First let's make it clear that generic sunscreen is not safe not only for babies, but for adults as well. Sunscreen active ingredients such as oxybenzone, methylparaben, and homosalate are known carcinogens and/or endocrine disruptors whose chemical reactions are only intensified with heat. Common baby sunscreens such as Banana Boat, No-AD, Huggies, and Coppertone, all contain at least one of those ingredients. Even I had an unfavorable reaction to sunscreen, that is when I started researching the ingredients, long before I had my own child. When I was out in the sun without sunscreen everything was fine, with sunscreen on the other hand I had a horrible blistery rash everywhere I applied it.
Thanks to the Internet and the ongoing environmental work of EWG, we now have the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Data Base to refer to for skin care safety. Sad as it is, our government does not regulate skin care products - applied to the largest organ of the human body and instantly absorbed in thee bloodstream, that is actually worse than ingesting them! Before you buy any sunscreen check Skin Deep for its safety.
Second, let's address the link between the sun and cancer. Few health recommendations have had as damaging an effect as the advice that you should never leave your house without sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen effectively blocks your body’s production of vitamin D, which happens naturally when your skin is exposed to sunlight. In fact, sunscreens reduce vitamin D production by as much as 97.5 to 99.9 percent. Vitamin D is absolutely essential to proper functioning of the immune system, so imagine the damage.
"The widespread acceptance and adoption of this faulty doctrine has contributed to severe vitamin D deficiency on a grand scale, which in turn claims about one million lives a year from 16 different types of cancer and other common diseases such as:
- Heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis
However, that’s not to say that sunlight can’t be harmful. Of course it can be. Anyone who has ever gotten a sunburn knows that sunlight, at a high intensity over a long enough period, most certainly can damage your skin."
Sources: CNN Health July 1, 2008
Organic Consumers Association June 29, 2008