(don’t?) wear sunscreen

Do you remember that song, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann? It starts off like this:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by

scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable

than my own meandering experience…

You can hear the entire *song* (which is actually spoken) on YouTube, here.

I started writing this post to rant about the toxic sunscreens on the market. I go to a specialty natural medicine store just to buy safe sunscreen because everything I’ve found at Walgreens is frightening. And I feel the dire need to inform my family, friends, and faithful readers of a potentially dangerous substance that I bet most of us use.

Those endless bottles of familiarly-scented lotion we slather all over our skin and our childrens’ skin frequently in the summer months and perhaps even year-round. We slather it on until it’s completely absorbed into our skin, the biggest organ in our body. For supposed protection.

What’s in that bottle? What is my body absorbing instead of sunlight? What would you say if I told you that you may be doing yourself more harm than good?

Instead of continuing my rant, I’m going to leave it to the experts at Environmental Working Group to give you the real information. The hard facts and the science behind them.

Go visit EWG’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide. You’ll be glad you did.

Or go straight to the Hall of Shame: What’s wrong with the sunscreen protection business?

And you really don’t want to miss Sunscreens Exposed: 9 surprising truths. The first truth? There’s no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer.

The site also makes recommendations for the best sunscreens. I’d like to reiterate the recommendation for this one, the only sunscreen I have used on my infant.

I started this post to talk about sunscreen and I thought of the sunscreen song and I went to go read the lyrics and watch the video (see below). I teared up, which doesn’t happen too often. Seriously. This song dispenses incredibly valuable, true words of wisdom that we do not hear oft enough. (Although the bit about sunscreen is debatable.) You probably know that I’m a tad bit obsessed with collecting bits of wisdom. I’ve even shared with you my favorite Words of Wisdom.

Then I thought; I would probably be far happier if I started every day listening to this song. Perhaps I should consider meditating on it each morning.

And then I remembered. Who am I kidding? I don’t even have time to take a shower in the morning. But if I did.


  1. did you see the article from Marie Claire, reposted on MSN about sunscreens actually CAUSING skin cancer? something with the Vitamin A.


  2. Disgusting isn’t it? I only use sunblock on the boys if we are going to be out for long periods of time since they need the vitamin D.
    Almost everything makes Michael break out in a rash, though, I am going to have to peruse that list to find something good for him!


    1. It IS awful! Good for you on avoiding sunblock with your boys. I bought the Badger sunscreen at Rainbow Natural Remedies on Capitol Hill, but they may have it at Whole Foods?


  3. After an extensive search for the most effective and best sunscreen I’ve settled on Glacier Creme: http://www.glaciercreme.com. It’s physical sunscreen, with zinc oxide which is the most effective at blocking UVA as well as UVB rays. The sunscreen goes on transparent, absorbs quickly and isn’t greasy. It’s great for sensitive skin–it has NO chemical filters, NO parabens, NO retinyl palmitate. And the website (www.glaciercreme.com) is pretty sexy too…


  4. Lucy, I rarely use sunscreen–ever. And I don’t put it on my kids. During the hottest (high sun) times of day we tend to stay indoors. When I work in the garden I will wear a hat or light clothing. I think it’s best to stay away from products with a massive amount of words I can’t pronounce. 🙂

    There are ‘better/safer remedies at the Natural stores, I agree, but again I try to be mindful of when I’m out and what I’m wearing. I think that helps a lot.

    Great post.

    Btw, I resubscribed since you mentioned you’d lost your subscribers info.


    1. I agree – it’s a good idea to stay away from products with those massive words. I’ve become really conscious of all lotions, hair products, even nail polish and make-up! Who needs all those chemicals? Thanks for coming by and for re-subscribing.


  5. Thanks for this post! And for linking to the best sunscreen list. I’ve been avoiding the sun for the most part this summer. My daughter is only 6 months & since me & her dad have really sensitive, really pale skin, I’ve just been keeping us in the air conditioning inside – most of the time. I have Arbonne Baby sunscreen for her, but that’s not on any of the search guides to get rated, so I’m not 100% positive it’s as good as I thought it was…

    Also I completely forgot about this song & I may have to post that video on my blog!


  6. p.s. half of these skin cancer cases are from the toxic sunscreens people have been using all these years…and the stuff they have for babies out there – awful!

    arbonne has an incredible baby line, incredible skin care line (uber high grade european and all that jazz), awesome men’s line, spa detox line, even makeup and vitamins etc – seriously, it’s that good. I have a 35% discount card cause i’m grandfathered in cause nowadays they only give people a 20% with their card, would be happy to share the discount if you ever want to try any. the prices they show online are all retail prices, but i get 35% off of that, it’s that good –


  7. This is such an important topic, thanks for sharing! We’re always bombarded with stories in the news about staying safe in the sun, but who’s telling people about the safety of sunscreen? I have yet to see anything in the regular corporate media about this. It’s a shame that consumers have to hunt down safety information about everything we want to use on our bodies, but that’s really the only way to be safe anymore.

    Thanks again.

    Peace. 😉


    1. Yes, it’s disgusting, actually. Corporate media is corrupt and so are most big businesses! Since when is money valued higher than human lives?!


  8. I only have one child who uses sunscreen regularly. Most of my kid sjust seem to get a glowing, natural, beautiful tan and never burn, but my middle daughter FRIES. Immediately. Before the weather even gets HOT. She has ‘princess’ skin. Super delicate skin. I’m going to go read the links you posted because we do try to stay healthy/natural and I need some recommendations for skin stuff for her! Thanks for the heads up!


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