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Safe Sunscreens for the Family

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Safe Sunscreens for the Family

Over the years we have had drilled into our consciousness that too much sun exposure is bad for our health and the way to avoid damaging our skin is to lather ourselves in sunscreen. A study by The American Cancer Society has stated that 80% of our total lifetime sun exposure occurs within the first 18 years of life so children in particular are at risk. Children are probably the most likely to be to be smothered in sunscreens by well meaning parents too. But is the sunscreen helpful or harmful?

Protection from the sun is important but the chemicals we put on our skin can be harmful, especially to our children and typical sunscreens have LOTS of chemicals.

Over the years the skin care industry has had to increase the level of chemical compounds in sunscreen in order to raise the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level. Researchers from the University of Southern California have, however, recently found that sunscreen can actually cause more harm than good once it is soaked into the skin.

Upon absorption into the skin, sunscreen can actually form the very dangerous compounds it was meant to block. Researchers found that some commonly used ultraviolet (UV) filters actually soak into the skin’s layers and from there can generate harmful components called reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are substances that can cause skin cancer.

Other research has shown that the greatest increases in the cancer melanoma has been experienced in countries where chemical sunscreens are promoted and used widely. Mike Adams of often claims that sunscreen is a scam and that we have zero need for it.

In addition to the cancer risk is the effect of sunscreen on children’s development. Many sunscreen chemicals also have estrogen-like effects. Estrogen is a hormone that affects many aspects of the female body development and functions. Too much exposure to toxic estrogenic chemical sunscreens can increase cancers and cause birth defects in children.

Researchers have found estrogenic sunscreens in the breast milk of mothers at about the same levels as other known environmental contaminants such as PCBs. They further believe that exposure could be significantly increased in childhood by the large amount of sunscreen used by bathers, especially children. Children’s organs are more sensitive to estrogen exposure and can develop abnormalities at their early stages (including embryo, fetus and toddler stages) if exposed.

Limiting exposure to sun and seeking out more healthy skin products that do not contain dangerous ingredients (chemical free choices are available) are possible solutions for you to consider for your children. And we can’t forget that sun exposure is a GOOD thing. We need sunlight exposure for good health so I will rarely apply sunblock to my own kids unless we are going to be in the sun for a prolonged length of time. Otherwise I just let them get some sun and/or use protective clothing to diminish risk. So for a few hours at the zoo…not likely to use it but I will have hats and sunglasses for them and we will be mindful to seek out some shade when we need it. But for an all day trip to the beach…yes I will bring some safe sunscreen.

So what exactly do you need to avoid when choosing a sunscreen? Here are some nasty ingredients you will want to stay away from if you can:

PABA: This is not widely used anymore, but just in case. Many people are very sensitive to this ingredient and can end up with red, itchy skin.

Benzophenone (benzophenone-3), homosalate, and octy-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate): These chemicals are bad news because they have shown estrogenic activity in lab tests. Oxybenzone is aderivative of benzophenone and it is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. According to the CDC 97% of Americans are contaminated with this widely-used sunscreen ingredient.

Parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-): Parabens are common in sunscreens so avoiding them may prove difficult. They are preservatives that have estrogenic qualities. They have produced abnormal hormonal effects following on laboratory rodents, particularly male, resulting in decreased testosterone levels and other abnormalities. They have also been found to accumulate in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer.

Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone): While on the surface of the skin these chemicals appear to prevent UV damage but when absorbed into the skin they can actually damage DNA. There is evidence that the sun’s light may cause these chemicals to become reactive and cause free-radical damage when they’re absorbed. I find it alarming that pediatricians often recommend these very ingredients.

In general if you want to know which sunscreens are usually loaded with the bad stuff….oh just the easy to find ones like Coppertone, Banana Boat, Avon, Nivea, Neutrogena, The Body Shop, etc. Also even some of the ones that appear to be more natural like Kiss My Face or Aveeno have some pretty nasty sunscreens.

In general, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are good choices as they scatter or reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. And since traditional formulations are not absorbed into the skin (thus the white streaks on the skin), there is less risk of the substance building up in your body. Formulations with nano particles may be absorbed into the skin, although since these are natural minerals there is debate about this being an issue but I will point out the ones I know have them.

Here is a list of some of the safer sunscreens I have found:

TruKid’s SunnyDays sunscreen – Safe and affordable. Phthalate, SLS, Paraben Free and the packaging is BPA free.

California Baby SPF 30 + Sunblock Stick – No Fragrance – My top pick for kids! This is a non chemical sunscreen. It uses non-penetrating titanium dioxide (no nano particles) to protect against the sun. It is also made with organic & sustainably grown ingredients.

DO Naturals SPF50 Mineral Sunscreen by Dolphin Organics – 100% natural mineral sunscreen! No parabens, oxybenzone or nanoparticles.

Badger Face & Body Sunblock SPF 30 – There was huge run on this sunscreen not long ago and you could hardly get it. It is known to be one of the safest sunscreens out there.

Elemental Herbs Sunscreen Kids SPF30, SPF30 3 oz – Non-nano zinc oxide, non GMO, gluten free & vegan. PABA free and 75% organic.

Soleo Organics – grapeseed oil, macadamia oil, green tea extract, roman chamomile extract, sunflower oil, beeswax, theobroma butter, candelilla wax, lecithin, vegetable oils, cucumber extract, good stuff…

ThinkBaby Sunscreen – From the makers of the popular BPA free baby bottles and sippy cups. Free of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, No Nano particles, Paraben Free and PABA Free.

Lavera Baby and Children Sun Screen Lotion, SPF 30 – Contains organic peach seed, apricot seed oil and calendula and protects against UV A, B and C rays with waterproof protection.

Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Faceblock SPF 25 – Another chemical free sunblock using non-penetrating titanium dioxide. This has a hint of color…most likely to hide the streaky whiteness of the natural titanium dioxide.


Also don’t forget your protective gear…so you won’t need sunscreen as much:

Legionnaire Hats – These hats for kids have flaps on either side that protect the face, head, and neck areas from getting burned. They are also made with UV protective fabric.

Baby Banz Sunglasses – 100% UV/UVA & UVB ray protection.

Safe Sunscreens for the Family pin

  • rachel

    Wow, did this post just save me a lot of time! Thank you, thank you!

    rachel’s last blog post..36/37 weeks

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I ordered some California Baby sunscreen for my little one and to give to my SIL for her shower.

