The Lazy Mama’s Guide to Going Green & Non-Toxic, No. 1: Sunscreens

badger non toxic sunscreenYesterday, I was the guest speaker at at Healthy Home party.  We discussed common toxic chemical exposures in the home – lead, radon, phthalates, flame retardants, bisphenol A (BPA), mercury, perfluorinated compounds (PFOA / PFOS and others) and others – and simple steps to reduce them.  The group was wonderful.  Very smart, very capable moms.  But, like most moms, all of the women felt too busy to research the issues and determine the hype from the truth.  Greenwashing had done them in, and the refrain was “give me the lazy mama’s guide to being a smart, green mama.” 


Okay, so this will be a new feature for the blog.  The lazy mama’s guide to going green and non-toxic.  The request was to just state what someone should do or buy, and the provide links to information that could be reviewed and digested if the person was interested. But all of the women present just wanted lazy mama versions.  “Just tell me what to do or buy.  Please.”


So, since this request came at the end of our 2 hour discussio, I had an epiphany.  The evident truth – I like the science too much.  I’m a geek at hear. 


So, in any event, I figure the first topic for lazy mama’s guide to green & non toxic should be the #1 issue for summer – Sunscreens!  And, with the Environmental Working Group’s recent report on the effectiveness of sunscreens, and all the debate and press the report has garnered, I figured it was a good lazy mama topic. 


So, here is my Lazy Mama’s Guide to Sunscreens ~ The Smart Mama way:


Lazy Mama’s Brief on the Issue:  You want both UVA and UVB protection with a sunscreen.  The general consensus is that a physical barrier sunscreen is preferred over a chemical based sunscreen.  The physical barrier sunscreens use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.  Even micronized, these have not been shown to penetrate the horny epidermis layer of the skin, where as chemical sunscreens do penetrate the skin.  And, as an added bonus, physical barrier sunscreens are more reef friendly than chemical sunscreens.  Plus, you don’t want a sunscreen with chemicals linked to adverse health effects, such as parabens, phthalates, etc.


Recommendation for the Lazy Mama (or buy this):  Okay, based on the issues above, and my own experience, I recommend the following for children:



  1. Trukid Sunny Days SPF 30+ Natural Mineral Sunscreen Water Resistant Face & Body Stick;

  2. Badger Broad Spectrum UVA UVB Protection Sunscreen, SPF 30+; and

  3. California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/Year Round, SPF 30+

Disclosure:  Always use sunscreen as directed.  For children, I recommend staying away from spray sunscreens to avoid inhalation.  For children under 6 months, follow the recommendations of your pediatrician.


Keep in mind:  Of course, always have your child wear adequate protection from the sun.  Hats, long sleeve shirts, etc., are all great.  As always, prevention is better, so limiting exposure is a good idea too.


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