unit Consonant gives great value especially as many of its ingredients are certified organic.  We love that the larger format with a pump makes easy to use on squirming kids.  In fact we find it great for the whole family!
  • Buy Here or Here

I know there are lots of fabulous products I haven’t discovered yet. If you have a favourite , please feel free to share as I would love to hear! I do tend to favour local products as well as products that are standouts in their category no matter where they hail from.

Here’s to Happy Summer Skin!

No More Toxins In My Tub.

safe baby products, natural shampoo, toxic-free cosmeticsIn mid-August, 2012 a huge announcement came from one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world, Johnson & Johnson.  They announced they were phasing out harmful chemicals they use in their iconic Johnson Baby brand as well as their other brands Aveeno and Neutrogena.

Parents were shocked that a trusted cosmetic giant admitted such a dastardly deed.  Formaldehyde in baby shampoo?  Why?

But as parents, what to do with this information? Do we laud them for coming clean when other cosmetic behemoths such as  L’Oreal, Procter and Gamble and Avon have not made such a commitment and continue to use the same harmful chemicals in their formulations?  Or do we stop buying their products in disgust that a baby shampoo company ever stooped so low.

In my case, I was upset enough to get rid of the chemical-laden product in our shower caddy and swap for my well-researched, more natural alternatives.  And I will never go back.

In our case, switching to natural products allowed my daughter’s eczema-prone skin to heal and to be healthy without using topical steroid cream. AND my skin has never felt so healthy and hydrated. Yippee!

I have found benefits of using natural products that I had never imagined. Plant-based products don’t strip the skin of natural oils.  Plant-based moisturizers actually sink into the skin nourishing it vs. petroleum-based products which sit on top of the skin. And none of the ingredients in my natural products have ever been linked to cancer or ill-health.  And as far as I can see when authorities on pollution such as Environmental Defence Canada, tell us to avoid many of the synthetic chemicals I found in conventional body products, I believe that I am not only doing something good for my health but for the environment.  If these chemicals are that toxic, it makes sense to me that sending them down my shower drain may not be good for our waterways either.

So now I am a natural product convert. The Johnson and Johnson admission brought to light for me an issue in an industry and an opportunity to find healthier products for my family.

So now in my shower caddy you will find, my new favourite natural products. No more methylisothiazolinone, formaldehyde, or SLS lurking in my loo. My fave body wash for little kids has become  Dr. Robin For Kids.  My 7 year old and I love Clinical Luxury by Nature’s All Over Soap as it makes your skin and the bathroom smell like a spa.  My hubby’s fave organic cleansers are by Canada’s Consonant. Consonant Organic Body Wash in Citrus Bergamot and the Organic Foaming Face Wash. These are both now essentials in my home.  And my all-time favourite haircare (shampoo, conditioner, detangler) line for wee ones is Original Sprout. I have never seen such a cult-type following for a kids natural line as I have with this one….yet always more to discover! As these are some of my favourite better-for-you-products, you can find them on-line at Sessabel.