    Beth Ray’s last blog post..Avery’s Outfit for Today

  • Jennifer

    I like the Badger brand SPF 15 sunscreen. I know and can pronounce ALL of the ingredients. It is safe for the face too. I have a child with extremely sensitive skin and this is the only one that doesn’t make him get red splotches. It also smells nice :)

  • I’m definitely going to be using this guide to buy mine. My hubs is PALE, and for some reason doesn’t like wearing the big floppy gardening hats… So this will help alot! Thanks!!

    Oh yeah, running an eco-friendly contest on my blog check it out!

    Dirkey’s last blog post..Joy in the small things-An Earth Day Contest

  • Sonya

    As my 6 year old had surgery last year to remove an atypical spitzoid melanoma, we are super conscientious of sunscreen here. I let the kids go out for 15 minutes w/o sunscreen but anything longer needs to have sunscreen. 20 minutes in the sun and my kiddos have a mild burn…LOVE the Badger sunscreen, ditto to Jennifer (#3) And yes, last year it was very tough to find after the Environmental Working Group gave it a great rating for safety.

  • Holly Autry

    Great info on sunscreens. I’ve often wondered about how “safe” and just what they truly “screen” if they’re loaded with chemicals you can’t pronounce. Dying to read that book!

  • Jen Mc

    Thanks for the info. I just checked the suncreen I bought last year and I won’t be using it on my son. I’ll definetly be getting one of the brands you mentioned in your post.

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  • Lisa

    Thanks for the info. What do you think of Blue Lizard Australian suncream?

  • Karen

    Great review of sunscreens – big time save – thanks!

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  • Amy

    What are your thoughts on Blue Lizard suntan lotion? Thanks!

  • zirky

    I would like to add another safe sunscreen to the list: Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free sunscreen with hemp seed oil. Paraben-free and phthalate-free.

  • I use California Babies 30+ unscented with my 14 month daughter it works fantastic I highly recommend it. I also don’t apply sunscreen unless we are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Studies are showing that Vitamin D is essential to maintaining health and well being in our bodies. The NIH found that approximately 80% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. There is new research to suggest that vitamin D guards against an array of diseases, including colon, breast, and prostate cancers. If you are interested in reading more about the role vitamin D plays in our overall health you can check out

  • Tamar

    Thank you, this is awesome! I had already gotten the California Baby sunblock stick, but hadn’t had the chance to really sort out what all those ingredients are.

    Tamars last blog post..Spring vest

  • I am a consultant for Arbonne. They carry an infant line of body care products including sunscreen. Their products are botanically based and safe for babies (and adult).

  • Hi Tiffany and everyone,
    I wanted to clear up a comment in Tiffany’s review about the Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm, Miessence does not and never will use any nano sized particles in any of the Miessence products. The Zinc Oxide in Miessence Outdoor Balm is not nanosized, it is micronized.

    Miessence has a sunscreen that does not contain Titanium Dioxide or oxybenzone, parabens, or any of the other harmful ingredients Tiffany has listed in her post.

    The Miessence sunscreen is a physical blocker, containing zinc oxide. The zinc oxide is micronized, not nanoized.

    IT is micronized so that your skin is not totally white after you apply the sunscreen. Micronized sized particles do not pass through your skin.

    Micronization is achieved through mechanical grinding not nano engineering.

    One of the the other benefits of the Miessence sunscreen is there are no other coatings on any of the minerals.

    Titanium must be coated with something to prevent clumping, For instance Dr. Hauschka uses aluminum hydroxide to coat their titanium dioxide. (you can read about this on their website)

    Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm is labeled as SPF 15 but has been tested to SPF 30. I am recommending this if you are looking for a sunscreen free of harmful ingredients.

    I am personally not a big fan of sunscreens and I tend to use hats and cover myself up and stay out of the direct sun as much as I can when I am outside, I try to keep out of the direct sun, that’s my strategy.

    I know that this does not work all the time and there will be times when I cannot do this so my back up is the Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm.

    Miessence Outdoor Balm:
    Complete ingredients list:
    Organic olive, Zinc Oxide, capric triglyceride, Organic Shea Fruit Butter, Organic unrefined beeswax, oat kernel flour, polygonoum multiflorum root extract, natural vitamin e, organic carnauba wax, Organic olive fruit oil, Organic Rosemary Extract, dunaliella salina algae extract

    Warm regards,
    Erin Ely
    Miessence Certified Organics
    ONE Group Independent Representative

  • Hi,
    Someone has asked about Blue Lizard Sunscreen
    you can go to their site and read their ingredients list; that is the key to evaluating a product like this, any personal care product needs complete ingredients lists to be able to evaluate it.

    There are many, many synthethic chemicals in this product
    you can view an ingredients list here:

    This is the key, to learn how to evaluate ingredients lists….any claim of safe, organic, natural, pure, beneficial, botanical must be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to products like this…the only true way to evaluate them is to see an ingredients list.

    Here is a run down of the ingredients list for the Blue Lizard Regular sunscreen:

    “Active Ingredeients”
    Zinc Oxide

    “Inactive ingredients”
    Purified water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Sterate, Polyglycerl-4 Isoterate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Trimethylated Silica/Dimethecone, Octododecyl Neopentanoate, VP/hexadcene Copolymer, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castoer Oil, Sorbitol Oleate and Hydrogenated Castor Oil and Beeswax and Stearic acid, Cetyl Dimethicone, Methylparaben and Propylparaben and Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tocopheryl Acetate and FRAGRANCE

    This is where I beg to differ from EWG, the ingredients list is full of petrochemical based ingredients, silicone derivatives, paraben preservatives, formaldehyde releasing chemical (diazolidinyl Urea).

    I looked on EWG and these products do rate from 1 to 3.

    Personally, this is not a product I would use due to the massive amount of chemical based ingredients, much of the ingredients except for the zinc oxide, water, beeswax, castor oil (that has been hydrogenated) are synthetic petroleum based chemicals.

    If you have no problem slathering yourself with chemicals, then I guess there is no problems.

    Really, I want to encourage you to read the ingredients list on the products, even if a product claims to be pure and natural, beneficial, organic, etc….the key is reading the ingredients list to really evaluate this for yourself.


    • K Mac

      I completely agree with Erin and I am SO VERY GLAD to see someone else understands that the EWG is FLAT OUT WRONG on so many issues.

      I have a potential contact with the EWG and hope to discuss some of these issues with her. They are trying hard but getting it wrong so much of the time.

      For a fairly complete list of ingredients to avoid, including glycerin unless specifically stated “vegetable” glycering, this is a great start:

      I’m sure Suki won’t mind that I shared this with you.

