Here are a few reasons why I avoid putting sunscreen on my kids.
- Most sunscreens protect primarily against UVB rays - the rays that cause your skin to burn. They do not protect against UVA rays. When you see a package that says SPF 50, they're talking about the protection against UVB rays. The protection against UVA rays will be more like SPF 10, at best, but of course the packaging doesn't say anything about that. So basically, the sunscreen will protect your child against sunburn but not against melanoma cancer ten or twenty years down the road.
Sunscreen makers and users in Europe have more options than in the United States. In Europe, sunscreen makers can select from among 27 chemicals for their formulations, compared to 17 in the U.S. Companies selling in Europe can add any of seven UVA filters to their products, but have a choice of only three when they market in the U.S. European sunscreens could earn FDA’s proposed four-star top rating for UVA protection, while the best U.S. products would earn only three stars. Sunscreen chemicals approved in Europe but not by the FDA provide up to five times more UVA protection; U.S. companies have been waiting five years for FDA approval to use the same compounds. Last but not least, Europeans will find many sunscreens with strong (mandatory) UVA protection if proposed regulations in Europe are finalized. Under FDA’s current proposal, Americans will not.