Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen Guide – Which Baby Sunscreen Brands Are Safe?

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Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

Which baby sunscreen brands are non toxic?

 

Can you believe summer will be here soon already next month?  When summer is here, one thing you can not forget to have for your baby and yourself is a sunscreen!  Can sunscreens be harmful? You bet they can. We’ve heard some horror stories of some babies got burned from sunscreens in the past. Sunscreens can be harmful because they are made of chemicals. I am cautious about things I put on my baby and my skin directly. In this post, I share with you how sunscreens can be toxic and what non toxic  sunscreen brands are safe.

 

 

How Sunscreen Can Be Toxic

Bad Chemical Ingredients To Avoid – Oxybenzone

A sunscreen can protect the skin from the sun in two ways: with a mineral barrier or a chemical one. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients.  Chemical sunscreens use oxybenzone,  avobenzone, octinoxate and octisalate.  Oxybenzone is the most commonly used chemical in the sunscreen. According to EWG’s Skin Deep, oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor. It absorbs through the skin in significant amounts.  Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin to protect the skin from UV rays.  EWG’s Skin Deep lists this chemical’s toxic rating as ‘8’. (1 being the least toxic and 10 being the most toxic). Sunscreens usually contain ‘penetration enhancers’ to help product gets absorbed to the skin.  As a result, sunscreens get into our bodies and can be found in breast milk, blood and urine samples. According to a research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 97% of Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone in their bodies. Also, a study done by University of California, Berkeley, teen girls had a significantly lower level of oxybenzone found when they switched from cosmetics that contain oxybenzone to cosmetics that do not contain  the chemical.

According to EWG’s Skin Deep, chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate and octisalate all penetrate human skin, disrupt hormones and cause skin allergy. EWG tested 1400+ sunscreens and only 25% met their safety standards for its sun protection and absence of toxic ingredients.

 

 

Bad Chemical Ingredients To Avoid – Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

Retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) in sunscreen is another chemical that is very harmful. Its toxicity rating on EWG’s Skin Deep is 9. (10 being the most toxic and 1 being the least toxic) According to a study done by U.S.government scientists, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) may contribute to the development of tumors and lesions on the skin when it is applied to the skin in the sunlight.  It also speeds up the growth of tumors. In addition, FDA, Norwegian and German health agencies voiced concerns that daily application of vitamin A may lead to vitamin A toxicity.

So how is retinyl palmitate dangerous in the sunlight?  When retinal palmitate is exposed to UV rays, free radical formation can occur.  Free radicals are Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. These atoms are going around the body to look for other electrons to become a pair because atoms and electrons want to be pairs. This process damages DNA, cells and proteins. Tobacco smoke, pesticides, alcohol, air pollutants or fried food generate free radicals. Free radicals can cause cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis,  Parkinson’s disease and many others.  According to Rice University, once free radicals are formed, a chain reaction can occur. A free radical can take an electron, damage it and turn it into a free radical. Then that molecule will do the same to another molecule. These free radicals may mutate and grow tumors. Therefore, it is not safe to have rentinal palmitate as an ingredient in the sunscreens.

 

 

Dangers Of NanoParticles – Nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide

According to EWG’s Skin Deep, safe sunscreens are mineral-based products with a higher percent of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Chemical-based sunscreens contain toxic ingredients like oxybenzone and retinal palmitate.  However, you also have to be careful about mineral-based sunscreens as well. While titanium dioxide or zinc oxide is safe, nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are not.

Nanoparticles are less than 100 nanometers in diameter with a surrounding interfacial layer. Nanoparticles are so small that when they enter our body, they will travel through our blood stream and end up in other organs such as brain, liver, heart and spleen.  They will accumulate in the organs and can cause negative health effects.  A study has shown that nanoparticles of titanium dioxide are connected to DNA damages. Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide can enter the cell nucleus, directly embed into or indirectly affect DNA, causing DNA breakage or affecting gene expression. For example, when nanoparticles of titanium dioxide enters the blood circulation and accumulate in the liver, it can cause liver inflammation or damage.  Nanoparticles of zinc oxide is also dangerous. It can generate free radicals when exposed to UV (ultraviolet)  sunlight.  Free radicals damage DNA, cells and proteins and grow tumors. Scientists found that when nanoparticles of zinc oxide was exposed to 3 hours of UVA, half of the zinc-oxide solution-exposed cells had died. After 12 hours, 90 percent of the zinc-oxide solution exposed cells had died.

