Banana Boat Baby Max Protect, SPF=100 for babies earned a place at the top of the list of the Environmental Working Group's Hall of Shame. Don't be fooled by the high SPF number. This sunscreen protects against UVB radiation (which causes sunburns) but leaves babies skin exposed to UVA radiation that is known to cause aging and skin cancer. Yikes. It also contains a frightening long list of ingredients.
One ingredient that is of concern is oxybenzone which has a hazard score of 9. Among the concerns for oxybenzone are "Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Violations, restrictions & warnings, Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes." (1) When I watched Toxic Childhood last week, the advice one doctor gave was "Don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat." (2) Because the skin has no filter (like the liver which can process hazards we ingest) these toxins go directly into the bloodstream.
Another unsafe kids sunscreen is Banana Boat Kids Ultra Mist Continuous Clear Spray Sunscreen SPF 50. It gets an overall score of 7 because of the high health concerns which "reflects combined hazards of all products ingredients. Actual health risks from product use, if any, will depend on the amount of the ingredients that absorb into the body and individual vulnerability to health problems." (3) There are several ingredients which are of concern.
This product also contains oxybenzone, as well as Octinoxate. Among the concerns for Octinoxate are "Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes." Not great for any kids I know. (4)
And while, one would think that vitamin A would be a good thing, actually "This additive may hasten the development of skin damage and tumors on sun exposed skin." Not really what one would hope for in a sunscreen! (5)
For three decades sunscreen only blocked UVB rays, the rays that cause sunburn, while allowing UVA rays, which are also of concern. There is some concern that sunscreens allow people to stay in the sun for longer and actually increasing our risk for the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Which is why "many experts are now recommending clothing and shade, not sunscreen, as primary barriers from sun exposure." (6)
The Environmental Working Group says:
"The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals to absorb through the skin, no questions about whether they work." (7)To find out the safest sunscreens, go to the EWG Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens or see my post on Safest Sunscreens for a few safe choices.