      There is a long list of companies that even educated parents are purchasing products from that are really lying about being safe products, including:

      Jason Natural/Earth’s Best
      Kiss my Face
      Alba Organics
      Nature’s Baby Organics
      Erba Organics
      Nature’s Gate
      Hugo Naturals
      Aubrey Organics
      lots of Avalon Organics
      Aura Cacia unless it’s the plain one ingredient organic oils, Avalon Organics are same deal as Aura Cacia: only get the massage oil
      lots of the Cali Baby

      anyway, glad to see Erin’s posting, good luck parents, it’s so hard out there to find totally pure stuff

      We like Suki (the best!), Badger Balm, SOME California Baby, SOME Weleda, SOME Panagea, SOME Desert Essences, Some MyChelle

      Also, I must disagree with Marla when she says that most products in places like Whole Food, Wild Oats don’t contain petrochemicals, etc. Whole Foods hardly carries any brands that DON’T! They carry most of the brands I listed above that should be avoided. Wild Oats used to have a better selection but now that they are owned by Whole Foods, I’m not sure, haven’t been in one in about a year. I am SO very disappointed with Whole Foods for carrying these deceptive brands. They do carry my Suki and Badger Balm but the WF price is ABOVE manufacturer’s retail!!!!!! THAT is TOTALLY ridiculous, I get my Suki at my local coop for 10-20% off retail, and when needed I order direct from for LESS THAN I can get it at Whole Foods! That’s ridiculous.

      Also, check out for pretty complete info on sunscreens and vitamin D. I have long been a proponent of not using very much sunscreen at all. We only use Badger Balm and MyChelle, sparingly, and did not use any when we lived in the pacific northwest. I still need to check out the ingredients in UV Naturals, Mercola, and Lavera.

      Thanx for reading and good luck.
      not much else, unfortunately…

  • erica

    what about aveeno products??

  • Hi Erica,

    Aveeno Sunblock lotion SPF 45

    Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3.0%) (Sunscreen), Octisalate (5.0%) (Sunscreen), Octocrylene (2.4%) (Sunscreen), Oxybenzone (6.0%) (Sunscreen)

    Inactive Ingredients: BHT, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja Seed Extract (Soybean), Hydroxethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer (Soybean), Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylparaben, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Propylparaben, Silica, Squalane, Synthetic Bees Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trimethyl Siloxysilicate, VP Eicosene Copolymer, Water, Xanthan Gum

    What do you think?
    essentially chemicals, basically all chemicals really, with some of the worst offending chemicals, scary stuff.

    The Truth of the product is in the ingredients list, not what it says on the label, not what the company marketing tells you, if you can’t pronounce the names and they all sound like chemicals they are chemicals, where are the natural ingredients in this list?

    Unbelievable stuff here….
    take a look at the rating for this particular product on the Environmental Working Groups skin deep data base:

    It rates an 8 (out of 10), which is in the high hazard category.


    Erin Ely
    Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm; organic sunscreen

  • erica

    wow and i just bought 2 tubes of this stuff..
    so i saw that cali baby was top pick. i’m assuming i have to order that online.
    is their a cheaper safe one? also what about lotions and body washes then? i use johnson head to toe wash and aveeno lotion

  • Hi Erica,
    If you can return them and get your money back you might want to do that.

    In regards to the California Baby, that is Tiffany’s reccomendation.

    I went to their website, California Baby and this was somewhat disappointing because they are not showing their ingredients lists, this is a red flag for me right from the beginning.

    they do talk about all the ingredients that are not in the product:

    But this does not help me much so I went to the EWG website and looked up the product, they have a good rating for the product, it rates a 1, that is low hazard.

    This is where I differ from EWG, although I think it’s an awesome database and they are doing great things bringing these issues to the forefront.

    I have been working with ONE Group (the manufactures of Miessence) in getting Miessence products into the EWG database.
    ONE Group is also a signer of the campaign for safe cosmetics. For us, it’s a secondary issue, Cosmetic manufacturers who sign “The Pledge” agree to try to remove harmful ingredients from cosmetics within the next three years and to comply with the European Union’s regulations banning harmful, carcinogenic and untested cosmetic ingredients. The Campaign is a worthy effort to bring consumer, industry and legislative focus on this important issue, however, all Miessence Skin Care products already conform to European safety regulations plus many of them meet a third party independent certification standard for organic.

    This is wildly beyond what California baby has. I’m not saying it’s a bad product there are levels of this.

    On EWG, I found an ingredients list for California Baby’s Fragrance free sunscreen and their rating:

    Ingredients from packaging: Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide Other Ingredients: aqua (purified water), lysine cocoate (coconut fatty acid), cyclomethicone (water repellant/ silicone), vegetable glycerin (coconut), dipolyhydroxystearate (coconut), candelilla cera (candelilla wax), tocopherol (vit.e), *cocos nucifera oil (coconut), *squalane (olive oil), * magnesium sulfate (epsom salts), panthenol and allatoin (vit b.complex factor), magnesium stearate, *phospholipid (emollient, coconut source), polyaminopropyl biguanide (extremely mild antimicrobial; no formaldehyde or formaldehyde donors, non-solvent and non-genotoxic). *organic or sustainable

    This is where I diverge from EWG’s evaluation of ingredients.
    They are focused on chemical based ingredeints, because they are using information coming from CIR, and most studies are centered on chemical’s not botanicals.

    California Baby is much, much better than Aveeno there is no doubt about it.

    I personally have two issues with their ingredients:

    1) Titanium dioxide; generally this is an unstable ingredient and can create free radicals when exposed to sunlight, it clumps so it must be coated with something to keep this from happening, not sure what they are coating their titanium with…..I know Dr. Hauscka coats their titanium dioxide with aluminum hydroxide:

    It’s possible that the dimethecone is the coating they are using on their Titanium dioxide, dimethecone is a silicone derivative and it is commonly used for coating minerals like titanium dioxide.

    They are using chemical, because they are using “derived” from ingredients. When you see this terminology on an ingredients list, it’s essentially a marketing approach to sway you into “submission” because when you see that you think “Oh this is from coconut” so it must be natural.

    Derived from ingredients must be extracted and they do this using chemicals and at the end of the process they are no longer have any relationship to coconut, so I say that using that kind of listing on an ingredients list is somewhat misleading for consumers because if they just put the chemical name you would not have the same perception about these “derived from” ingredients.

    In this instance you get what you pay for. the California baby sunscreen is $17.99 for 2.9 oz or $6.20 per oz.

    yes it’s a bit more than your Aveeno but it’s definitely much, much safer.

