Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So What's A Parent on a Budget Supposed to Do?

Being a blue-eyed blonde of Irish, Scottish, and Norwegian descent living in sunny California, I use a ton of sunscreen. My skin is so fair that it's been charitably described as "porcelain", and less charitably so as "mozzarella". Mix in my DH's Irish, English, and German heritage, and our kids are doomed to also burn rather than tan in the sun without the use of sunblock. I slather it on them any time they'll be outside for longer than a few minutes.

So naturally, I was concerned when I saw an article on CNN.com that new tests show that 4 out of 5 sunscreens on the market don't adequately protect their users, including almost all of the best-selling brands.

I took a look at the website of the sponsors of the study, the Environmental Working Group to find out more information. So here are the top 10 most effective sunscreens according to the EWG report along with their unit cost according to a quick Google search:

1. Keys Soap Solar RX Therapeutic Sunblock. $7.93/oz. ($26.95 for 3.4 oz.)
2. TruKid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen. $16.67/oz. ($10.00 for 0.6 oz.)
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance. $25.98/oz. ($12.99 for 0.5 oz.)
4. Badger Sunscreen. $5.52/oz. ($16.00 for 2.9 oz.)
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum. $99.00/oz. ($99.00 for 1 oz.)
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral. $4.99/oz ($32.95 for 6.6 oz.)
7. Vanicream Sunscreen. $3.50/oz. ($13.99 for 4 oz.)
8. UV Natural Sunscreen. $10.59/oz. ($18.00 for 1.7 oz.)
9. Sun Science Sport Formula. $7.32/oz. ($21.95 for 3 oz.)
10. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen. $9.61/oz. ($24.99 for 2.6 oz.)

Compare those prices with what I normally use: No-Ad Baby Sunscreen, which costs about $0.63/oz. ($10 for 16 oz.) This showed up on the EWG's "avoid" list. Wonderful. So just when our family is feeling the pinch from $4.55/gallon gas, skyrocketing grocery bills, and all the co-pays and cost-shares related to this latest pregnancy, now I'm supposed to shell out at least 5 1/2 times as much for sunscreen :-(

I think this is one of those things I'm going to just have to file under the category of "what I'd really like to do if we only had the disposable income to afford it".

4 comments:

Kathy said...

Hi Crimson Wife,

I've been doing a lot of research on sunscreens - maybe a little more than the authors of the CNN article (!) because they spoke of using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and micronized particles for less of a ghostly white look. However, of the two, only zinc oxide is really safe. And while smaller particles blend in better, it's wise to avoid nanoparticles altogether.

What to do on a budget? You might be thrilled to know that some of the research I've come across indicates that a diet rich in antioxidants provides some sun protection! And just in time for sunny days, berries, fruits and veggies high in antioxidants and phytonutrients are in season! Of course, it's cheaper to purchase produce when it's in season, as well.

Although too new to be listed on the EWG report, I sell an organic sunscreen free of all synthetic chemicals, called "Reflect Outdoor Balm" from Miessence Organics. The active ingredient is zinc oxide, a very safe mineral and effective sun barrier. OK, it works out to $7.70 an ounce - it's $26.95 for a 3.5oz tube. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive compared to the list of EWG approved sunscreens. But I can tell you how to get it free! Host an organic home spa party and select it (and other wonderful organic products) as your hostess gift! Ask me about discounts for online purchases, from 10-30% also.

Kathy Lee
http://www.aromatherapist.mionegroup.com
(707)537-5780 (Sonoma County, CA)

Christina said...

Crimson - How about lightweight long-sleeved clothing? I always keep some available for my kids during the summer though they've got medium toned skin from my Italian heritage. Thrift stores would be great, because you'd get stuff that has been washed repeatedly and thinned out a bit.

Congrats on the new bun :-)

JJ Ross said...

Two thoughts - I saw part of the CNN "coverage" (pun intended) and they said any brand won't work as well as studies claim unless you use way more of it, more often, than people tend to do. Even more cost then.

Also to Christina's suggestion, remember that lightweight cloth like t-shirt cotton might only have a functional SPF of 15 or 20, so you STILL need the expensive stuff underneath . . .

JJ Ross said...

Two thoughts - I saw part of the CNN "coverage" (pun intended) and they said any brand won't work as well as studies claim unless you use way more of it, more often, than people tend to do. Even more cost then.

Also to Christina's suggestion, remember that lightweight cloth like t-shirt cotton might only have a functional SPF of 15 or 20, so you STILL need the expensive stuff underneath . . .