 

How Nanoparticles Enter Our Body

Nanoparticles can enter our body through inhalation or ingesting.  Babies or children can put their hands with sunscreens in their mouth which may cause ingesting some sunscreen particles.  We can also swallow nanoparticles from lip sunscreens. Nanoparticles can be also inhaled from spray sunscreens.  When we inhale spray sunscreens, nano particles can enter our lungs and travel through our blood to reach other organs.  Therefore, avoid spray sunscreens that contain nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Nanoparticles also has been suspected to enter our body through the skin in the past. However, some studies concluded that nanoparticles do not penetrate into deeper layers of the skin. A  research by scientists at the University of Bath tested penetration of zinc oxide particles of 19 and 110 nanometers on human volunteers who applied.  Only less than 0.01 percent of zinc entered the bloodstream.  Another study showed that less than 0.03% of the applied zinc content (nanoparticles of zinc oxide) penetrated the outer layer of the skin and  no particles were detected in the deeper layer.  Therefore, topical use of sunscreens with nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide seems to be ok.  However, babies and children have a thinner skin than adults do so outcome may be different.  Also, nano technology is still pretty new and there hasn’t been enough studies done about possible long term risks. Therefore, nanoparticles should be used with caution or avoided if possible.

 

 

Micronized (Micronized Particles) VS Micron-sized

Sunscreens can be made with micronized particles, nanoparticles or micron-sized particles. Micronization is the process of reducing the average diameter of a solid material’s particles. Micronized particles are still very small but bigger than nanoparticles.  Nanoparticles are particles less than 100 nanometers in diameter, or 0.1 micron. When a particle is less than 50 nanometers, it can go through a cell membrane. Typically micronized particles are between 0.1 micron and 100 microns. (1 nanometer = 0.001 micrometer, therefore 100 nanometer and 100000 nanometer) Micronized sunscreens are made by grinding larger particles to smaller size, therefore, grinding process may produce some nano sized particles. That means micronized particles may or may not contain some nanoparticles.

Micron-sized particles, on the other hand, are not made by grinding particles but by using a clean gas phase process.  This process keeps particles in the micron range (equal sized particles). Micron-sized particles are also  more than 100 nanometers in diameter. Therefore, they are safe from particles entering cells since their size is bigger than nanoparticles.  You can find out whether a sunscreen is using micron-sized particles or nanoparticles by asking a company to provide you with a particle size number.  However, if you want to find out if the particles are micronized or micron-sized, it may not be easy.   Both micronized or micron-sized particles are bigger than 100 nanometer and the name depends on how particles were made. When I contacted all of the manufactures I have listed, they didn’t clarify if the particles are micronized or micro-sized. However, they did all confirm that their particles were non-nano (larger than 100 nanometers), some companies confirming 100% non-nano particles.

Some people avoid sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide because sunscreens with these ingredients tend to make your face look ‘white’. This whiteness is caused by submicron sized titanium dioxide or zinc oxide particles in sunscreen formulas. When you use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, the sunscreen makes a layer on the skin to provide protection rather than getting absorbed to the skin. In other words, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in sunscreen sits on top of your skin to provide UVA protection from the sun.  An interesting thing here is a particle size of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is related to UVA protection. According to EWG’s Skin Deep, small particles of zinc oxide provide greater transparency  but larger particles offer greater UVA protection. Therefore, manufacturers have to balance the amount of UVA protection their sunscreen offers and at the same time, balance the size of the zinc oxide to provide not too much whiteness. Some sunscreen manufacturers reduce the titanium dioxide or zinc oxide particles to nanometer size (< 100 nm) in order to eliminate white cast. However, if you want to avoid nanoparticles, you can expect the sunscreen to have a little white cast.