    Miessence Reflect Outdoor balm; which I listed the ingredients for already in an earlier post is $26.95 for 3.5 oz and that makes it $7.70 per oz, this is the next level up, I have not seen another sunscreen on the market as clean as this, yes I know I am biased but it’s true.

    oh my in regards to Johnson head to toe wash,
    all of them rate 4, 5, 6 on the EWG database which puts them in the moderate risk category:

    Erica, you should get on the EWG database and look at your products girl, you will want to change all of them. At least this will give you a basis to start from.

    You can be a price shopper but that could get you in to trouble….

    read the ingredients list before you buy something…use your common knowledge and intuition, if there are long list of chemical names on the product, it is not natural and it’s not organic and most of us know that, we just get sucked in by the marketing.

    I am sorry but the Miessence products are not showing up in EWG right now because we just updated a bunch of formulations and they have not put them back up yet….we had over 70 products listed at one time….hopefully they will be back up soon.

    Gotta run.

    All the best,

    Erin Ely
    ONE Group Independent Representative
    Miessence Certified Organics

  • I even use sunblock in the winter, though I switch to a lower SPF. I like Weleda’s Edelweiss Suncream SPF20 for the face.

    Juless last blog post..Moisturisers

  • Marla


    I also wanted to point out something a little more in depth about the danger of using products like Johnson & Johnson that Erin didn’t. It’s also not limited to that company, but most regular store brands, even ones that are typically considered more expensive use peto-chemicals (like Erin mentioned).

    I feel like it’s important to understand why these are dangerous. Petochemicals are any substance that is created as a byproduct to petroleum. Such common ingredients are Mineral Oil, Petrolatum (or any ingredient that starts with petro…), and Paraffin. There are about 60 different names for mineral oil that companies use.

    Petroleum (mineral oil) is very cheap and there aren’t regulations regarding it’s use in the US. However, mineral oil is technically listed as a known carcinogen (cancer causing) with the EPA. Petroleum is created through a refining process after the oil is seperated from Crude oil to created gasoline. It’s refined further into a variety of substances and textures and given different names. But this can also be a good time to point out that everything that is natural isn’t always beneficial.

    The reason these ingredients aren’t beneficial to us is that they cannot be absorbed into the skin because the size of their molecular structure is too large. This essentially coats the skin and prevents it from breathing or releasing toxins from the body. It would be like covering all of your skin with ceran wrap tightly. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out. The skin isn’t aborsing any potentially good ingredients the comany has put in your product and your skin isn’t able to regulate it’s body temperature. Because mineral oil and other petrol ingredients give a very slick feeling on the skin, it causes people to think they are being hydrated, but they are actually suffocating their skin. This is why when something like chapstick or a lotion wears off people feel an urgency to reapply. Their skin is actually very dehydrated.

    Why then do companies use these ingredients? They are extremely cheap and don’t go bad. A gallon of mineral oil is about a dollar, compared to essential oils which are very beneficial to our skin and bodies which can range depending on it’s type, but can easily reach over $100 per gallon with an expiration date. Most companies are looking for the largest profit possible, and pretrol ingredients are good as keeping cost of production down.

    If a bottle of lotion is $3.00 retail, is costs Target $1.50 to purchase it from their wholesale distributor. That distributor has be able to make a profit as well and they purchase it probably for around .75. This means that the original creator of the product has to create and package it’s product, pay for advertising, cost of business, etc. for still make profit for less than 75 cents each. The actual cost of the product itself is probably 10 or 15 cents. I ask myself, what quality of ingredients can a company use to make a lotion for 10 or 15 cents? Something to think about.

    I realize that for any family, affordability is key. The cost of a family is substantial. There are many great companies who use high quality ingredients and strive for safety of product as well as effective results. Try looking for a company who doesn’t advertise or who isn’t distributed through a regular big box store or typical grocer. Products found through stores like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, co-ops, etc. usually don’t contain these ingredients or other harmful chemicals. Also, there are several reputable network marketing or direct sales companies that are able to offer a great product due to their cost of business being so low. If spending $10 or $15 on lotion 2 times a year (give or take) seems like to much, just put it into perspective to the rest of your life. I spend more than that a month on chai tea.

    Erin is very knowledgeable on product safety and she loves her comany, which is why she is biased to them. I have not used their products, but am sure they are fantastic. But don’t be disuaded from using a brand like California Baby who does have a fantastic product as well.

    Good luck.

  • Frugal Babe

    Thanks for this post. I got some california baby sunscreen as a gift – glad to see it on the list. The whole time I was pregnant, I avoided sunscreen, lotions, even regular shampoo and conditioner. I have very fair skin, so my only option was to stay out of the sun or cover up. I got used to wearing light weight shirts with long sleeves, and I wear a wide brimmed hat any time I’m outside. I’m doing the same thing with our son. lightweight sleepers with “footsies” are my favorite, as they cover all of him. And hats with tails that cover the neck are great too. When we do eventually take him in the water, he’ll be wearing long shorts and a rashguard, rather than half a cup of sunscreen – but I’m glad that we have good sunscreen for the parts of him that we can’t cover up.

  • sarah crahan

    I just got back from the Bahamas and used Aveeno for my sensitive skin and I have patchy burns all over my face. Now I know how harmful these chemicals can be and I will be be consulting this list next time!! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get my face back to normal and what to use for regular moisturinzing? The areas are sensitive to the touch, red and slightly raised.

  • Hi Sarah,
    Wow that sounds painful. I have a couple of suggestions for you.

    1. moisturizing for sensitive skin would be the Miessence soothing line but before you consider only a moisturizer I would reccomend the Miessence soothing conditioner too, that’s really going to help.

    Miessence soothing conditioner:

    Miessence soothing moisturizer:

    and for the spots right now, the soothing cuperose gel
    very concentrated levels of chamomile

    and if you want to get a special deal until the end of Feb you can order a soothing skin essentials pack and get a free rejuvenating facial serum.

    you can read about this on my blog:

    all the best with your healing.


  • Soma Pal saha

    Are sunsreen really good or necessary for children skin ?

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  • jasmine

    While your at it think about being reef friendly. There are many sunscreens out there that arn’t harmful to the reef as well “reef friendly” Come in deifferent scenets such as watermelon etc. Blocking the sun may be good for us, but blocking the sea world from growing is another story!

  • connie

    Hello Tiffany,
    Do you have any information about Vanicream sunscreen for sensitive cream. I am finding it is getting good reviews but is it safe? Thanks!

