Even if you’re a health-conscious parent that protects your children from unnecessary exposure to direct sunlight, there’s a high chance that you’re using sunscreen incorrectly — or, at the very least, putting faith in brands that don’t deserve your attention.
Such is the conclusion from a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a US charity that produces an annual guide on sunscreen products across the country.
It finds that a whopping two-thirds of sunscreen products on general sale in the US provide “inferior sun protection” or contain chemicals like oxybenzone, a troubling hormone disruptor easily absorbed by the body.
Some of the most recognisable brands are found to be the worst culprits. Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen, with an advertised Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 85+, is found to be a “bad choice for sun protection” and to include products that “pose a HIGH health concern”.
Parents are cautioned that high SPF ratings do not necessarily provide more protection to dangerous UV rays — particularly if the products are applied less frequently than other creams and lotions under the false impression that they’re inherently safer.
They’re also warned not to use spray products, which could lead to chemicals being inhaled.
To help consumers, EWG has rated the efficacy of 1,300 SPF sunscreen products, providing them with a score from 1 (the best rating) to 10.
From this, it identifies 27 of the best beach and sport sunscreen products marketed specifically for use on babies and children — choosing fragrance-free and water resistant versions where possible.
Global Shakers has selected three of these products that not only receive top ratings for sun protection but are also considered to have an “excellent” balance of UVA protection in relation to the SPF.
This lotion, sold by Loving Naturals, is made of ‘all natural ingredients’. It uses non-nano zinc as an active ingredient and is made up of grape seed oil, sunflower oil, beeswax and organic cocoa butter.
It also contains purified water, which EWG says is the most robust suncare protection element.
Loving Naturals has grown considerably in recent years under the watch of marketing specialist Yael Morowati. The company now also offers a range of balms and oils.
This product, made by the young Californian company SunBioLogic, also uses organic products derived from beeswax, sunflowers, mango and jojoba.
The vast majority of the product’s eight ingredients receive EWG’s highest score, with the remaining two receiving the second-highest score.
As the product comes in the form of a stick, which parents tend to not apply frequently enough, consumers are cautioned about the need to apply the product frequently.
Nurture My Body’s fragrance-free product contains Vitamin E, to nourish the skin, and is “non-comedogenic” — meaning it is good for oily skin as it does not block pores.
The sunscreen is also packaged in recyclable and ultraviolet-proof plastic bottles. The company does not test on animals.
Although very highly rated by EWG for its UV protection, the sunscreen does include emulsifying wax, which has a lower healthcare rating.