Natural Sunscreen-Does it Work?

One of the things that becomes a central focus of your life with kids is sunscreen. It seems silly, but it’s true-I think about sunscreen way more than I wish I did. Not only do we live at the beach, but  I somehow ended up with two out of three fair-haired, burn-prone skinned kids so just a walk to the car threatens to increase their melanoma chance ten-fold.

There is a lot to think about with sunscreen and kids. First off, there is the safety factor. Is the SPF high enough and will it last long enough on active little bodies to even protect them for longer than a minute? The next issue is convenience. Will the sunscreen pass the wriggly preschooler test or the too-old-for-you-to-apply-for-me-mom Tween test? It has to be easy enough to spread on quickly and thoroughly so that I can get it on an ever-moving boy and my girl can correctly apply it to herself in the 6.2 seconds she allows herself before she “HAS to go see her friends at the pool, moooom”.

I’ve used an aerosol spray for two years because it is cost effective and passes all our tests. The thing is, I know inherently that aerosol is bad. I struggle with it every summer but the convenience wins out over my eco-conscience. Then this summer there were reports about oxybenzone being a hormone disruptor and Vitamin A Palmitate being a possible danger as well. I usually take these reports with a grain of salt. Having worked in the cosmetics industry for a bit, I remember the “reports” on a lot of things that were nothing more than internet urban legends gone bad. (Lead in your lipstick anyone?) But, the oxybenzone thing got quite a bit of press and there seemed to be more data than just one test done on four rats, and I noticed some big names like Banana Boat were making some products that didn’t contain it. I figured if the big guns were changing the way they did things (sorta) then maybe this one held some weight.

So I went to the store in search of natural products. I mean, I feed my kids as close to nature as I can, why wouldn’t I work to ensure that their largest organ (skin) was protected from chemicals too?  I got some Banana Boat Natural Reflect for Kids and something I’d never seen before called Sunology. Neither has oxybenzone as they rely on Titanium Dioxide and Zinc for their physical sunblocks. These two lovelies are what you think of when you picture the beach guards of the 1980s with the bright white noses. They’re both very safe physical blockers that provide excellent protection from both UVA and UVB rays which is what you want. The problem is they do it with thick white paste-which is not what you want as an adult dealing with squirming, impatient kids.

The beauty of both of these products is that they’ve figured out a way to make their lotions easier to apply than the Zinc Oxide of old. My kids will stay still long enough to have it applied with minimal fight. The face stick that Sunology makes is harder to apply than the other one that we have in our beach bag, but I can tell which kids used Sunology by the red faces they don’t have at the end of the day. The other kids-not so much.

Here is the bottom line: for right now, these physical blockers are known to be safer and I have seen over time that although they’re not the easiest things to put on at first, the Sunology at least,  lasts the entire day at the beach-in and out of water. The company doesn’t make that claim, but we’ve seen it play out in real life on the Jersey Shore. Another Sunology plus? Their face creme** is dreamy for mom. I have, as you’ve read, had some issues with my skin of late and I was paranoid about sunscreen season. I use a light SPF on my face all year but in the summer I need to up my game to actual sunscreen, not just product with SPF in it. I was nervous as heck to try Sunology’s thick face creme but so far I’ve had no physical reaction and even though it’s super emollient, it doesn’t feel greasy or heavy when it’s on. And, it supposed to fight free radicals and anything that makes me look younger is alright with me!



**Disclosure-After I bought Sunology for my kids and our faces (stick) I went to an event where I met the creator of Sunology and I was given their face creme to try. Although that product was free, I purchased all the others and all my opinions here are based on our use-not on the origin of us getting the product. 


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