‘Slip, slop, slap’, the campaign that scared the bajezus out of everyone in the 80s, spurring mums on both sides of the ditch to wrestle their reluctant kids down, smearing sunscreen on the flailing limbs and a quick smudge across the little face, bonus points for getting the eyeballs!

But sunblock isn’t the awesome magic potion we think it is, many household brands contain chemicals which are harmful, some even help cause cancer! What!? This is a worry for adults, but more so for little babies. Their skin is different to adult skin, it is very thin and absorbs chemicals more easily, so they are at far higher risk of the impacts of these toxins.

These chemicals can:

  • Contribute to causing cancer
  • Harm our reproductive systems
  • Alter sexual development
  • Affect babies in the womb
  • Mimic and disrupt our hormones
  • Damage skin & cause premature aging
  • Cause skin irritation & allergic reactions

So, if you’re looking for the best sunscreen for kids, look for natural sunscreen which contain nourishing ingredients, not harmful toxins. Make sure that you use zinc oxide sunscreens as they’re physical blockers rather than chemical barriers and avoid all of the below chemicals. While you’re at it, protect Nemo; buy reef- safe sunscreen, which is really the physical blocker sunscreens but with no nano particles.

I know it would be a crazy memory game to remember all the names, so the great news is that Eco Mamas Market will only stock sunscreens without these chemicals so you can shop easily & quickly.

Tip: Not all natural sunscreens have been independently tested to prove their SPF claims so look out for the AS/NZS Standard 2604/2012. That means they’ve had it tested and the SPF rating is legit.

Active ingredients to avoid in sunscreens:

  1. Benzophenone-4
  2. Benzophenone-8
  3. Homosalate
  4. Menthyl anthranilate
  5. Octinoxate/ Octyl methoxycinnamate/ OMC (also harmful to reefs)
  6. Octisalate
  7. Octocrylene (also harmful to reefs)
  8. Oxybenzone or Benzophenone-3 (also harmful to reefs)
  9. Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) (also harmful to reefs)
  10. Padimate O
  11. Trolamine salicylate

Inactive ingredients to avoid in sunscreens:

  1. Phenoxyethanol
  2. Phthalates
  3. Parabens (also harmful to reefs)
  4. PEGs
  5. Fragrances
  6. Synthetic colours
  7. Problematic preservatives, including Methylisothiazolinone
  8. Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate)

Ingredients to avoid to be reef-safe

The above mentioned ones and

  1. 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  2. Nano particles


Sun Safe Tips

The best sun protection is to avoid exposure. Try these as well…

  • Stay in the shade. Shade from beach umbrellas is an illusion of protection though as the sun rays bounce off the sand. Research showed that shade from umbrellas only offered an SPF value between 3 and 7
  • Cover up. The material, colour and weave all contribute to the level of sun protection. The tighter the weave, the higher the protection
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses. There are amazing eco-friendly sunglasses made from wood or recycled plastic
  • Avoid the sun at its strongest, generally around 10am – 2pm