  • Hi Connie,
    I looked up this Vanicream sunscreen and this is what I found:
    on the description it sounds good but when you look at the ingredients, it’s very deceptive.

    they can say what they want in regards to working for people with sensitive skin, there are no regulations on this, it’s not monitored basically they can say what ever they want.

    You can read more about this in Ruth Winter’s book: Cosmetic Dictionary or something like that. basically, there truly is no way a company can promise anyone that they will not have a reaction to a product like this…unfortunately this is what you would call marketing hype.

    when you read the ingredients list, it just does not hold water to how they are describing the actual product.

    Vanicream Sunscreen Features

    * Total broad spectrum protection – blocks UVA I, UVA II, and UVB rays.
    * Free of PABA, preservatives, and common chemical irritants, including dyes, parabens, formaldehyde releasers, and fragrance, making it ideal for those with chemical sensitivities or sensitive skin.
    * Light, transparent formula is easy to spread and moisturizing.
    * Multipurpose use – use on both face and body.
    * Non-comedogenic – won’t clog pores.

    Active Ingredients

    SPF 30: Titanium dioxide 5%, zinc oxide 5%
    SPF 60: Titanium dioxide 7.5%, zinc oxide 7.5%
    Inactive Ingredients

    Alumina, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl isononanoate, cetyl alcohol, isopropyl titanium triisostearate/triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer, magnesium sulfate, methylpropanediol, PEG-12 dimethicone, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, phenyl trimethicone, polyethylene, polyhydroxystearic acid, purified water, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, stearyl dimethicone, tetrasodium EDTA, tocopheryl acetate, triethoxycaprylylsilane

    I can tell you just from looking at the ingredients list, there are several different combinations of silicone derivitates, dimethicone, stearyl dimethicone, phenyl trimethecone….

    here is just a glimpse of the problems with just this one ingredient.

    Silicone derived emollients

    Silicone emollients are occlusive – that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.)

    Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumour promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.

    * Dimethicone
    * Dimethicone Copolyol
    * Cyclomethicone

    Personally I would not use it.

    You can take a look on the EWG skin deep data base.


  • connie

    Thank you Erin,
    I appreciate all the detailed information you were able to uncover. It looks like I will be looking for a different product for my kids who have very sensitive skin and have always broken out in a rash with sunscreens.

  • Hi Connie,
    Just because a sunscreen says it will work for sensitive skin does not necessarily make it so. Tiffany has an extensive list here on other options for sunscreens.

    I use Miessence sunscreen which is one that Tiffany listed, and my qualifier, I sell Miessence just so you know.

    If you look at Tiffany’s list there are several options. The only way to know if it will work for you is to try it.

    I have 15 day money back on the Miessence sunscreen if you want to check it out on my site:

    Personally, I am not a huge user of sunscreen, I say use it sparingly.


  • Maria

    Thank you for the extremely helpful info here – what do you think of MD Mom’s Baby Silk sunscreen towelettes?

  • In Regards to the MD Mom’s Baby Silk Sunscreen towlettes…

    WOW, that’s all I can say.
    they say what the don’t have but when you read the ingredients list you will be blown away.

    take a look at the “ingredients” list, there is no way to “lift” it from the site the way they have it set up. you can put your cursor over the tab that says “ingredients” and you’ll see the list

    WOW, you can’t pronounce most of the names of chemicals they use, and it’s a lengthy list of chemicals just to list a few of them
    cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiecone, Isononyl Isononamate, Disodium EDTA, fragrance,

    Personally, I would not touch it.

    This is the thing, forget what the company claims, forget what is on the label, READ the ingredients list, that’s where the truth of the product is, in the ingredients list.

    They can say whatever they want, but the truth is in the ingredients list.


  • The more I look at the site: MD Moms the madder I get,
    honestly this is just so deceptive.

    Their ingredients are off the chart.

    The one product I could find listed on the EWG skin deep database was the diaper cream.

    It rates in the high hazard level. This is the kind of stuff that really bothers me, the products are presented as designed by MD moms and there are no phthalates, but there are other chemicals that are just as harmful. For instance parabens that are endocrine disruptors and other problematic ingredients.

    It’s really not fair to consumers, it’s all about the marketing.

    This is the type of misleading marketing that I am seriously upset by.

    look at their claims:

    * Contains no phthalates, lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum or waxes
    * Clinically tested & hypoallergenic
    * Made in the USA
    * No animal testing

    OK, if you look at the long list of chemicals that are in the products this is just so deceptive.

    “no animal testing” means that they did not do the animal testing but the chemicals they are using HAVE been tested on animals, they were tested by the chemical manufacturer, not the MD moms formulator, so this is a trick.

    the term “hypoallergenic” is also somewhat disingenuous.

    this quote from the

    “The best way to protect yourself is to read labels (use a magnifying glass if necessary) and be suspicious: Words like “natural” or “hypoallergenic” look reassuring, but they’re basically meaningless. The FDA has no control over these labels. Products called “natural,” for instance, may include synthetic dyes and fragrances. “Hypoallergenic” just means that the most common irritants are left out, but other problematic chemicals might still be in the mix.”


  • Erin Ely

    In regards to Blue Lizard:

    here is link to the ingredients list:

    this is a PDF file so it takes a bit to load, they have all the traditional chemical preservatives, formaldehyde releasing chemicals, and also ingredients that would be contaminated with dioxane & loads of other NON natural ingredients. Very misrepresented from what I see from looking at the ingredients list.

    On the skin deep database they rate anywhere from 2 (low hazard) to 7 (high hazard) it appears they are using nano ingredients also. They DID not sign the compact for safe cosmetics and it is unknown if they test on animals, well I can tell you that their ingredients have been tested on animals regardless of if they are doing it themselves or not.

    Personally I would not touch it.


  • Sue

    Hi, I was wondering what you thought of Blue Lizard sunscreen. It is actually from Australia and supposed to be very good and natural. I just bought some but will return it if it is not as good as the others you listed. Thanks.

  • Susan

    Jason Natural Sunbrella Chemical Free Sunblock 46 contains Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.

  • Carrie

    Erin, I’d like to know your opinion of TruKid Sunny Days Sunblock. I’ve seen it on many natural websites (including this one) as a safe sunblock. I hope it is because I just ordered two bottles!

    • Hey Carrie,

      EWG seems to like it and gives it a good rating…but when I looked it up on EWG, it’s not showing all the ingredients on the rated product that are actually listed on the company website on the product page, so this is somewhat confusing,

      So from what I can tell the product rated in EWG is not showing the same ingredients list that I see listed on the TruKid website. The one on EWG actually have fewer ingredients and it’s not showing many of the chemical ingredients that I see on the company website ingredients list….not sure why this is.

