After a month straight of rain and grey skies (which is very rare for Boulder, Colorado) the first weekend of summer vacation finally feels like summer. It’s sunny and in the mid-80s. The kids are at the neighborhood pool with Daddy and right about now, I’m hoping he’s applying a second layer of sunblock to any exposed patches of skin.
I recently read a blog that listed the 11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids and I was dismayed to realize we actually have what they are calling “The Worst” in our cupboard right now.
Putting sunscreen on my kids is probably the only thing I don’t like about summer. They whine, protest, wiggle and run when tell them it’s time to put it on. Maybe that’s because they don’t understand the cause and effect of “Not wearing sunblock” and “Getting a painful sunburn.” They’ve never been sunburned, unlike their sun-spotted mother, and I aim to keep it that way. But because they don’t really understand the importance of wearing sunscreen outside, they don’t feel as inclined to cooperate as they might otherwise. In fact, it might be easier to apply an even layer of lotion on a ticked-off, greased piglet who is trying to get away than to put it on my children. I don’t know how many times they’ve gotten sunblock in their eyes because they squirm when I am trying to cover their faces. Sunblock and eyes are not a good mix ever for anyone involved--the Sunblocker, the Sunblockee, and anyone else whose trip to the beach or the pool depends on everyone in the group being adequately slathered and preferably, not screaming in pain.
I’ve yet to find a sunblock that meets all of my requirements:
- Doesn’t cost a fortune
- Goes on quickly and evenly
It also needs to meet my kids requirements:
- Doesn’t make them white and pasty looking
- Doesn’t sting eczema flare ups
- Doesn’t run into the eyes
The best sunblock I have found, that meets all but a few our combined prerequisites for perfection, is Sierra Madre Sun Cream. It looks and smells so delicious, sweet and creamy with a light citrusy scent, that I almost want to spread it some toast and eat it. It doesn’t sting my children’s sensitive skin, it’s fairly waterproof, it all-natural and non-toxic. The kids do complain that it makes their skin white (that would be the zinc, which is a physical blocker and one of the best ingredients to look for in a sunblock), it is rather thick and pasty but it rubs in well but unfortunately, it costs a small fortune. We use it as often as we can but sometimes, we do resort to the chemical concoctions in a pinch. I’d rather risk possible long-term effects of the chemical exposure than the immediate effects of a nasty sunburn and the long-term risks of skin cancer and sun damage.
We’ve also avoid sunburns by:
- Wearing SPF clothing
- Wearing SPF swimshirts
- Wearing wide brimmed hats
- Staying inside during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day
- Wearing sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection
How do you keep your little ones from getting sunburned? What is your favorite sunscreen?
Click here for the EWG’s (The Environmental Working Group) list of 217 Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens.