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Check out the safest sunscreens for your family on Heather's Natural Health.

4:43 PM, Jun 16, 2010   |    comments
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 ***If you want to read about the top sunscreens, I put the information at the bottom of the page.  

If you want to hear why this melanoma survivor (me) rarely wears sunscreen, read on.

The other day my friend asked me what kind of sunscreen do I use.

You might think I dip myself in sunscreen every morning, but it's actually the opposite.

I was diagnosed with melanoma in my 20's so I am always cautious when I'm outside and I try not to put a lot of chemicals on my skin.

Now that I am pregnant, it is even more important for me to pay attention to what I put on my skin.

I've  written many stories about the vitamin D/immune system link so I admit, I do try to spend a few mornings outside, getting a little morning sun on my legs.

A few years ago, a UF professor told me many suncreens use chemicals to create a barrier between your skin and the sun. Your body asbsorbs those chemicals. Researchers are taking a closer look to see how those chemicals impact the body. The FDA is investigating a link between vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) in sunscreens and a possible increase of skin cancer.

I posted an earlier story about how the CDC,  Centers for Disease Control also studied sunscreen ingredients found in the bloodstream.

While the jury is out on how these chemicals impact us, I prefer to wear sun protective clothing. 

I actually bought a few cover-ups and had them tailored so you can't tell they're sun protective jackets.

I wear them over my swimsuit and I usually hang out in the shade. My husband & I love to go boating so I had to find something that really would protect me.

I do wear a non-chemical, mineral powder sunscreen on my face.

It has a great brush applicator so I can keep it in my purse.  You can also find similar brands at Sephora.

Some of the companies that sell sun protective clothing include:

SPFstore (great cotton t-shirts)

Coolibar (affordable)

Ayana (stylish)

But what about your kids?

My good friend, former TV producer and mom of two, Eve, researched this for us.

She says this non-chemical sunscreen (California Baby) is good for wiggly faces and the same company makes a good one for the rest of them.

 (They also happen to be listed as 2 of the top 10 best sunscreens. Beware, a few years ago I bought the number 1 rated sunscreen but it turned me into a greasy, Casper the ghost! There is a fine balance here. It has to work and you can't scare your friends!)

Eve tries her best to keep their sun protective clothes and hats on their little bodies (but you know how that goes!)

Kids clothes:

Coolibar

Cabana Life (Target)

Now to your sunscreens:

A consumer advocacy group is out with the 2010 safest sunscreens and best UV protectors.

The Environmental Working Group investigated 1572 chemical and non-chemical sunscreens.

The non-profit group found 3 out of 5 sunscreens do not protect your skin from sun damage or they expose you to toxic chemicals, or both.

Read more stories on Heather's Natural Health

You'll notice non-chemical sunscreens made the top of the Environmental Working Group's list.

There are the top rated sunscreens for broad spectrum protection with fewer hazardous ingredients.

The sunscreen screening site, put together by the Environmental Working Group, gives detailed information about all the products and rates them based on chemical exposure and effectiveness.

Product and Score
product image All Terrain
Aquasport Performance Sunscreen, SPF 30
TerraSport Performance Sunscreen, SPF 30
KidSport Performance Sunscreen, SPF 30
product image Badger
Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30
Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented
Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 15 Lightly Scented
product image Beyond Coastal
Lip and Face Screen, SPF 30
product image California Baby
Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+
Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+
Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+, Citronella
Sunblock Stick Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+
product image Caribbean Solutions
Natural/Biodegradable SolGuard, SPF 25
Sol Kid Kare Natural Sunscreen, SPF 25
product image Desert Essence
Age Reversal SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
product image Episencial
Sunny Sunscreen, SPF 35
product image Estion
Sunscreen with Zinc, SPF 38
product image Jason Natural Cosmetics
Sunbrellas: Mineral Based Physical Sunblock, SPF 30+
Sunbrellas: Chemical Free Sunblock, SPF 30+
Earth's Best: Sunblock Mineral Based, SPF 30+
product image Kabana Skin Care
Green Screen Organic Sunscreen Fragrance Free, SPF 20
Green Screen Organic Sunscreen, SPF 22, Skin Tone Tinted
product image L'uvalla Certified Organic
SPF 20 Sunscreen Face/Body

See the complete list here.

According to EWG, when sunscreen ingredients break down, they can penetrate the skin and trigger allergies. The ingredients are actually designed to break down; that's part of the function of absorbing energy and keeping it out of the skin. But some break down more quickly and easily than others.

The two ingredients recommended most include zinc and titanium, which don't break down in sunlight as others do, and offer longer lasting protection as a result. They also work by reflecting sunlight, rather than absorbing it.

You should look for both SPF numbers and zinc and titanium when buying suncreens.High SPF protects best against UVB. Zinc and titanium offer maximum UVA protection. Several ingredients are far less desirable although, depending on how they're blended and what else the products contain, they're not automatically undesirable. They are avobenzone, oxybenzone and padimate O, a relative of PABA, which has come into disrepute in recent years.

You can read more about how a skin cancer exam save my life by clicking here.  I'd love to hear what type of sun protection works best for you.

Heather Van Nest, Heather's Natural Health, 10 Connects News

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