Healthy Kids    

Should you stop using sunscreen?

Safely protect your family from the sun

safe sunscreen options

A recent study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studied the safety of chemicals found in sunscreen.

The study looked at avobenzone, oxybenzone, ecamsule and octocrylene, all of which are included in the dozen or so chemicals the FDA says need to be researched before they can be considered safe and effective. "As soon as I learned that we were slathering ourselves with carcinogens and endocrine disrupters, I changed everything," Zena Scott, a mother and nurse from Beekman adds.

CLICK HERE to read more on this study

Should you stop using sunscreen?
Since the release of the study, experts have emphasized the fact that this doesn't mean you should stop wearing sunscreen. Jared Nekos, pharmacist at Dedrick's Pharmacy and Gift Shop in New Paltz, asks parents not to have a "knee-jerk" reaction to the recent report.

It isn't news that the things we put on our skin are absorbed into our body. The study was done as the FDA's way of showing manufacturers that more research should be done to see what kind of chemical absorption health risks (if any) sunscreen causes. "First and foremost the reduced risk of skin cancer most certainly outweighs the theoretical risk of sunscreen use. Not that this risk should be dismissed outright, but this is a preliminary study containing only 24 patients," says Nekos.

Protect your family
It is extremely important to note that you shouldn't be discouraged from using sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends people apply one ounce of sunscreen to exposed skin every two hours, use a lip balm with SPF, wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. According to Nekos, "The patients in the study, applied one of four ingredients, four times a day over 75% of their bodies for 4 days. They applied the equivalent of 2 full standard bottles over 4 days. Further testing is needed."

RELATED: 6 things all parents need to know about sunscreen

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation and the World Cancer Research Fund, melanoma continues to rank within the 20 most common cancers in both men and women. "The first line of defense against sun
includes protective clothing and shade," Nekos says.  Brianna Grossman, mother of four from Cairo doesn't rely on sunscreen alone to protect her family from the sun. She says, "I purchased rash guards and hats with high UV protection factor.

Nekos concludes, "Sunscreen has been used by people for decades without indication or data that show it causes harm."

RELATED: Make your own sunscreen!

If you are concerned about the safety of chemical sunscreens there are a number of mineral sunscreens and products on the market that rely on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect the skin.

Sara Burks, a mother of three from Beekman says, "I switched to a chemical safe sunscreen when my kids were little. I also wanted to do better not just for my children but for our environment since the chemicals get absorbed into our water systems."

Pamela Perry is the director of consumer development for Hudson Valley Parent. When she isn't at the office, she loves exploring the Hudson Valley with her two young sons.