Natural Sunscreen Update

| 7/18/2007 12:00:00 AM

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As I'm sure you can imagine, working at Mother Earth News has affected my shopping habits — I'm a much savvier consumer these days. After writing the recent tip on Safe Sunscreen, I went home and rooted through my medicine cabinet to check labels on the sunscreens I've accumulated. When I found many scary-sounding chemicals, I decided to invest in some new, safer sunscreen.

So I hopped on the Environmental Working Group's sunscreen database and did some snooping around. Surprisingly, it took me about an hour to find a product that didn't have micronized nano ingredients, benzophenone-3 (BP-3) or parabens, three of the things I was most concerned about.

Ultimately, I decided to try KINeSYS Sunscreen Spray. While this product contains Parsol 1789, EWG rated its hazard factor as a 2, while BP-3 was rated as a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, with higher scores reflecting higher hazards.

It never ceases to amaze me how hard it can be to ferret out healthy personal care products – even with a great resource like EWG at your fingertips. Or say you buy something from your local health food store and assume it's safe, then read the label later and discover parabens lurking in your favorite lotion or shampoo?

We shouldn't have to 'clean' ourselves with chemicals, or unknowingly expose ourselves to things that haven't properly been tested. Since this topic isn't frequently covered in the mainstream, it seems important to spread the word here about things we're hearing at the office.

That's why I felt compelled to write a follow up on sunscreen. I ordered a bottle of the KINeSYS spray, we'll see how it works. A reader posted a comment to the Safe Sunscreen tip recommending shea butter as a natural sunscreen. Another Mother staff member is planning to give it a try, so we'll keep you posted on our results.

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