      In regards to my personal preference, it has a lot of ingredients that I do not know what they are, so just my own preference, I would most likely not use it, because I don’t know what some of the ingredients are.

      I see the first ingredient as titanium dioxide, I think I wrote about that in an earlier post here.

      The price seems reasonable, but there is a reason it’s priced the way it is, it has to do with the quality of the ingredients. chemicals are much, less expensive than certified organic plant extracts and certified organic essential oils, that’s just the way it is.

      Generally, certified organic extracts and essential oils cost 3 to 300 times what chemical ingredients cost….there is a price to be paid for quality ingredients in this instance.

      Here’s the ingredients list:
      Sunny Days� SPF 30+ Natural Mineral Sunscreen

      ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Micronized Titanium Dioxide 10%, Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis*, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Tocopherol Acetate, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Juice)*, Sodium PCA, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinyl Palmate (Vitamin A), Panthenol (Vitamin B), Allantion, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Disodium Oleamido Sulfosuccinate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Oil, Citrus Junos (Yuzu) Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Oil.


  • Carrie

    I have also used California Baby sunblock and shampoo and really like the products. They might not be perfect but I do believe they are much safer than your typical store brands (Johnson & Johnson).

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  • Crystal

    Have you tried Cactus Juice? I use their products all the time. Unfortunately I don’t have a bottle handy (have to order some more) and their website doesn’t list ingredients. But awhile back I emailed the company to inquire about their ingredients since my second son was practically born with ezcema. They didn’t get very specific – I assume they were protecting their trade secrets – but did say that all their ingredients are 100% natural.

  • Hi Crystal,
    I did look at their site and you are right they do not show any ingredients lists. This is a red flag, they do not have to hide their ingredients lists to protect their “trade secret” this is downright deceptive on my thinking.

    The term 100% natural actually does not mean anything on a product like this. Without an ingredients list to read there is no real way to know if they really are natural ingredients.

    It’s just another way to lull product buyer into complacency.

    They must label the product bottle with the ingredients so, the “trade secret” thing does not hold up to scrutiny.

    Perhaps you’ll post the ingredients the next time you have a bottle.


  • Cassie


    What do you think about SOLEO ORGANICS SUNSCREEN SOLEO MARINE MIST? I found it on Skin Deeps website but am not sure where to buy it, or if it is really the “safest”. Also, if it is safe for a toddler.


  • Hey Cassie,
    Sure it looks fine, no real bad ingredients from what I can tell.

    There are links from EWG to shops where you can order the sunscreen you mention. The “mist” is actually an after sun product, that’s not the sunscreen it’s self.

    The price is about double what Miessence sunscreen is.

    You need to look at the quantity and the price, the store I saw said it retailed for $14.00 for 1.0 oz, that’s $14.00/ounce

    Miessence sunscreen is $26.95 but that’s for 3.5 oz. which makes it about half the cost of the Soleo brand, which means Miessence is about $7.70/ounce

    On EWG they give Miessence a rating of 2, it’s mis rated but they will not take into account that it has actually been tested to spf 29.5, even though it’s labeled 15. Also, the “unspecified essential oils” are not unspecified, but that has not been updated. And the “contamination” for the ingredient tocopherol, is just incorrect…but that’s the way it goes, you’re at the mercy of the rating system.

    The only way to know is to buy it and try it. That would be true for any sunscreen. It seems like a clean product but you won’t know if it will work for you unless you buy it and try it.

    I don’t think there is any such thing as “the safest”. I think there are several safe sunscreens on EWG.

    Personally, I minimize my exposure, wear a hat, stay in the shade when I can and minimize my use of sunscreen.

    all the best,

  • Jess

    In my search for the best sunscreen I can feel good about slathering my children with, I found Kabana Skin Care’s Green Screen.

    Their posted ingredients are as follows:
    Green Screen® Organic SPF 20 Sunscreen ONLY contains the following 8 organic and natural edible-grade ingredients:

    1. 25% Zinc Oxide
    2. Eldorado Springs Artesian Water
    3. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    4. Organic Jojoba Oil
    5. Vegetable Glycerin
    6. Organic Shea Butter
    7. Vegetable Emulsifying Wax
    8. Vegetable Vitamin E

    Have you heard of this one? I’m thinking of ordering this for when we go on vacation. They’re offering free shipping until June 8th too!

  • I did research on toxicity of sunscreen and wrote an article at Kabana Skin Care does have really great ingredients and doesn’t use nanoparticles. It’s the purest sunscreen I’ve found so far.


  • Karen

    I am new to this website & with skin cancer in my family, I have been covering my boys religiously w/ sunscreen. I need to go see where to buy the recommended brands.

    Anyway, someone mentioned that they wear light weight long sleeve shirts….aren’t the UVA (or UVB..not sure which) rays still penetrating your clothing??….or do you have all spf clothing? Just curious ;)


  • dana

    Hello, What do you know about Arbonne’s sunscreen? Thank you in advance for your insight.

    • K Mac

      Hi, I would say to check the ingredients using, go to the “our ingredients” tab, choose, “ingredients to avoid”

      Suki’s list is much more accurate and comprehensive than the comesticsdatabase found on EWG website. The EWG is trying but they fall so short….they do not have a good system in place for researching the ingredients. They do not have an accurate input system, yet all the companies are supposed to input their own ingredients list…

      I would not trust the EWG, really sorry to say it. Suki’s research is accurate and the company is truthful..

      I know Arbonne contains several ingredients to avoid. Again, get a tube, search online for ingredients in the Arbonne sutff on a site that sells Arbonne but also lists ingredients, then check on

      Good luck. The ONLY safe sunscreen I have found is Badger Balm…I have researched every single one, (I think)!

      • K Mac

        ok, it looks like MiEssence is another safe sunscreen…I just checked it out and need to research capric triglyceride….will post back after I find out more about this ingredient.

        K Mac

      • Hi K Mac,

        Here’s a bit of info on caprylic triglyceride, it’s “fractionaded coconut oil” this is an oil (caprylic trigliceride) that that the micronized zinc oxide comes in from the ingredient supplier to the company (ONEgroup) that manufactures Miessence.

        Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, a mixed triester of caprylic and capric acids, is a highly refined medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil possessing excellent oxidation stability with an almost indefinite shelf life. CCT is a desirable emollient with quick skin penetration and has no color, odor or taste. Great as a dispersing agent and useful as a solvent for vitamins and actives. Excellent as a superfatting oil in soapmaking and improves spreading of skincare formulas. Used in massage, it will not stain sheets. Also called Fractionated Coconut Oil. Cosmetic grade.

