Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shady Sunscreen

Spring is here and summer is on it’s way! For someone who lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest, the mere idea of sunshine couldn’t make me happier. In addition to smiles and better running weather, more sun also means more sunscreen. All summer long, I lather generous amounts on myself, my kids, and even my husband (If he will let me). Recently, I heard a special report on oxybenzone, a chemical found in almost all leading brands of sunscreen. It blocks UVB rays and prevents sunburn, but it has also been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight. In addition, it does nothing to block harmful UVA rays. UVA radiation hastens the progression of skin cancer, suppresses the immune system, and ages the skin over time. After hearing the report, I quickly checked the 3 tubes of sunscreen that I could easily access in my house, and sure enough… they all contained oxybenzone. Then, I ran to my car to check a 4th tube I knew I had stashed in the glove box…it also contained oxybenzone. Then, I did what any normal human being would do... I loaded my kids in their car seats, got in my car, and drove to Wal-Mart to buy some new sunscreen.

Anyway, if you are like me and want a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays but don’t want to be contaminated by a chemical that could have harmful long-term health effects, look for a sunscreen that contains the active ingredient Zinc Oxide and use an SPF of at least 30. Be warned, this isn’t easy to find. I looked through every spray, bottle, and tube around the MASSIVE sunscreen island in Wal-Mart and could only find 1 small tube that contained zinc. It may be easier to order online or find at a local pharmacy.  And,'s better to run before 10am and after 4pm, if possible.

Here’s a list of the Top Ten Sunscreens (according to the Environmental Working Group):

1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Sunscreen business aside, is anyone else excited for sunny, warmer days!?


  1. Yes, yes, yes!! SOO Excited!! Just walked 4 miles for MS and it was SO beautiful out. Can't wait for more days like this...beautiful weather is truly the one thing that can get me outside no matter what - have to take advantage of it while its here since we never know how long it will last.

    Thanks for the info on the sunscreen!!

  2. Wow, First of all the mention of the Pacific Northwest made me homesick. Then the thought of Wal Mart brought back lovely memories from home and that wonderful love/hate relationship I have with the store. Thirdly I can just imagine the freak out you had once reading that article then seeing that it was the product you are putting on your kids! YIKES! I have heard such up and down things about sunscreen, like I heard that it doesnt matter what SPF you use, that its a marketing thing to say "SPF 45" is better when really there is no such thing. So... I dunno... I wonder if there is a natural alternative? I'll Google it.

  3. Caryn...Yay! I'm so glad the sun was out for the MS walk. Ashley... I totally understand your love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart. I don't have that relationship with the store...but I do with the parking lot!!! Let me know if you find any other good info. on sunscreen. I got most of my info. from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). I always feel better about using products that are more "natural."

  4. Few things me happier than sun, so it's a good thing I'm a sunscreen-aholic! I wear it everyday and if I'm out in the sun, no less than SPF 45 usually... and I'm not the type that burns easily.

    Of course after checking my massive supply, it looks like I will be heading out to by some new sunscreen for the upcoming sunnier weather. Thanks for the info! I've actually been wanting to try something with a different active ingredient anyway because (ironically) sunscreen can sometimes make my skin temporarily turn pink.

    If anyone finds one that smells yummy, let me know! :)