 

 

What To Look For In A Sunscreen

  • Mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
    (EWG’s Skin Deep recommends zinc oxide for a sunscreen ingredient (15 to 20 percent). Apparently, zinc oxide offers better protection from UVA than titanium dioxide or other chemicals.
  • Protection against both UVA and UVB rays
    (Not all sunscreens protect you from both UVB and UVA rays.)
  • Choose between SPF 30-50 sunscreens.
    (Sunscreen larger than SPF 50  does not offer better protection.)
  • non-nanoparticle zinc oxide
    (Choose a sunscreen with micron-sized or 100% non-nano particles: the size of particles more than 100 nanometers in diameter)
  • No toxic ingredients

Please read my next post, ‘Non Toxic Sunscreen Guide – What You Should Look For In A Sunscreen‘ to see what you should be looking for in a sunscreen in detail.

 

Non Toxic Baby Sunscreens

 

Badger Baby Sunscreen – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

98% Organic Ingredients Certified by NSF

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 40 min.

Non-GMO certified by NSF, cruelty-free certified

Active Sunscreen Ingredient:
Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%

Base Ingredients:
*Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), *Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Oil, *Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Fruit Extract

*=Certified Organic

More Info

 

 

Badger Balm Kids Face Stick – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

100% Certified Natural

98% Organic Ingredients Certified by NSF

BPA and phthalate-free tube from >35% PCR recycled #2 plastic

Only has 9 ingredients!

SPF 35

Water resistant for 80 min.

Non-GMO ingredients, NSF certified, cruelty-free, reef safe, biodegradable, and planet-friendly

Active Sunscreen Ingredient:
Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%

Base Ingredients:

*Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, *Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), *Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract.

*=Certified Organic =Extra Virgin Olive Oil

More Info

 

 

Babo Botanicals Baby Sunscreen  – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 80 min.

Cruelty-free certified

Active Ingredient:  Zinc Oxide 19.0% (100% Non-Nano)

Particle Size:  >100 nm

Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera Gel) Juice*, Aqua (Deionized Water), Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Calendula Officinalis Extract,* Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Caryodendron Orinocense (Kahai) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Extract*, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Hexylene Glycol, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Nasturtium Officinalis (Watercress) Extract*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Pueraria Lobata (Kudzu) Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rose Hips) Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract*, Sodium Bicarbonate, Spiraea Ulmairia (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Zemea (Corn) Propanediol.

*Certified Organic Ingredients

More Info

 

 

Babo Botanicals Sunscreen Sport Stick – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 80 min.

Cruelty-free certified

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 15.0% (100% Non-Nano)

Inactive Ingredients: Beeswax*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Calophyllum Tacamahaca (Tamanu) Seed Oil*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Jojoba Esters, Octyldodecyl Oleate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Tocopherol.

*Certified Organic Ingredients

More Info

 

 

Think Baby Sunscreen – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 50

Water resistant for 80 min.

No Animal Testing (Leaping Bunny member)

Active Ingredient: Zinc oxide 20%  (Non-Nano)

Particle size:  0 micron to 2.5 microns or 1 to 2500 nanometers.  They acquire 100> micron size zno.

Inactive Ingredients: Purified water (0), aloe barbadensis leaf juice extract (0), capric caprylic triglycerides (0), sorbitan stearate (coconut based) (1), methyl abietate (pine wood resin) (0), vegetable glycerin (0), cetyl dimethicone (0), hydrogenated castor oil (0), magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) (0), sunflower oil (0), jojoba oil (0), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (0), tocopherols (vitamin E) (1), olive oil (0), raspberry seed oil (0), cranberry seed oil (0), hyaluronic acid (made from vegetable) (0), glucose oxidase & lactoperoxidate (0), papaya (0).

More Info

 

 

thinkbaby Sunscreen Stick – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 80 min.

No animal testing (Leaping Bunny member)

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% (Non-nano)

Particle size:  0 micron to 2.5 microns or 1 to 2500 nanometers.  They acquire 100> micron size zno.
Inactive Ingredients: Healianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Ceramic alba (beeswax), Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla) wax, Ricinus Communis (castor) oil, Copernicia cerifera(carnauba) was, Butyrospermum parcel (Shea) butter, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice

More Info

 

Thinksport Kid’s Safe Sunscreen  – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 50

Water resistant for 80 min.

