It isn't easy being green - especially when you're urban and love Thai take out. But I'm sure gonna try.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Favorite Sunscreens

It's pretty hard to test out sunscreen when it rains every day. We have literally had two sunny, almost warm days, since my last post. Still, in those two days, we slathered on a bunch of different products so that we could test them out.

As I mentioned earlier, I look for sunscreens that are all natural, are rated "1" by Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Safety Database (10 being the worst), and don't contain nano particles.

The online store, has a fabulous sunscreen chart that is customizable to your preferences, and I used it to make this year's selections. Bodysense carries a wide range of suncare products, their customer service is wonderful, but there are no deals to be had. A few products were available at Amazon and Vitacost for less, and I saved between $2.00 to $10.00 per product.

Here's what we've tested so far:

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick SPF 30 ($12.00): My kids really like this fruity smelling face stick. It goes on almost clear (with the most subtle yellowish tint), and leaves no white tracks. I tested it on my arm and personally found that it left a slightly tacky feel, but my kids preferred it to slathering on cream. It's not waterproof, so it's not ideal for the beach or pool, but it's great for playing outside and is small enough to carry around in your purse.

Devita Solar Body Block ($27.95):
Devita is my all time favorite sunscreen brand for grown-ups. I discovered the facial moisturizer (below) three years ago and have used it religiously since. The products look and feel more like cosmetics brands than sun products, and they are not waterproof. While the price is steep, this product goes on perfectly: greaseless, clear and light. You can find the Body Block online for almost $10 less at Vitacost and Amazon.

Devita Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 ($25.95): If you're going to make one splurge this summer, make it this. As I mentioned, Devita makes my all-time favorite facial moisturizer, and it is perfect for year-round use. The lotion goes on lightweight, clear, and doesn't aggravate my acne-prone skin. In fact, once applied, you'd never even know you're wearing sunscreen. Vitacost and Amazon sell it for almost $10.00 less than retail, and a little goes a long way.

ECO Logical Skin Care: ECO Body All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($16.99): While it initially goes on thick and requires a little arm muscle to rub in, this waterproof, virtually scentless sunscreen leaves only the slightest hint of white. Once applied, your skin feels smooth with little to no greasy residue. Because the product is thick and creamy, it feels substantial, too. The tube size, however, is a bit deceiving. There's far less product than it appears. Overall, if you don't mind a little extra rubbing, this is a great sunscreen for the pool and the beach.

Goddess Garden Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 ($15.95): Goddess Garden Baby has such a lovely, light consistency that it's hard to believe it's SPF 30 and waterproof. My girls adore this product claiming the consistency is like body lotion. The tube size is deceiving, and I'm guessing it will run out quickly. I worry a bit that the thin consistency might make it easy to miss spots -- something to look out for. Still, this is the product my girls are requesting, which is pretty amazing considering they normally take off and hide the second I mention sunscreen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunscreen Confusion

"So, what are you going to do about sunscreen this summer?" a friend asked me this past week at preschool. I was a bit confused, so I asked her to elaborate.

She told me she that with all the information about the bad chemicals in sunscreens, some other parents mentioned they were not going to use it at all.

"What about the natural kind?" I asked. "With Zinc..."

She told me she heard those were bad, too. She was genuinely perplexed.

I shuddered for a moment imagining all these little kids with bright red skin. It could be a scene out of an old Chevy Chase movie except getting burnt like that just isn't funny anymore.

Sunscreen and sun safety has become so confusing. The Environmental Working Group has published a collection of disconcerting articles about the FDA's failure to regulate effective and safe sunscreens. Skin cancers continue to rise despite Americans using more and more sunscreen. Natural sunscreens often contain nanoparticles (teeny, tiny, pulverized bits of titanium and zinc) which are so small that some fear they can actually be absorbed into our cells and damage our DNA. Some alternative medicine folks are proposing we ditch sunscreens because surely our lack of vitamin D is also contributing to the rise in cancers.

UGH! I have a headache just trying to process it all!

Here's what I think (and I'm not a doctor, so this is in no way professional or medical advice): If you and your kids are going to be in the sun for long periods of time this summer, you should be wearing sunscreen or UV protective clothing.

Personally, I only buy natural sunscreens. I won't even let my kids use the chemical kind once in a while with friends - especially not sprays. (I know, I know, they're easy, but then your kids aren't just getting the chemicals on their skin, they are inhaling them, too.) I also do my best to avoid those that contain nanoparticles. There is a lot of research out there that states nanoparticles are totally safe in sunscreen. For me, though, the technology breaks the simplicity rule.

I've been trying various natural sunscreens now for almost four years. I've found one or two I adore, one or two I tolerate, and ones that made me feel like a greased watermelon. Stay tuned because next time I'll tell you about some of my favorites!