Thursday, May 6, 2010

Product Reviews: Kids' Sunscreen

We're big on sunscreen. Being the oldest child of a fair-skinned cancer doc will do that to you. While the Nugget and I have some extra melanin protection, we still apply it before we go outside, year-round. I only make an exception if it's raining. The Hubby is blond and blue-eyed, so he gets an extra-thick coat of it and reapplications too.

Having studied up a little on ingredients, we are a little picky about what is in the Nugget's sunscreen and other toiletries that go on his skin. Ours too, but we figure our bodies already have been exposed to so much junk that his chemical exposure is higher-priority than our own. Still, we're not super wealthy either, so it's a balancing act. I love that there are so many sneaky options for sunscreening obstinate children now, from sticks to sprays and gels, I've even seen a color-changing kind to help you get every square inch of exposed skin!

The brands we've tried:

1. Alba Kids SPF 30 - I love this one because it is easy to spread, smells fresh and clean, and is a good value (about $5-7 for 4 oz.). We find it at Target in the natural cosmetics aisle.

2. Jason Sunbrellas Kids SPF 46 - A close second-favorite, only because it's more expensive and has a slightly greasier feel ($8-9 for 4 oz.). It has the traditional coconut scent, and blocks UVA and UVB. We find it at Babies R Us, and Fred Meyer (on the West Coast).

3. California Baby Sunblock Stick SPF 30 - I love to use this one on the Nugget's face. It's mineral based, so it does leave a "mask" of titanium dioxide, but that's visible protection! (I take care to use the Alba on his face if we're going to do lots of photos that day.) He loves to help me put it on - we call it his "makeup". Although it's very spendy ($20-30 at Target and BRU), a single stick has lasted over a year, and it doesn't lose its efficacy. It doesn't spill or melt in the diaper bag, and I consider it a great investment. Available at Target or BRU.

4. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 - I'm less of a fan of the lotion. It has the same minerals, but it's very hard to rub into the skin. At nearly $20 for 2.9 oz, I can't justify purchasing it on our current budget. I find it at Target or BRU.

5. Mustela High Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 - Very similar to the Cali Baby, but a little easier to spread, and the tiny bottle did last us through the Nugget's 2nd summer (you're not supposed to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months). ($15-17 for 1.6 oz.). The plus to both Mustela and Cali Baby is that they're fragrance-free, which is better for skin allergies. I find it at BRU.

6. Burt's Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 - I usually love Burt's Bees, but I don't recommend this sunscreen. I got significantly tanner the few times I wore it, which tells me that it's not doing its job. It was thick and chalky, and it smelled strongly like patchouli (that's a negative for me, but could be a plus!). If you want to give me a second opinion on it, I find it at Target.

I'd really like to try or hear reviews on:
Blue Lizard
Badger
Weleda

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