The Balanced Baby

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The Best Suncream for Babies

The soft folds of your baby’s fleshy thighs might have you reaching for the sunscreen – but read this first. Here’s what you need to know about suncream for babies…

ajax l sunscreen

A growing body of research shows that the majority of sunscreens are potentially harmful. Sunscreens are divided into two camps – physical or chemical. The latter typically contain ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), along with parabens and perfume.

These chemicals have been shown to travel through the body and, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), can disrupt hormones and have oestrogenic properties. Parabens, which are found in 60 percent of commercially available sunscreens, have been found in breast cancer cells and in the male reproductive system. These chemical preservatives also increase the growth of breast cancer cell lines and decrease testosterone production.

Children are more vulnerable to these toxins since their immune systems are not fully developed. In addition, a child’s skin is more sensitive than an adult’s and absorbs more chemicals. It is paramount when considering suncream for babies to review what is contained in these products.

Are Physical Sunscreens Better?

Physical or mineral sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide – the latter mineral emerging as one to avoid.

I’ve been shocked to find that some organic brands I love and trust use titanium dioxide in their suncream for babies and children. And, even worse, the nanoparticle version, which penetrates deeper. I won’t name names, but suffice to say claims of ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are no excuse to avoid reading ingredient lists.

Titanium dioxide was recently classified as being possibly carcinogenic to humans by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. The National Institute of Health in Portugal discovered carcinogenic effects of titanium dioxide nano-particles in human gastric cells and Yamagata University in Japan has reported cancer-promoting effects in mouse studies.

We now know that what goes on your skin, goes into your skin (you only need to look at nicotine patches for that) and studies reveal that large concentrations of titanium dioxide are absorbed into the epidermis and dermis.

The Safest Suncream for Babies

Juice Beauty

I discovered Juice Beauty’s mineral sunscreen during my pregnancy and haven’t looked back. Made with certified organic ingredients and containing only zinc oxide as the active ingredient, it made EWG’s 2016 “Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens” and “Best Moisturisers with SPF” lists. In the UK, it’s available through Naturismo.com.

Enriched with aloe vera and sea algae, which promotes younger-looking skin, it also contains vitamins C and E, both of which have been shown to reduce the tendency to burn. This makes it an ideal suncream for babies.

During this run of 30-degree days, I have slathered my son’s little legs in this sunscreen – and the best part? I’m not concerned when he wants to munch on his cream-covered toes… meaning more enjoyment outside for both of us!

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