      • Where do I find the ingredients to avoid at sukipure?

    • I have found most of Arbonne’s ingredients are not safe Dana.

  • Hi Dana,
    Unfortunately, Arbonne does not disclose their ingredients lists on their website, a major RED flag for me.

    Very unfair to consumers who want to know what they are buying BEFORE they make a purchase not after.

    You can look up some of the Arbonnne products on the EWG website:
    there are 49 Arbonne products listed on EWG with ratings from moderate to high hazard ratings,

    The one Arbonne sunscreen they did rate has a HIGH hazard rating.

    I guess you can make your own opinion about what you think of them.

    If you have a bottle of the sunscreen in front of you, go to the EWG website and look up the ingredients that are used in the product.


  • Lili

    Thanks for the post! Green Healthy Baby has their chemical-free sunscreens on sale! Plus, I got a coupon for an extra 10% off with coupon code “Mom10”. I agree with your list– and I really like the Jason sunscreen too.

  • lindsay

    I love badger!!! It’s thick but it does the job!!! and great! It actually lsasts a long time and it’s waterproof. I used it in arizona one hot day when it was about 110 deg. and I forgot to re apply after a while and we were outside for 3 hours…We got no burns or even no tan lines…it was awesome!!!

  • What I do is making my own sunscreen – natural, completely chemicals free and cheap. My recipe is:

    2 1/2 ounces coconut oil
    1 1/2 ounces cocoa butter
    1/2 ounce beeswax
    4 ounces water
    2 tablespoons zinc oxide
    25 drops grapefruit seed extract
    vitamin E (optional)

    Melt oil, cocoa butter & beeswax over medium heat. Add water slowly while mixing – mix until creamy, add other ingredients.

    I actually make my own natural baby salves, massage oils, etc. There are some more recipes here:

    • CaliOaj

      Where do you get pharmaceutical grade zinc oxide

    • Good, but grapefruit seed extract isn’t natural.  It’s a synthetic chemical. 

    • Hi Tiffany-
      Honestly haven’t heard of homemade sunscreens before- very generous resource on your part.
      Any idea what level of SPF your version has?  I would imagine the zinc oxide makes it pretty high.

    • Brielle Cotterman

      Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe for natural sunscreen!

  • The sun is indeed very important to our health, as it’s our main source of Vitamin D. I follow your same line of thought as far as sunscreen use and only ever use it when I know I’ll be in the sun for a very long period of time.

    My favorite brands are Jason and Burt’s Bees.

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  • adriana shuman

    have you heard about Soleo Sunscreen? It is all organic and natural tested by . I absolutely love this one.

    • Adriana,

      based upon the description for the soleo sunscreen on your website it appears that Soleo uses nanoparticles in their sunscreen:
      “revolutionary nanofine zinc technology to provide comprehensive sun protection, without leaving your skin white.”

      if this is correct, I would not want to put this on my kids or myself.

      • Dani

        I’m wondering about that too. I have a 2 bottles of Soleo and on the label it says “non-nano zinc”. I wonder if they had a formula change or my labels are wrong? I went to the Soleo website and didn’t see anything there. I will ask them! Thanks so much for finding that!

      • Dani
  • adriana shuman

    I love this post and my organic children store carries Soleo Sunscreen ! my organic baby :) and I use it and love it.

  • Chandra

    I like Badger, but not crazy about the scent. I do see they make an unscented version now. I have Loving Naturals for this year and really like it!

  • adriana shuman

    i love soleo. its organic and its 100% natural and no chemical additives. My whole family uses it.

  • Jill

    I just got Dr. Mercola’s natural sunscreen. What do you know about that?
    We like it and it has no chemicals or nano particles.

    • Never seen it before Jill. I will look into it. :)

    • I know this is old, but I looked at his sunscreen.  It’s hard to tell because he doesn’t disclose all the ingredients on his website.  I do see he uses titanium dioxide which is photosensitive and breaks down in the sun causing DNA damage.  I’d like to see the bottle though to get a full picture of what’s in it.

  • Dr. Mercola’s sunscreen is decent, the main difference between what miessence does and Dr. Mercola: he uses Tiatnium Dioxide, an ingredient that miessence feels is unstable and unless it has some kind of coating on it, it creates free radicals when exposed to sunlight.

    also miessence only uses active ingredients, every ingredient in miessence is beneficial and active.

    Dr. Mercola Sunscreen

    Active Ingredients
    Titanium Dioxide (6.0%), Zinc Oxide (22.5%)

    Inactive Ingredients
    Deionized Water, Sunower Oil, Lecithin, Coconut Oil,
    Glycerine, Xanthan Gum, Green Tea Extract, Jojoba Oil,
    Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin
    A), Shea Butter, Eucalyptus Oil.

    • Thx Erin!

    • Titanium dioxide is not ideal since it has the ability to cause DNA damage in human cells and there is some concern that it may be carcinogenic. I use Kabana Green Screen Organic Skin Tone Tinted Sunscreen, a zinc oxide sunscreen. It doesn’t have nanoparticles and doesn’t make my skin white.

  • adriana

    thank you Erin!!!! What a bad typo! I really appreciate you catching it and telling me about!!!!!!!
    Soleo uses NON Nano particles

  • Elise

    I absolutely LOVE the MiEssence sun screen — L O V E that it is packed with only good, organic to the food-grade level ingredients! So pure you can eat it! :)

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  • Melissa

    Hi there, just wondering where most of these sunscreens are available? I am from Canada and i have noticed that drugstores don’t carry these name brands. Do I need to go to Natural or Herbal store? Thanks in advance.

    • Online will be your best bet Melissa.

      • Melissa

        thanks! Any good websites to recommend? Are they expensive?

  • In case you are interested Melissa, the Environmental Working Group just came out with their 2010 sunscreen recommendations.

    They reviewed 500 sunscreens and out of all of those they only recommended 39 of them.

    Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens

    miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm is in the top recommendations.

    You can purchase miessence online on my website and we do ship to Canada.

    it is labeled SPF 15 Due to regulations in Australia for SPF ratings, miessence would have to have this product manufactured in a licensed SPF facility (instead of their own manufacturing plant) to claim an SPF higher than 15. **miessence submitted it for third party testing which gave it a rating of SPF level 29.5″

    • Melissa

      thanks so much for those great websites! Just curious is the Miessence good for toddlers? Is the SPF high enough?

      • Hi Melissa,
        did you read the sunscreen report?

        ther eis also Top Sun Safety Tips provided as part of the article.

        read the tips and you can decide if miessence is what you are looking for.

