A new study ranks hundreds of children’s sunscreens
Choose the wrong sunscreen and you may get burned.
The Environmental Working Group — an environmental health advocacy organization — released its annual sunscreen study Tuesday, and it found that two sunscreens targeted to children scored a 10 – its worst score. The low scorers are Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100, and Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100.
These sunscreens got low scores thanks to claiming an SPF level that was “very different” from what EWG estimates, as well as containing chemicals that, while legal to use, EWG says may not be good for us. These include oxybenzone, which may cause allergic reactions, and retinyl palmitate, which has been linked to skin tumors.
Edgewell Personal Care, which makes Banana Boat, notes that it stands behind the quality and performance of its products, including the two called out by EWG as they “meet all relevant FDA regulations and are formulated to be safe and effective.” It adds that oxybenzone helps provide “broad spectrum sun protection to wearers” and is labeled on the bottle, and that retinyl palmitate has twice been found safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and is approved for use globally in topical skin products.
EWG ranks dozens of other sunscreens targeted to children as well, which you can check out here. “Brands really vary a lot,” Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at EWG and lead author of the guide, tells Moneyish. Among the best-scoring options: Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30+, Kiss My Face Organics Kids Sunscreen SPF 30 and Tom’s of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.
Curt Della Vale, an epidemiologist who directs EWG’s cancer program, says that babies and young children are especially vulnerable to sun damage. “A few blistering sunburns early in life can influence babies and children’s risk of developing melanoma later,” he says.
While sunscreen is important, EWG says that this should simply be one line of defense in preventing sunburn in kids. You should also make sure your kids cover up with sunglasses, hats, shirts and other clothes; and play outside in the shade in the early morning on when the sun is lower in the afternoon.
It’s not just kids sunscreens that fall short. “The vast majority of sunscreens available to Americans aren’t as good as they should be,” says Lunder. “Sunscreens will not improve until the Food and Drug Administration sets stronger rules, reviews harmful chemicals and allows the use of new ingredients that offer stronger UVA protection.” She tells Moneyish that sunscreens sold in Europe and Canada tend to be better than those sold here because they use different ingredients, like tinosorb and mixorals, not yet allowed in the U.S.
Combine EWG’s full sunscreen guide for adults with Consumer Reports sunscreen guide HERE to figure out which sunscreens might be best for you.
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