Low Salicylate Sunscreens

Here are a few of the different mineral sunscreens we use. All are highly water resistant and keep a blonde child safe from the Florida sun!

We just returned to Illinois after a week in the Florida sunshine. In Florida we absolutely need to wear sun protection every day. This is a problem if you are trying to avoid salicylates since most sunscreens are actually salicylates designed to be absorbed into the skin.

We have always used mineral blocks instead of chemical sunscreens. Zinc Oxide and / or Titanium Dioxide, especially if they are not micronized, are essential sun protection. Most doctors will tell you that these blocks are the best ways to protect yourself from the sun (besides hats and sun protective clothing). That said, many people avoid them because they have to be put on and the kind that stay on will need to be scrubbed off, and yes, they can make you rather whitish.

Unfortunately sunscreens…homosalate, avobenzone, oxybenzone, PABA, and their cousins are all chemicals which either are salicylates or are otherwise likely to disturb someone with chemical sensitivities. That benzene ring shows up a lot.

Homosalate is a salicylate

Actually all of the following sunscreens are actually salicylates

Oh and endocrine disruptors…did I mention that too. Yeah…well the actual scientists mentioned it.

So sunscreen and certain cosmetics like wart removers or acne creams should not be used while you are testing for salicylate sensitivity. Using them may cause a false negative because the salicylates and phenols in these products are absorbed into the skin. You will have removed them from the food but then put them back in via the cosmetics.

The sunblocks in the photo all use only mineral barriers (zinc or titanium dioxide). Mineral barriers block both UVA and UVB and yes, if you look you can find them in a spray bottle as noted by the spray bottle in the picture. They are not out of those pressurized spray cans but those cause their own problems (like inhaling sunscreen) and add more chemicals to the mix.

They do have micronized versions that don’t make the white so obvious but particles that small can get absorbed and I am not convinced that they are as well tested as non-micronized versions.

If you have been shopping for these and are gagging on the pricetags, there is another less expensive solution. Ask your doctor if you can use zinc oxide based diaper rash cream. Seriously. That is what competitive synchonized swimmers who are in outdoor pools all day use. Some of them may not smell to your liking and others may contain problematic ingredients for you (like fragrances) but zinc oxide is zinc oxide.

So if you see us out this summer we will be looking a bit whitish and then a bit tanned.

But we will be feeling pretty good.