Every summer there’s a bevy of news articles about sunscreens, and how some of them may even be harming you and your kids. Most articles link to the Environmental Working Group’s Annual Sunscreen Guide – which reviews and rates hundreds of sunscreens in mind-numbing detail. Too much detail, actually. When researching sunscreens last year, I took one look at this list, got really frustrated and threw my hands up in the air.
I did my own research, and here’s my cheat-sheet of what to look for:
HOWEVER, there is another important factor to consider: whether the suscreen protects against the 2 types of UVA rays: short and long. Most sunscreens protect against short UVA rays, but not long UVA rays. Long UVA rays are the ones that cause photo-aging and the more aggressive types of skin cancers, such as melanoma. Interestingly, the FDA for several yearshas been considering a 4-star UVA-ranking system that would make its way onto sunscreen labels, but sadly, there seems to be no movement on this issue.
So what do we use in our house? A little-know one called SunSmart by Applied Therapeutics. It contains a patented Z-Cote (basically, a transparent zinc-oxide). It’s an inorganic/non-chemical sunblock – meaning it sits on top of the skin and doesn’t get absorbed. It goes on smoothly, withough any oily or white-filmy residue (a MUST for brown skin) – we actually use it instead of lotion. And it contains yummy stuff like rose extract and jasmine and patchouli oils.
Most importantly, it protects against those long UVA-rays.
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