Get Sunscreen Savvy

I remember reading the phrase once: “If wouldn’t put it in your body, don’t put it on your body.”  All this fun in the sun has everyone reaching for sunblock to prevent a fun-ending sunburn but you could also be slathering on harmful chemicals too. 

The rumor mill has been working overtime on sunscreens lately, especially after the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Sunscreens 2012 report. The EWG is an awesome consumer watchdog group that protects us and the environment from harmful chemicals that seem to be lurking everywhere these days. I’ve long been a huge fan of this group, particularly for their annual Dirty Dozen report – or the top 12 chemical laden produce items. 

The jury is out on whether or not sunscreens, or the chemicals contained within, actually cause cancers and other health risks but there is enough evidence to suggest it is most certainly possible.  So why take the chance? There is so much we are exposed to that we can’t control so take charge of the things you can.  I was a little bummed to see that the EWG is asking for a $5 donation to download their full Sunscreen Report – but then again they totally rock as an organization, need the support, and you can barely get a cup of coffee these days for $5 so it’s a worth while donation.

Even if you don’t download the guide, here are their key points for picking your sunscreen:

  •  Choose an SPF between 15 and 50
  • Make sure labels list UVA and UVB (or broad spectrum protection).
  • Avoid products containing oxybenzone and retinyl palminate if you’re concerned about potentially toxic chemicals.
  • Choose lotions versus spray sunscreens for a more evenly distributed protection.
  • Remember to apply at least 2 ounces of lotion (about a shot glass full) and reapply often. The sun breaks down the ingredients in sunscreen that protect your skin. Experts recommend reapplying every two hours, or after swimming or heavy sweating.

For all my mama’s out there with babies 6 months of age and under – keep them in the shade!

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