Rethinking Sunscreen

Sometimes I think it would be easier if parasols and bonnets were all the rage instead of nicely tanned skin!

I am a freckled redhead who burns easily. Two of my children also have red hair, and my baby burns in the shade. My mom recently had skin cancers removed from her face and an acquaintance of mine died earlier this year at the age of 36 from melanoma. It’s safe to say that sunscreen is on my mind.

A couple years ago, I didn’t really think about sunscreen beyond knowing that I needed to use it. Using my Extra Care Bucks from CVS or Register Rewards from Walgreens, I bought, and used, whatever I could get for free.

Then I started hearing about the harmful chemicals in sunscreen. I learned that there has been an increase in melanoma in sunscreen users and that vitamin A in sunscreen might speed the development of cancer! Scary stuff – especially to me – a person who has used sunscreen religiously as an adult after burning the crap out of my skin as a teenager.

Last year my solution to the problem was to buy big hats and rash guards for all of my children. I avoided sunscreen altogether. We stayed in the shade and none of my kiddos got a sunburn.

This year, I had to find a sunscreen because my baby is burning in the shade and won’t keep on her hat. Using EWG’s list here and talking with friends who are conscientious about sunscreen, I decided on two different sunscreens. I bought Blue Lizard Baby and Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby. We’re still wearing rash guards and hats, and staying in the shade as much as possible. But I feel better now because my baby is better protected and the sunscreen is supposedly a lot safer than the other varieties I used to get for free.

I also stopped using a moisturizer with sunscreen on my own face. Next, I need to get a rash guard for myself. It’s important to protect my kids, but I also need to think about me!

What do you do about sunscreen? Do you recommend a particular brand? I’d love to hear! How do you balance the desire for a “healthy” tan with the information that tanned skin is damaged skin?

For more information on sunscreen, visit Healthy Child, Healthy World and EWG’s 2011 Sunscreen Guide.

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday at Spain in Iowa.

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Comments

  1. My hubby was just reading an article on sunscreens and which ones to watch out for. We ended up having one bad and one good in our supply, we also had to toss out three others that were beyond their expiration date. Oops! :)
  2. I totally agree. I have been totally rethinking sunscreen as well. Read all the info from EWG and was shocked to see that sunscreens such as Aveeno Baby were rated high! I just ordered some called Mexitan. It has a low rating. It is expensive but well worth it to avoid the extra chemicals.

    Thanks for linking up to the Frugal Tuesday Tip.
  3. My children are light skinned with red hair while I'm a Cajun by birth with dark skin. I don't wear sunscreen at all, but I try to stay in the shade if I'm going to be in the sun all day. My boys though, they need sunscreen. My oldest son has been working lifeguard at camp this week and I bought him some clear zinc for his face and a long sleeved, turtle neck swim shirt (think wet suit). I only went to drastic because he is in the pool from 8am till 4pm.
  4. thanks to the list, I just ordered the summer sampler from Purple Prarie. They also have a bug spray and all of their products are listed a 1 and under!

    I too use a parasol, so I was thrilled to see I am not the only one with the same wishes... if more people were like me, it would realy reduce the awkward stares I get for having one...
  5. Michelle, neither one of them like to wear the swim shirt, and I understand. They are 13 & 11, so they want to be like their dark skinned friends and swim without it. But they know the pain of a bad sunburn from unprotected skin areas.

    One of those things that I wish they didn't have to suffer with, but genetics are genetics LOL
  6. Thanks for stopping by my site!! I completely understand. I wanted to suggest oil for use as a moisturizer. I got some Argan Oil from a friend who lives in Morocco. It is certainly expensive (but worth it) but there are other good oils that are easier to obtain. Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Grapeseed Oil, hemp oil, even olive oil is good for the body. I don't know if I would use olive oil on my face though because it is heavy.
    I have been using oils exclusively on my face and body since last year with great results. I also use them with my kids, and it works really well on simple dry patches.

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