Is Your Sunscreen Safe for You and Your Children?

Playing Sunscreen for Adults and Babies – Know the Differences!

The Doctors discuss the findings of a new study by the Clean Label Project that examined the 95 best sunscreens and sunblocks on the market. One in five Americans develops skin cancer in their lifetime so protection from harmful UV rays is so important but do you know which sunscreen will best protect you?

The study found that surprisingly there is no significant difference between baby, kid, and adult sunscreens. Another unsettling finding was the presence of lead in many of the sunscreen bottles. Five of the tested brands had enough lead in a dime-sized amount to exceed the California-mandated safety levels. Additionally, The New York Times reported the findings of a study which examined how sunscreen is absorbed into the skin and whether it poses a health risk, but noted people should be more worried about skin cancer and not the potential effects of sunscreen.

Watch: New Toxic Food Warnings That May Affect Your Kids 

Executive Director of the Clean Label Project, Jackie Bowen, joins The Doctors to answer their sunscreen concerns. ER physician expert Dr. Travis Stork asks about the findings regarding baby and adult sunscreen and asks, is it just marketing? Jackie says that is what the findings suggest.

Dermatologist expert Dr. Sonia Batra points out that the FDA doesn’t regulate the labeling "for babies" or "hypoallergenic." She found the lead content findings concerning for kids and babies because they are more likely to actually ingest sunscreen. 

Dr. Travis asks, should people buy organic sunscreen to avoid this? Jackie says they actually found organic sunscreens had three times as much lead as non-organic ones! Dr. Batra explains that people should be aware of the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens. Dr. Batra says the two worst endocrine disruptors, oxybenzone and octinoxate, were found in 50% of the chemical sunscreens that were tested. These chemicals have recently been banned in the state of Hawaii because of their environmental potential hazards, so if it’s killing corals, it isn’t really something we should be putting on our kids, say Dr. Batra.

Watch: How Real Are 'Toxic Baby Food' Claims?

“What do we do now?” asks Dr. Travis. Plastic surgeon expert Dr. Andrew Ordon advises people to wear protective clothing. Make sure it’s made with legitimate UPF protective fabrics. However, sunscreen is still very necessary. 

Jackie recommends greater than 30 SPF, broad-spectrum, and waterproof sunscreen. She says to work with your family practitioner and dermatologist to determine what the best fit is. She shares that consumers can also check out the Clean Label Project website.

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