The best sunscreen is shade, a shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. I know this is not what you’re asking for however. I’ll give you what you’re asking for, right after you indulge me for one minute to prattle on about the importance of getting enough vitamin D.
There are many things you can do to cut your risk of colds, flus, cancer, dementia, high cholesterol, depression, multiple sclerosis and many other negative health outcomes, and one of them is getting enough Vitamin D. The best way to get it is through proper exposure [3-4x / wk, 10-15 min each side, on as much skin as possible (not your face) – never getting burned] to natural sunlight at the right time of the year for your latitude and not taking a shower for as long as possible after your exposure since the oils in your skin help the vitamin D get absorbed.
But there will be a time when your husband may sign the family up for a two hour jetski tour in painfully choppy waters in the Gulf of Mexico, and well, for that, you need the actual sunscreen, and a lot of it.
I like the following sunscreens which do not contain the toxic typical sunscreen chemicals you should avoid:
- Kidsport Spray by All Terrain. This is my pick for a child’s sunscreen. It’s effective, lightweight and rubs in easily. It’s slightly oily, but not offensively so. Active ingredient: 19% zinc oxide (non-nano). Note: says it retains SPF after 80 minutes of activity in water. I found this at Willner Chemist, but I think they have it at Whole Foods as well. I like that it is sprayable, but not the kind of fine spray that comes from a can (by the way I hate those types of sunscreens that spray like an aerosol because they usually loaded with toxic chemicals and the spray is so fine that it gets into your – and more importantly, your kid’s – lungs).
- Dr. Mercola Natural Sunscreen and Natural Sunscreen Face Stick. It is very effective. I used this very sunscreen, in huge amounts, during my two hour jetski tour of the painfully choppy waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and it worked. I really like the smell, believe it or not, as well as the ingredients, but this stuff is heavy duty – takes a long time to rub in, gives you a little bit of a deathly pallor (granted, I have a head start on this!), and doesn’t come off easily, even with some scrubbing in the shower. Also, you’ve got to shake this stuff like a madman. Seriously. Make sure you get it all blended up well. Active ingredient: Titanium dioxide (6%) and Zinc Oxide (6%) – non-nano.
- Badger SPF 30+ Unscented Sunscreen. It’s very similar to Mercola’s, only a little harder to rub in, but easier to get off. It will give you the white pallor and stay on, but it’s unscented (which is nice for me, because I don’t like perfumes, but the smell of this unscented sunscreen is not pleasant for most kids. The smell does wear off quickly. It’s just kind of like a plain, shea butter-y type of smell.). Whereas Mercola’s is more liquidy like a lotion, this one is thicker. Active ingredient: non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide 18.75%. I found this at Whole Foods.
Oh, and I know you didn’t ask, but this is the best child’s sunhat I’ve found. I ordered a large for my 8 year old (when he was 7), and he finds it very comfortable, and I love that you can go in the pool with it. I wear it sometimes, and it’s just great. No sunscreen on his face or neck with this one!
Enjoy the sun, and GET SOME VITAMIN D!