It’s finally summer and with the great weather comes the need to protect our children from the sun’s harmful rays. I find navigating all of the sunscreen options daunting. How do you know what SPF to use on your kids? Does sunscreen really protect skin from sun damage? Which sunscreens are safest for children and which additives should I avoid?
I came across a fantastic resource from the Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org. The EWG provides unbiased research reports rating hundreds of sunscreens available on the market. As the website states, “[a]n ideal sunscreen would block the majority of UVA and UVB rays with active ingredients that do not break down in the sun, so that the product remains effective. It would also contain only active and inactive ingredients that are proven to be completely safe for both adults and children. Unfortunately, there is no sunscreen on the U.S. market that meets all these criteria and no simple way for consumers to know how well a given product stacks up. That’s why EWG created this guide to safer and more effective sunscreens.”
The website also provides helpful information about how sunscreens work and answers to frequently asked questions. They list the brands alphabetically and give each product a “hazard score” ranking: 0-2 means low hazard, 3-6 means moderate hazard, and 7-10 means high hazard. The total ranking is based upon individual categories such as UVA protection, UVB protection, UVA/UVB balance, sunscreen stability, and health and other concerns. Each of these categories is given a ranking, which factors into the total score. It also allows users to search by category.
There are 184 sunscreens that meet EWG’s criteria for a 0-2 low hazard score ranking. You can narrow that list by price because there is a “price key” for each product: cheapest ($), moderate cost ($$), and most expensive ($$$).
I love finding unbiased resources like EWG where I can go to research and make an informed decision based upon facts and not marketing. So do your own research and enjoy the summer and the sun!