No animal testing (Leaping Bunny member)

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% (Non-nano)

Particle size:  0 micron to 2.5 microns or 1 to 2500 nanometers.  They acquire 100> micron size zno.
Inactive Ingredients: Purifie water (0), Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice (0), Carpric caprylic triglycerides, Sorbitan stearate (coconut based) (1), Pine wood resin (0), Vegetable glycerin (0), Cetyl dimethicone (0), Hydrogenated castor oil (0), Magnesium sulphate (epsom salt) (0), Sunflower oil, Jojoba oil (0), Ascorbic acid (vitamin c) (0), Tocopherols (vitamin E) (1), Olive oil (0), Raspberry seed oil (0), Cranberry seed oil (0), Hyaluronic acid (made from vegetable) (0), Glucose & Glucose Oxidase and Lactoperoxidase (0), Papaya (0)

More Info

 

 

The Honest Co. Honest Mineral Sunscreen – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 50

Water resistant for 80 min.

Active Ingredient – Zinc Oxide 19% (Non-nano)
Inactive Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Coco-Caprylate, CocosNucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Cetyle Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopherol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuss (Sunflower) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract.

 

All Good Kids Sunscreen Lotion – Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 80 min.

biodegradable, coral reef friendly

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 12% (Non-nanoparticle)
Particle Size: Their zinc has been third party tested to be 100% above 200nm with an average size of 270nm.
Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Bentonite, Calendula Of cinalis (Calendula) Flower*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Car- thamus Tinctorius (Saf ower) Seed Oil*, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract*, Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sun ower) Seed Oil*, Heptyl Undecylenate, Jojoba Esters, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Fruit Oil*, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Octyldodecyl Oleate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Water (Aqua).

More Info

 

 

TruKid Sunny Days Sport Water Resistant Lotion– Non Toxic Baby Sunscreen

 

EWG’s Skin Deep Toxic Rating Score: 1
(1 being lowest, 10 being highest)

Protection against UVA & UVB: Yes

SPF 30

Water resistant for 80 min.

Active Ingredient:  Zinc Oxide 20% (non nano)
Inactive Ingredients: Purified water, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Capric caprylic triglycerides (coconut), Sorbitan stearate (vegetable), Polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, Hexyl laurate, Hydrogenated methyl abietate (pine wood resin), Cetyl dimethicone (sand), Dimethicone, Castor oil, Magnesium sulfate (epsom salt), Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, Camellia sinesis (green tea) oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Punica granatum extract (pomegranate juice, Hyaluronic acid *ethylhexlglycerin (vegetable), *Polymaminopropyl biguanide

More Info

 

Final Thoughts

A sunscreen can contain toxic chemicals such as Oxybenzone or Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) which can disrupt hormone or cause cancer. It can also contain nanoparticles which can damage DNA. Therefore, a chemical-based sunscreen and a nanoparticle sunscreen should be avoided. Non toxic baby sunscreen is a mineral-based sunscreen with non-nanoparticle zinc oxide (15 to 20 percent). It has protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The best sunscreen coverage range is SPF 30-50.

I really like Badger baby, Babo Botanicals and Thinkbaby sunscreen. They all have non-nano zinc oxide close to 20%. Babo Botanicals and Badger Baby sunscreens use organic ingredients as well. They all have both UVA and UVB protection. All of them are rated ‘1’ by EWG’s Skin Deep for their toxic rating. (1 being the lowest toxic) They do not contain any harmful ingredients.  Mineral-based sunscreens will make a face appear slightly white.  Since these sunscreen particles are bigger than nanoparticles and don’t get absorbed through the skin like chemical-based sunscreens do, you can expect white cast. However, in my experience, the white cast is not that bad.  I use Thinkbaby sunscreen on me and my baby.  The whiteness goes away as you rub the sunscreen on the face. After finishing rubbing the sunscreen on the face, I only see very thin, slight whiteness.  I don’t mind it since these sunscreens have the best non toxic ingredients compared to other sunscreens.

 

Check out sunscreens for adults in my next post, ‘Non Toxic Sunscreen Guide – What You Should Look For In A Sunscreen‘.

 

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