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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Which sunscreen do you use?

So I'm reading this very thought provoking article on sunscreens on the Environmental Working Group's website and it's making me reconsider my stockpile of sunscreens as we head into prime sun exposure season. As the environmental research and advocacy group notes: The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals to absorb through the skin, no questions about whether they work.

But when you can't get away from exposing your skin to sun, you need a bottle of help. Their article notes that surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of all those creams and sprays we smear on little bodies all summer. If you read EWG's Hall of Shame you'll never look at the skin care counter the same way again.

When I had little babies I liked the sprays so I could pump some sunscreen on their heads (since they hated hats) and I still kept them on hand as they got older to spritz a kid's shoulders as he was running by. But the caution on here is that zinc and titanium can get into your lungs. I have to agree that sunscreen belongs on your skin, not in your lungs. I've also grown disenchanted with the sprays because they don't seem to have staying power.

Luckily, it's not all alarmist. They do have products to recommend. Their top sunscreens all contain the minerals zinc or titanium and none contain oxybenzone, vitamin A (which has been linked to skin tumors) or come in sprays or powders. The only problem might be finding some of these obscure organic compounds. I found many on that list at Amazon, and some, such as All Terrain, are sold at health food stores locally like Rollin Oats. And California Baby is sold at Target, Babies 'R Us and many Publix stores.

CoppertoneIt's second-tier recommendation which have some of the chemicals of concern but not as much, are more easily found on the drug store shelf. They include Coppertone's Sport Sunblock Lotion and Bull Frog's Ultimate Sheer Protection for face and for the body.

Whew, it's always something isn't it? Maybe I over think these things but it really shouldn't be this complicated.

-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:24pm]


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