The beach season is open once again, and it’s time to buy a ton of sunscreens and enjoy healthy sunbathing. Although there are so many choices, some products should definitely be avoided, as they can pose a threat to everyone and especially for our children. Therefore, it is mandatory to understand the difference between the products.
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Although overall, using sunscreens even on a daily basis is a great way to protect your skin, there are certain precautions you need to know. The recent rating by Environmental Working Group (EWG) determined this year’s worst so-called 'kids friendly' sunscreens. The full list of products you can find here.
Dangers of sunscreens
Unfortunately, sunscreens marketed to children systematically do not differ from those to the general population. Here are certain factors you need to be careful about when choosing a sunscreen:
1. Spray sunscreens
Most people tend to buy sprays simply because it is so much easier to use them on squirming kids. However, it is also so much easier to miss a spot and leave the skin unprotected. Moreover, such sunscreens can pose inhalation risks, especially for the young and developing lungs.
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2. Super high SPF
A lot of sunscreens this year claim SPF above 50. Unfortunately, sun protection factor refers only to protection against UVB rays. These rays burn our skin, whereas UVA rays penetrate it and go deep into our body, increasing the risk of skin cancer. The rays also can accelerate skin aging and suppress our immune system. The FDA recommends using below 50 SPF sunscreens and warns about a false sense of security that this protection may give.
Almost every second sunscreen contains oxybenzone, an active component that penetrates the skin and acts like estrogen flowing through our bloodstream. Some studies linked higher concentrations of oxybenzone to such health issues like endometriosis and lower weights in newborn girls. It can also trigger moderate allergic reactions.
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4. Retinyl palmitate
Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A and is contained in nearly 15 percent of all sunscreens available on the market. Although retinyl palmitate by itself is harmless, studies show that it can accelerate development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin.
The FDA recommends parents to keep their babies away from the sun, as a few sunburns can lead to the increase of skin cancer later in life. The best protection is physical barriers: tents, hats, umbrellas, clothing, etc.
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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.