I never put much thought into sunscreen before now. I usually picked up whatever was on sale and only looked at the SPF. After doing some research and reading the information on EWG.org (which I guess you can tell I rely on heavily), I have realized there is a lot more to it. Just like all other skincare products there are ingredients and chemicals that are safer and more effective than others. EWG.org uses a rating system to come up with a hazard score, so it is easy to look up a product and know how safe it is to use. They also have very handy guides that tell you the best products to use.
I will summarize what I have learned so far. When buying sunscreen, look for the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients stay on the skin's surface and they provide protection against UVB and UVA radiation. UVB radition causes sunburn, whereas UVA radiation causes skin damage, aging, and cancer. Coverage for both are labeled as broad spectrum coverage. You also want to use SPF 15 or higher.
Here are the ingredients to avoid:
Oxybenzone - In sunlight, can produce allergy- and cancer-causing chemicals
DMDM Hydantoin - Allergen and irritant that can form cancer-causing contaminants
Triethanolamine - Allergen and irritant that can form cancer-causing contaminants
I purchased some Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen, but all of the California Baby products have high ratings and can be found at places like Whole Foods and Target. I am also going to try the California Baby Sunscreen Stick to use for our faces.
Of course, there are also other steps you should take besides wearing sunscreen. Wear a shirt, hat, and sunglasses and try to stay in the shade. If at all possible, try to limit the amount of time you are in the sun between 10:00 am-2:00 pm. I know this is a lot easier said than done, especially when you have children begging to play outside. All we can do is our best and being aware of the dangers is a good first step.