Skincare companies are allowed to claim that a sunscreen is “gentle” even though it’s full of toxins, and even I, who is adamant about only buying safe sunscreens, recently got duped into buying a sunscreen with toxic ingredients.
I bought Noodles & Boo’s Play-Day SPF-30 sunscreen because I had a certificate for their store. I like to stock up on quality sunscreen products, so that seemed the most practical way to use the money.
Noodle & Boo® markets itself as “the premier leader in luxury maternity and baby skin care” and their “products are made with the finest ingredients, and are safe and gentle enough to be used on newborns.” Their sunscreen sells at a premium price; 4.5 ounces for $18.
That description makes it sound like you’re getting organic or all-natural and non-toxic ingredients. Instead, this is the ingredient list on the back of Noodle & Boo’s sunscreen:
- Octinoxate 7.5% (hormone-like activity; reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies)
- Octocrylene 7.5% (found in mothers’ milk; skin penetration in lab studies; relatively high rates of skin allergy)
- Oxybenzone 6% (acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals; associated with endometriosis in women)
- Octisalate 5% (skin penetration in lab studies; stabilizes avobenzone)
There is nothing “safe” about Noodle & Boo’s sunscreen, and I’m not putting it on myself or my child.
The Environmental Working Group notes that octinoxate, for example, may lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity as it easily penetrates skin, and gives is a hazard rating of 8, 10 being the worst. For now, experts recommend that children and pregnant women steer clear. EWG also recommends that consumers avoid oxybenzone because it can cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones.
Shame on Noodle & Boo to dupe customers into thinking they are getting a safe products by upping the price, writing “gentle” and “nurtures” on the box, and selling this junk that is harmful to our children.
4 Tips For Buying Safe Sunscreens for Your Family:
1: Buy sunscreen with only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. Zinc and titanium are non-toxic minerals that sit on top of skin instead of going into it, providing safer sunscreening.
3: Check out this EWG list of sunscreens you should avoid:
- No Spray Sunscreens
- No Super-High SPFs
- No Oxybenzone
- No Loose Powder Sunscreens
4: Avoid retinyl palmitate, a known human reproductive toxicant. Studies have suggested a possible skin cancer link in high doses.
3 Safe Sunscreens I Use
- Keys Solar Rx: I wear this every day under my makeup. It’s also a great sunscreen for pets but not enough for the beach or sports. This is not on the EWG list anymore, but I started using it years ago because EWG gave it a rating of 1, and it works great under makeup. This is hard to find and buying it directly from Keys is the least expensive.
- Banana Boat Kids Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion: our everyday sunscreen for the body (rated as 3). It’s the only zinc oxide sunscreen I’ve found readily available at Target, CVS, and other retailers. If you can’t afford expensive sunscreens, this is a good choice. Look for Banana Boat coupons in your paper.
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick, SPF 50: this is the only Aveeno sunscreen that got the okay from EWG, with a rating of 2. It’s a great little beach and sports sunscreen stick, and I have an extra one of these in the car so I can reapply sunscreen to L’s face, ears, arms and legs when needed. Even better are BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Pure Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50 and All Terrain KidSport Face Stick, SPF 28 with a rating of 1, but both are harder to find.
Sunscreen enters our skin, so it’s crucial to buy high-quality products that are safe. The safer sunscreens are often not easily available in stores, but it’s worth it to find and buy them online.
If we can’t rely on skincare companies being honest or the FDA protecting us by having tougher guidelines about toxic ingredients, it’s up to us to educate ourselves.
EWG and HealthyChild.org are my favorite resources for up-to-date, reliable information about making informed, healthy choices for my family.
Wishing you a fun and safe summer!