Which sunscreen should I buy for my kids?

Sorry I haven’t contributed to this blog for several years.  My husband and I decided to have a second child before the baby making factory closed for good.  And we were thrilled when C got a baby sister!  Fast forward.  Now that C’s little sister is 2 years old, I’ve started to write again and provide some more helpful tips for traveling families.

It’s summertime (yay!) and parents are wondering which sunscreen to buy for their families.  On May 6, 2019,  a JAMA study showed that using sunscreen the correct way for just one day increased the amount of four chemical sunscreen ingredients (avobenzone, ecamsule, octocrylene, and oxybenzone) in the bloodstream to levels the FDA says triggers the need for more testing, potentially raising concerns.  While the FDA didn’t come out and say that these chemical sunscreens were unsafe, there is evidence that there may be concerning health effects, such as hormone disruption or increasing the risk of cancer.  Needless to say, this means that we need more studies to tell us whether these chemical sunscreens are safe or not.  You can view my interview on King 5’s New Day Northwest recently where I talked about this recent study.  

In the meantime, don’t stop using sunscreen!  Instead, I recommend that parents use a mineral based sunscreen, that is at least SPF 30, and has the main ingredients as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  Mineral based sunscreens are also less irritating for sensitive skin.  Apply it at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming.  If you’re also putting on mosquito repellent, remember to apply the sunblock first, then the mosquito repellent afterwards. Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight.  But if sun exposure is unavoidable, it’s still better to apply sunblock and prevent your baby from getting a painful sunburn. Mineral based sunscreens do give you a white sheen which is probably why chemical sunscreens became so popular.  But personally, I find the white sheen helpful so I know which spots I’ve missed.

Lastly, please remember that the best way to protect against harmful UV rays is to cover up and stay in the shade as much as possible.  Have a wonderful summer!  It always passes way too quickly in the Pacific Northwest!


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