Adelaide has an allergy to chemical sunscreens so we switched to mineral based sunscreens a long time ago. Not knowing if Arabella has the same allergy or not, and simply out of convenience we use the mineral based sunscreen on her as well. I did lots of research about the benefits of a natural sunscreen back when the allergy reared it's ugly little head. Chemicals like retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone (which are in lots of children and adult chemical sunscreen like Coppertone and and Hawaiian Tropic-all the normal brands) are known to be harmful and as the FDA is investigating, even cancer-causing. There has been talk that the oxybenzone could be a "potential hormone disruptor". Not really something you want to smear all over your kids' skin. I complain most of the time about having to spend more money on small tubes of this mineral based sunscreen for my girls but in the end maybe it's truly better for them. In fact, I'm ready to switch our adult sunscreen to the mineral based kind as well.
These are our favorites (I order at Amazon or CVS but you can get them at Target too):
Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby
Some of the reviews for these sunscreens on Amazon and other online shopping sites talk about parents disliking the mineral based sunscreens because it's tougher to rub in and leaves a white layer sometimes. We've never had a problem and the last thing I care about is my children looking a little white-washed at the beach.
This issue is important for my children because we live in a climate in which we use sunscreen year round. That and bug repellent, which is a whole other issue. Parents of children who only wear sunscreen minimally during a few months of the year probably don't think much about sunscreen. Kids (and adults) in tropical sunny climates like ours should consider switching to natural sunscreen. The added plus is that it's safe for the environment and won't harm sea life. Many snorkeling beaches are banning the chemical based sunscreens because it harms the fish and coral. But we are still putting it on our skin? Crazy huh?
Check out the Daily Green's 21 Best Natural Sunscreens