We are mere weeks away from summer and I am loving the thought of spending fun, carefree days at the beach. The only part I remotely dread is when it’s time to apply sunscreen to my kids. They moan and groan the entire time and if you didn’t know better, you would think I was torturing them or asking them to do something truly horrible.
Since I will have to endure the drama-filled antics that go along with slathering sunscreen on the kids, I need to know that what I’m applying will provide the appropriate protection and help prevent skin cancer. That’s where the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) newly released 2017 Guide to Sunscreens comes in—it will be my go-to encyclopedia on all things sunscreen once again this year.
The EWG, a nonprofit whose mission is to “empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment,” has been researching and reporting about sunscreens for 11 years. This year, EWG found that three-fourths of the 1,500 sun products examined rated poorly for skin protection or contained unsafe ingredients.
Can you imagine putting sunscreen on unhappy, complaining kids only to learn that the sunscreen isn’t particularly good at providing UV ray protection? Or even worse, it contains ingredients that might cause more harm?
This guide will help make sure your efforts are not in vain and while you review specific products using the guide, it’s important to keep in mind these three tidbits:
- A large majority of sunscreens aren’t as good as the marketing of the product suggests. High SPF values can mislead people into a false sense of protection. All sunscreens eventually wear off despite the SPF and certainly despite the marketing jargon.
- I have seen many of the sunscreen brands that rated well at Target and they weren’t crazy expensive. These include Goddess Garden Organics, Bare Republic, Sun Bum, Alba Botanica, and Babyganics (my personal favorite because it’s tear free).
- Sprays are certainly easier for parents to use but they don’t provide consistent coverage and coating on skin. Again, why go through the motions of putting on sunscreen if you’re not confident it’s going to give you some protection?
My summer sunscreen battles with the kids will be a tad less painful knowing that the products I’m using have rated well in the EWG guide. It certainly would help if someone figured out how to make the products that rated well “fun and easy” to apply. Until then, if the sunscreen battles get the best of me, there’s always a fruity drink with an umbrella awaiting at the beach to help realign composure for the sunscreen reapplication thirty minutes later.