        SPF 29.5 is a good level. You’ll be hard pressed to find a sunscreen that is over SPF 30 and is still on the recommend list.

        when I was a kid we used straight zinc oxide on our nose and face. that’s white, and is a complete physical blocker. I used to swim and be outside all day when I was a kid and I grew up in New Mexico.


  • Marc

    So glad to see all this great information on here!

    I’m a somewhat new father of twins and here in California we have been spending A LOT of time out in the sun whenever possible. Up until I read this blog this evening, my wife and I had just been using lots and lots of baby oil on our little ones when we headed out to the beach (I know what you are thinking, but don’t worry it is organic).

    So far it has been working well, but now I’m definitely going to search for these brands at the store.

  • Court

    Does anyone know how Blue Lizard Sunscreen is? I’ve heard that’s it’s a decent sunscreen.

  • Jenica

    I like the California Baby better than the Badger.  The Badger is really thick, and pretty greasy.  It was a bear to get off once we were out of the sun.  

  •  You also want to avoid titanium dioxide.  Yes, it’s natural but it is photosenstive and breaks down in the sun causing DNA damage.  Not a good quality for a sunscreen.

    Another product I would add to your list is Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm.  It uses zinc oxide as it’s sunscreen.  Zinc is the only safe sunscreen.  It’s been used safely for hundreds of years.  The ingredients are very nourishing to the skin.  You can see them here

    It is legally rated at SPF 15, but that’s only because it is produced in Miessence’s own factory not outsourced to an SPF rated factory.  Independent testing has found the SPF to be between 27 & 29.  Anything over SPF 30 is unnecessary as SPF 30 blocks 98% of the sun’s rays.

  • JC

    Here’s a link to a great website for checking the danger ratings for a vast variety of products: 

  • Sarah

    This blog and the comments people made are alarming.  Please read all of the ingredients and their percentages.  Consider where the sunblock is going once you wash it off.  If you live in town and it goes to a wastewater treatment plant from your shower, it is ending up in streams and eventually the ocean, so words such as “bioaccumulation” should alarm you if it is associated with your product.  Titanium and zinc oxide sunblocks may have the best overall score, but there are merely diaper rash cream and those chemicals are harmful also possibly moreso than conventional “petro”-based sunblocks you are advising against.  Read on, before choosing: but only for starters.

  • Sarah

    This blog and the comments people made are alarming.  Please read all of the ingredients and their percentages.  Consider where the sunblock is going once you wash it off.  If you live in town and it goes to a wastewater treatment plant from your shower, it is ending up in streams and eventually the ocean, so words such as “bioaccumulation” should alarm you if it is associated with your product.  Titanium and zinc oxide sunblocks may have the best overall score, but there are merely diaper rash cream and those chemicals are harmful also possibly moreso than conventional “petro”-based sunblocks you are advising against.  Read on, before choosing: but only for starters.

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  • Sparroc108

    what about neutrogens pure and free baby…..I thought this was a safer one to buy?

  • Lilisweet

    I don’T understand why a lot of these products use citronella (like california baby) or orange oil (like Badger) these are highly photosensitive? Probably not a good thing to find in a SPF…

  • Kristen Rogers

    I’m glad to read that there are other people out there aware of the toxic ingredients in sunscreen. After having my first child and finally being able to get outdoors with her I needed to find the very safest sunscreen I could for her and for myself. I have done much research and eventually I found the thinkbaby sunscreen by Livestrong. It is ranked a 1/Low Hazard by the Environmental Working Group and comes in a nice sized bottle. I am able to use this sunscreen for my daughter and also for myself.

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  • Jenn

    Have you found any safe sunscreens that are spray on?

  • Dunnettjm

    I just came across your blog.  Although my children are grown, I like your blog: the colors, the layout, the ideas.  Thanks for some interesting ideas!

  • Dunnettjm

    I just came across your blog.  Although my children are grown, I like your blog: the colors, the layout, the ideas.  Thanks for some interesting ideas!

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Just came across your blog searching for a reusable and toxic free water bottle for my son. LOVE the blog! Keep it coming! From Ireland x

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  • Taaj

    thanks for taking the time to research and post this. I have avoided using commercial sunscreens because of the dangers. It’s good to know that there are safer alternatives.

  • Heather Carroll

    I just found this post and I know it’s pretty old, but I wanted to make a recommendation.  Ava Anderson Non-Toxic Sunscreen is completely safe and works great.  These are all the ingredients:  zinc oxide (21%, non-nanoparticle). Inactive: beeswax (organic), theobroma cacao
    seed butter (organic cocoa butter), butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter),
    olea europaea oil (organic olive oil), simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba
    oil).  It is not yet rated on the EWG Database, but will be very soon.  All Ava Anderson products that have been rated rate a “0” on the database.  They also have skin care, hair care, baby care, cleaning products, and cosmetics.  It’s a pretty new company (two years) and they are developing new products frequently.  Let me know if I can help in any way!

    • Sara

      I have to second the shout out about Ava Anderson products.  (And, no, I do not sell them.)  I use their sunscreen as well as the Badger sun products (Badger has a great face stick that is easy to apply).  Ave Anderson has many other personal care products that are awesome as well as being non toxic.

  • Lilac Mama

    Do you know much about the new findings about zinc oxide and how it breaks down in the sun?

  • I don’t know if ours is listed at EWG yet – it is so new, but may I share about Celadon Road’s Sunscreen? Non-nano Titanium and Zinc Oxide with shea butter and other nourishing SAFE ingredients. :)
    Ingredients: 25% Zinc Oxide, Artesian Spring Water, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Shea Butter, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax NF, and Vegetable Vitamin E.

  • Alisha Radtke

    I need higher spf sunscreen for 85 or higher I have really sun sensitive skin and sadly so do my girls where can I get higher spf for a good price?

  • Marcel

    Toxic ingredients in sunscreen is a tricky topic because,
    based on the wording Sun protection products are either considered a drug (highly regulated) or a cosmetic (loosely regulated) by the FDA (in the US). If a product falls under the “cosmetics” category, the US FDA prohibits the use of only 10 dangerous chemicals, as opposed to Europe where they banned 1,372 toxic ingredients. If you are looking for non-synthetic anti-inflammatory solutions, there is a natural ingredient called curcumin. Not only does it help with burns, it can also help wounds heal. The problem is its color and smell, and for this reason you may find it in some products but in general in too small quantities to be truly beneficial.
    There is an interesting 2-part article on this topic at

  • James Paulson

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!