9.07.2013

Sunscreens Reviews (feat. products for baby, toddler, and mama alike).


Now that summer is officially over, we are counting our casualties. In this case sunscreens. Averaging twice daily trip to local and distant parks, beaches, and wading pools, we used up lots of sunscreens.

I've been trying many baby sunscreens on myself and ToddlerLorp (since he was a baby, too) and so far, I've tried four brands. The three are shown above, the one that is not shown is the Episencial Sunny Sunscreen (not affiliate link). All these sunscreens scores very low on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) scale. EWG rates consumer products in terms of hazard that can be caused by the ingredients and low score means low hazard; with the exception of the La Roche Posay one, since that product is not available in the U.S.

For each sunscreen, I evaluate them based on:
  • Finish (tacky or powdery)
  • White cast on the skin
  • Waterproof-ness
  • Ease of application/spreadability
  • Ease of removal
  • Ingredients (because if your kids are anything like mine, they'll want to taste everything)
(Link on products are not affiliate)

Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35
This one was BabyLorp's first sunscreen before the formulation changed. For some reason they tweak it but I saw no difference in appearance/performance. It utilizes a combination of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as physical blocks.

Pros:
  • Great spreadability and easy to remove with just water and soap
  • Slight tackiness finish
  • Slight white cast on the skin
Cons:
  • It is water resistant but NOT waterproof. In fact, this will run when used in water and can sting those tender little eyes!
  • Many artificial ingredients for a simple sunscreen (lots of acrylate polymers listed as first and second ingredients)
This sunscreen is great for days when you/kids are out and about in the park and not in the water. I probably won't put this on the littlest of babies (under 6 months old) due to ingredients and possible eye irritation.

The Honest Company Sunscreen SPF 30
This sunscreen boasts non-nano zinc oxide for protection; however, nano particles have not been shown to pose any danger to children skin. In fact, EWG favors nano-particulate containing sunscreen due to its superior protection. Regardless, the appeal of this sunscreen is its simple ingredients that claims to be "friendly to the coral reef" should ToddlerLorp earn his license to scuba dive.


Pros:
  • Marketed as water resistant but we found that it is quite waterproof. ToddlerLorp spent an afternoon swimming with it and it is still on by the time we got home to bathe him
  • The most non-whitening physical sunscreen of the bunch
  • Simple ingredients that actually work
Cons:
  • Despite of its claim, it is a pain to spread with not a lot of slip (imagine spreading somewhat liquified beeswax on wiggly baby/jumpy toddler)
  • Tacky and greasy finish that lasts for hours (or as long as the sunscreen lasts)
  • So tenacious that it requires multiple washes to get it off your little one's skin
I'd use this on infant younger than 6 months due to its simple ingredients. Best for use in the swimming pool/in the beach. Worst in the park where practically every single dirt will stick onto the tacky skin.

Goddess Garden Sunny Baby Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
While we were on our vacation, we ran out of our Episencial Sunscreen and went to the nearest Whole Foods to find this great sunscreen! On first glance, this may remind you of the Honest Company sunscreen but they are different significantly. While the Honest Company suncreen is quite thick, greasy, and tenacious (think of vaseline fortified with beeswax), this sunscreen has a liquidy-mousse consistency that spreads very nicely and dry to non-tacky finish. 




Pros:
  • Great spreadability. Shake first before applying, and the somewhat thin mousse-like product will spread quite nicely on skin. Don't be alarm if it seems like you can't rub it all down, it will dry more uniformly so long as you try to cover the area well.
  • Nice dry, non-tacky finish
  • Easy to remove with soap and water
Cons:
  • Caspar (the Friendly Ghost, that is, not Babypants nor J-Lo's boyfriend) white!!
  • Water resistant but not waterproof
This one is great for the littlest of babies due to its simple ingredients (most if not all of them are organics) for a day in the park, but not in the beach.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios with Mexoryl Melt-In Cream SPF 45
I tried to search a link for this product that I purchased in Canada, but maybe it has been discontinued? LRP comes out with so many sunscreen products now, it's hard to keep track. I personally used to use LRP Dermo Pediatrics SPF 50 (not available in the U.S.) but when we traveled to Canada, this is the only one with the closest ingredients (sans Mexoryl) to the Dermo Pediatrics.


Pros:
  • Superior sunscreen, ultra stable with Mexoryl in it.
  • Slightly tacky finish with a sheen to it (think glowy, Becca SSP-like sheen, which is actually quite nice)
  • No white cast whatsoever (even with titanium dioxide in it)
Cons:
  • Not as water resistant as the Dermo Pediatrics
  • Loads of chemical sunscreen means I probably won't use it on children, unless I really have to.
In short, great for moms with normal to dry skin (due to tacky finish), good underneath makeup, even better underneath powder/mineral makeup.

Bonus!

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Preliminary review was posted here. I've finally used this up and I can say that this is perfect for those with normal-oily skin -- on my dry skin, even with layers of hyaluronic lotion + silicone serum + moisturizer, this sunscreen still feels too dry. It has a matte finish with silicone feel, perfect as makeup base but not for silicone-based foundation like GA Maestro (it can ball up!).
Great sunscreen overall, reasonably priced, too. I'm test-driving the UV Daily version that is made for sensitive/post-procedural skin, supposedly more emollient thanks to the mineral oil in the ingredients.


Some final thoughts on children sunscreen:
  • Always reapply. The product is only as good as re-application
  • Stay away from spray sunscreen. Although titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are relatively inert ingredients, it can irritate the lungs when inhaled (not to mention all the vehicle that it comes with!)
  • The best protection for children I found is actually wearing rash guard/SPF clothing. So long as they don't take it off, it is superior to any of the sunscreen you apply
  • These baby/children sunscreens are great for moms, too! They are not "cosmetically elegant," in fact most will make you look like Caspar. But why not? I'd rather be a friendly ghost than wrinkled like a wicked witch.
There you have it, our complete review of sunscreens. Are there any other baby-friendly sunscreens out there we need to try?

3 comments:

  1. Argh, the Goddess Garden one looked so good until I saw aloe vera topping the ingredients list! :( Why must all nice physical ss be aloe-based?! Still shaking my fist at the rank betrayal of BurnOut in reformulating Ocean Tested.

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    1. You are not the first person I know that is allergic to aloe vera, apparently that plant is related/contain the same protein as rubber? or something like that (obvi I'm just making things up here LOL). And yes, most of the "natural" products contain aloe vera, sadly. Hope you can find synthetic that you can use! I love synthetics.. they are god-send for many people.

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  2. My Husband likes the Elta Md. I'm still searching for that perfect sunscreen for my face. I recently had a sample of the Replenix sheer physical cream spf50 that I liked, though it's tough to tell from a small sample sometimes! I do like that it has a lot of antioxidants on top of being a physical sunscreen...only downer is that it has an ingredient I usually try to stay away from - it's near the middle of the list though so maybe it'll be ok. I suppose worst case if I don't like it for my face it'll be relegated to the body like everything else!! Ha ha!

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