The warmer weather is here and as you reach for sunblock, please be aware of what it may contain. May studies have linked the chemicals found in many body lotions and sunscreens to contain xenoestrogens which has been found to cause many unwanted effects such as cancer.
So, what is a "xenoestrogen"? Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that have unintended and unknown effects. Some of these effects have been linked to fertility concerns, puberty problems, growth conditions and even cancer.
Read you sunscreen label carefully and avoid any that contain Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (aka: octyl methoxycinnamate) and Homosalate. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and can act as xenoestrogens in your body. You will want to be especially careful when using any of these chemicals on a child's skin. A baby and child's skin is much thinner and more sensitive then older children and adult skin and it can absorb quicker and deeper.
Parabens is another chemical to avoid; this is readily found in almost all body lotions and skin products. Parabens are presevatives, they can also act like xenoestrogens in the body. Look for skin care products that are "paraben free". You may pay a little more but it is quite worth it in the long term.
So what's safe? When purchasing a sunscreen look for natural mineral based products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (Jason's Naturals makes a great one!). Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, the higher the better and make sure it is labeled with broad spectrum, this means it will protect against both UVA & UVB rays which is very important.
You can also look for clothes and swim suits with an "Ultra Violent Protection Factor" or UPF of 50 or more. These pieces are readily available in today's market are great for infants and toddlers. Everyday clothes will only protect against the sun ray's so far. For example, a cotton tee has an SPF of about 7! Look for hats, shoes, tops, swimmies, shirts with UPF and don't forget your sunglasses . . for your little one too!!! A baby is never too young to be protected.
Sunscreen and sun protective clothing should be worn year round, any season and any time. Even if it's hazy or overcast, the sun is still there and you can still get sun burn. Apply sunscreen about 20-30 minutes before you go out in the sun and reapply about every hour and half and always after swimming. Although we don't think of it, winter is also an optimum time to get sun burn; snow reflects the sun ray's, be sure to apply sunscreen.
Protection from skin cancer begins at birth and if you protect your little one now, there will be less of a chance later in life for problems. By chosing a safe sunscreen as I mentioned above, you are also giving your little one a great head start and yourself piece on mind from this day on that you are not only protecting yourself (and family) from the side effects of chemicals but you are also helping to prevent skin cancer.
Enjoy and worship the sun . . . just be safe!