Photo Courtesy of Leah Bradley
Reminder: You Need Daily SPF,
but Your Kids Need It Even More
Children are more vulnerable to the sun than adults by a long shot. They’re also, by virtue of their still-developing systems, more vulnerable to the endocrine disruptors that make up many chemical sunscreen ingredients.
“Sun-protection measures are especially critical for kids,” says Nneka Leiba, the director of healthy living science at the Environmental Working Group. Leiba says it’s important to think about the issue in terms of modifying behavior: “It’s not just about being diligent with daily SPF but also about avoiding the midday sun, wearing protective clothing, using umbrellas on strollers.”
That said, there are sunscreens for children that are much, much better than others. Most important is a nontoxic, mineral-only formula that’s labeled as broad-spectrum. “An SPF number indicates only UVB coverage, but UVA coverage is essential,” says Leiba. Another crucial point: Never use sprays. No one should be using them, especially children, and this applies even to clean, mineral SPF formulas, says Leiba: “Titanium dioxide is safe when applied to your skin, but inhaled, it’s known to be carcinogenic. Inhaled chemical sunscreens can be even worse.”
The EWG evaluates all sunscreens (and indeed all personal-care products) on the same scale, and to make it onto its list of Best Scoring Sunscreens for Kids, a sunscreen has to score a 1, which indicates the lowest risk possible.
At goop, we carry a variety of sunscreen products and skin care for kids. Of the sunscreens available, both Babo and All Good make formulas that score a 1 from the EWG and work beautifully for kids (and adults—many people with sensitive skin find kids’ formulas easier to tolerate). Both are easier than most to blend into skin, making the act of getting sunscreen onto kids less of a chore. But it’s worth the effort, even if kids resist. Make it nonnegotiable, and with time, what once was something to resist can transform into a happier moment of mini-massage and self-care.