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Decent Low-Toxicity Sunblock for Face
on August 3, 2010
California Baby's Sunblock Stick, formulated with titanium dioxide, earns a hazard score of 1 with EWG's Skin Deep Database, which is about as good as you're going to get when it comes to sunscreens. The downside of this is that titanium dioxide, unlike the more toxic counterparts (ie. oxybenzone) is that titanium and zinc oxides do not absorb into the skin, giving the skin that telltale bluish-white appearance that we find so aesthetically unappealing. This is because the benefit of these low-risk sunscreens is that they tend to stay on the surface of the skin, rather than being absorbed where they can do damage to our children's bodies.
That said, I'm comfortable with my kids having discolored skin if they're better protected from thyroid disrupting hormones and other toxic effects of prettier sunscreens.
My one gripe with this particular sunscreen as opposed to the liquid formulations is that the balance of ingredients seems to be off. Or maybe I just bought an old or off-batch? This stuff is really, really, sticky. Thick. Tacky. Unworkable. It's difficult to spread across skin at all. It's far too easy to get grit embedded in it which makes it painful to apply, and the you end up having to cut part of the (expensive) stick off to get a clean applicator again.
On the plus side, this stuff doesn't have any offensive odors - which it shouldn't, being unscented. And, had they made the substance a little oilier and a little less sticky, it would be a breeze to apply. As it is, we're going to make do with it. It serves as a fair way to apply facial sunblock, when needed, for our young girls. And there's much less potential for getting it in the eyes or mouth of a squirmy child than if you're using liquid sunblock.
I think when this stick is gone I will give a go at Badger's low-hazard sunblock stick. Maybe they have an improved formulation over this one. I would not buy this one again unless there were no alternatives available.