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Let’s talk sunscreen

I know there are a lot of people out there who claim that sunscreen will give you cancer.  The chemicals in it will seep into your brain and you’ll grow another uterus or something.

While some ingredients in some products may be sketchy, this much I know, me + no sunscreen will absolutely end in cancer.

In 2007, Troy and I went to London for a vacation (I found the world’s cheapest tickets).  One day, we were on a bus with tinted windows.

I was wearing SPF 15.

It was March.

And I got a sunburn on my face.

So yeah, I’m pale.  And now, so is my kid.

Go outside without sunscreen?  That thought makes me cringe! (Photo by Jack)

My family has a genetic disposition to cancers.  I like gardening.  I like being outside with my kid.  That means I wear sunscreen each and every day.  I don’t care how much coconut oil you slather on your face, how much-pastured meat you eat, whole grains you consume, cod liver oil you take or spotted owl nutsack extract you swallow; when you’re as pasty as me (and my spawn), you need extra protection.

And because I can’t afford the super expensive and absolutely safe sunscreen, I do my best and I call it a day.  If you’re curious about a product when (if) you’re in the market for sunscreen, check out the skindeep database which is a free source that ranks products based on potentially harmful chemicals.  If you’re curious, this is the one I’m using because it’s cheap and readily available at Target (in the baby section).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be jumping from shade patch to shade patch on my way from the parking lot into my office.

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25 comments on “Let’s talk sunscreen”

  1. I remember an episode of The Doctors last year where they rated sunscreen. The best one, they found, was Walmart’s generic brand (Equate?) baby sunscreen. If I remember correct, the store brand at Target is made by the same company. We’re definitely sunscreen people. My 16 month old was burned after only 15 minutes outside last week. We coat him in sunscreen anytime we go out now.

  2. The only one we use is Avon’s Skin So Soft combo sunscreen and bug repellant. They are a bit pricey, but Skin So Soft does not contain Deet and it works on us to keep the bugs off us and safe from the sun

  3. I think the last sunscreen we bought was from Trader Joes. As someone who could get sun burned in the dark (ok, maybe not, but I burn ridiculously easy) I totally understand the need for sun screen.

  4. damn, b… and I thought I was pale! 🙂

    Srsly though, we use aveeno and neutrogena. love them both.

  5. I’m so glad you posted this!! I’m always just avoiding sunlight in order to stay nice and pale. (After being sick for 2 weeks with sun poisoning I’d rather be pale.) I hate using sunscreen because of the toxins and just because I don’t think they work. I’m definitely going to search some brands through that website and buy some!!

    Also, I searched all of my shampoo, toothpaste, make up, ect. on that site and EVERYTHING I use is in the moderate level! YIKES!!

  6. I *love* this website (ewg). I almost religiously check it each spring to see which one has the lowest number that’s actually available in the stores here. And then I email it to all my family6 and friends. So far I haven’t found anything under five that’s actually “get-able” and was actually surprised to see a Hawaiian Tropic product at five. I’d like to see how ombrelle rates too, but they don’t make the list it seems.

  7. I just found your blog today and was intrigued. This year I decided to make my own sunblock. My daughter has really bad eczema and we just cannot afford the expensive lotions and sunscreens. I have been making my own lotion for her for about a year and learned this year I could pick up zinc oxide (super cheap) and add it to her lotion to make sunblock. We have been using it at the pool with no issue of it washing off. It is an investment to buy the initial ingredients, but it leaves you with enough to make for a very long time. I highly suggest it.

    • Jennifer, what an interesting idea! Where did you find your zinc?

    • Oh! I can help with this one. 🙂 Aside from the internet (is there anything you can’t buy?), I went to a very small pharmacy in the middle of nowhere TN where my folks live, and they were able to order it for me. A little goes a long way.

    • I ordered my zinc from New Directions Aromatics Inc. They were one of the only places that I found that did not nanoize their zinc for cosmetic purposes. There are a lot of different recipes on the internet, but I used a recipe from a book called Organic Body Care Recipes. The recipe in there calls for the use of Sesame Seed Oil (gives an spf of 5). I then added zinc oxide until it applied similar to the Badger sunscreen I used to buy. Once I saw that I was good and lightly white I stopped. I would recommend testing it out on yourself before you try it on any little kiddos just to make sure you added enough zinc. My recipe also had beeswax, lanolin, coconut oil, and cocoa butter which I think all helped make it somewhat water proof.

  8. I make my own. It works wonderfully on me. My super pale Scotch Irish husband? Not so much. lol I’m pumping up the formula just for him! Now, if only I could get him to remember to put it on… >_<

  9. Just found your blog tonight and I’m addicted! You have some great info (just read how to make laundry detergent) but omg are you entertaining! Love the comment about the spotted owl nutsack extract! Classic! 🙂

  10. I am obsessed with sunscreen and wouldn’t consider letting me or my fair skinned kids out the door without it. My husband (who isn’t fair skinned, thinks I’m mental, but I don’t care). I use Ultrasun 50. More expensive than most but I only need to put it on once a day (even when on holiday in Portugal!) without fear of sunburn! Works out way cheaper in the long run.

    Colette x.

  11. I am allergic to sunscreen so I avoid doing alot of thigs i want to do that invole me being outside for a long period of time. Is there any homemade thing i could use in place of sunscreen?

  12. I burn in the shade and have found that la roche posay is the only one that works but I see it is very high in bad ingredients, now I don’t know what to do.

  13. I get my measly allotment of sun and then I cover up with clothes. Hat too. I’ve gotten into decorating straw hats with flowers from Michael’s. Anywho, won’t wear sunscreen. It’s poison in my book.

  14. Hi my name is Zoe. I’m a candle making lotion bar lover! lol
    Any way I’m new to your blog and LOVING it (: And I thought you may be interested in a few things in terms of sunscreen:

    Your lotion bars are naturally sun protectant, about 5 spf. However if you add a small amount of pure zinc oxide to your wonderfully simple lotion bar mix they will become very good sunscreen bars. I’ve attached some links you may like for the topic.