Today we went to Walmart to get an air filter for our furnace...you know, since it hasn't been changed in a year and a half. while there, we spent a good part of an hour just staring at the sunblock display. The reason why we stood there for 45 minutes was because Shawn insisted that he had read an article about how you should only get sunblock that has active ingredients of "Zinc Oxide" and "Titanium Dioxide."
So yes, we spent 45 minutes looking at the ingredient list for all the sunblocks available. And the only ones that ONLY had Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide (other than the stuff the lifeguards put on their noses), are a few of the "free and clear" for babies/sensitive skin varieties.
After getting home and figuring out that he was reading something by EWG.org and not the World Health Organization, we spent the next hour searching for sunblocks that we've heard of (thankfully, they have a searchable database here). We had found the Aveeno Natural Protection Mineral Block (as well as a similarly named Baby formula which, as far as we could tell, is the exact same thing) at both Walmart and Target for $10 per 3 oz bottle (it gets a rating of 3); and had figured that the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby (also $10 per 3 oz bottle) would have received a similar score. So you can imagine how surprised we were when the Neutrogena got a score of 7 (note: this is like golf, you want lower scores). Apparently the reason for the disparity is that the Neutrogena contains Vitamin A, a vitamin that, while it does reduce the signs of ageing, breaks down in the sun and actually may lead to a higher risk of skin cancer.
Since it is possible to look at all the sunscreens listed on the site by score, that's what I did and just scrolled down until I found a brand I had actually heard of (since I don't make a habit of shopping at the Whole Foods). The best well known brand I could find was the Coppertone Pure & Simple and Sensitive Skin varieties (with a score of 3)
Of course, if you wear makeup you've probably already heard of EWG'sSkin Deep Cosmetics Database.
Naturally I spent the next hour looking up the soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions we use. Shawn is trying to get more into the Organic Thing (but not with food...which I think is odd), and so he's purchased some lotions, lip balms, and soaps that are supposed to be better than the traditional stuff. So it's kinda surprising to find out that his lotion (Nature's Gate Fragrance Free) got a 4 while mine (Curel Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free) got a 3. His Nutribiotic Skin Cleanser gets a 6, my Noxzema Triple Clean Cleanser gets a 5.
Happy hunting, kids!