Check This List to See If Your Sunscreen Is Toxic For Kids

by Dagmar Bleasdale on June 14, 2011

Brooke Burke — the famous TV personality, model, blogger, and mom of 4 — has been speaking out about her struggle with melasma on TV and on her blog many times.

I’m not famous, but Brooke and I have something in common besides motherhood and blogging — I also have melasma. In my twenties, I noticed unsightly brown patches on my cheeks, upper lip, and forehead after a vacation. I usually don’t like lying in the sun, but on that particular vacation I had made a point to get a nice tan. I ended up looking like I had a mustache.

My dermatologist told me that it would take a long time to get rid of this darkened skin and said that I can’t go into the sun anymore. I was stunned — how was I going to do that? I was living in Los Angeles!

It took about a year of wearing sunscreen every day and diligently avoiding sun exposure on my face for the melasma spots to almost disappear. Melasma is also called “the mask of pregnancy” because pregnancy hormones often cause this condition, and I was particularly careful to avoid more sun exposure while I was pregnant.

If I know I’m in direct sunlight for more than five minutes, I plan to have a baseball cap or a hat with me. Sometimes it must look like I’m trying to make a spectacle out of myself — why is she wearing a big sun hat at her son’s soccer game, who does she think she is? — but I don’t have a choice.

Sunscreen breaks down after a few hours, and since I don’t have time to reapply sunscreen and my makeup in the middle of the day, keeping my face away from powerful sun rays is the only thing to prevent dark melasma patches.

So I know to stay out of the sun and have been rewarded with skin that doesn’t have wrinkles, yet. What I didn’t know was that a lot of sunscreens are full of toxic chemicals.

Last year I learned about the The Environmental Working Group, who releases a yearly sunscreen guide. They just released their Sunscreen Guide.

They test all the sunscreen on the market and list in detail which toxins they found in them, what those toxins can cause, and rate them — rating 1 is the best one/ least toxic.

So for example, a sunscreen that’s available in almost every supermarket and drug store, the Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50, contains two chemicals that don’t belong on a baby’s skin — the hormone disruptor oxybenzone and a form vitamin A called retinyl palmitate.

A recent federal government study shows retinyl palmitate may speed up the growth of skin tumors. And the actual UVA protection factor for this sunscreen is less than 10 — not 50! Sunscreen makers get away with making such exaggerated claims because the industry is unregulated.

I have been using the guide to choose safer sunscreens for my family and immediately added a link to the guide to my Healthy Living page where I list resources that I wish every parent knew about.

After looking up the sunscreens we were already using and finding they had ratings of 5 and above, I threw them out and started over.

I looked up the best option for sunscreen I can wear under makeup, and I have been wearing Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock, SPF 30 ever since, and for my son I like Episencial Sunny Sunscreen, SPF 35.

Please make a point to look up your sunscreen rating and buy safer sunscreen for your family in the future.

If you’d like more information about sunscreens, also check out one of my favorite resources,

{photo credit Pinterest}

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Capability : Mom June 19, 2011 at 6:50 AM

My dermatologist is wonderful and has a great blog. Here is a post about sun protection -


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