Have you ever used an aerosol sunscreen? Then please read this. The need to protect our skin and that of our families’ from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays is a way of life for every Australian. And there are so many options on the market now to do this…… lotions, creams, balms and even sticks.
But why oh why do we have aerosol sunscreens? And why, WHY, it is at all possible to market these for kids??
The simple truth is that the popularity of aerosol sunscreen is on the rise. They are mess-free, don’t leave sticky hands and on the face of it seem very easy to apply. But they are not easy to apply properly, with much of the product ending up in the air and their potential for misuse outweighs any benefits.
I acknowledge that any product used incorrectly can be damaging to your health and to our environment, but aerosol sunscreens are way up there on the danger scale for two main reasons:
- they contain a cocktail of flammable and toxic chemicals
- their design means that they can be so easily misused
NOT TO BE INHALED
Now just stop and think about this. The directions include the following:
“Keep out of reach of children.”
The manufacturers know that there are chemicals in these sunscreens that are very dangerous if inhaled and the packaging clearly states to “avoid inhalation”. HOW can you tell a very small child or even a bigger one to stop breathing while you apply their sunscreen? .Particularly while they are hopping around on the beach with excitement to play in the sand, or at a park trying to race after their friends or at a friend’s house ready to jump into the pool??
Of course parents can ask, even tell their kids not to breath, but if they are anything like my kids these very important instructions would fall on deaf ears. Kids don’t understand long term consequences, never mind babies. There are brands marketing these sunscreens FOR BABIES!!!!!
Even IF parents manage to convince their kids not to breath while applying their sunscreen, what happens to the spray when the wind takes it to their friends or siblings standing around waiting for their dose of sunblock?
Any product that is intended for use on the body & face, ESPECIALLY the body & face of a child or baby, that is known to be hazardous if inhaled should NOT BE IN AN AEROSOL.
Especially if there are completely safe alternatives like Wotnot’s All Natural Baby Sunscreen that can be used from babies as young as 3 months old, is 100% natural (made with mostly edible ingredients) and nourishes babies skin while it protects.
And the problem is not just with babies or small children. How many teenagers read the instructions carefully and obey them?
Another thought should be given to what good will those ingredients do for your skin? Should we really put something that is so toxic on the biggest organ we have? At best these ingredients are only stripping our skin of its natural oils so it loses its balance but furthermore do we know how those are absorbed into our bodies?.
Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, so we teach our kids to wear sunscreen from a very early age and, as they grow a little older, to apply it themselves. No sunscreen should be marketed for kids that contains a warning “Keep out of reach of children”. How does that make any sense? Manufacturers know that “kids’ sunscreens” are very often used by kids!
HAZARDOUS - TO PEOPLE & OUR PLANET
“Protect from sunlight”
Now again, how can a product that is most often used in the sun and frequently, in Australia, used near a barbecue contain these warnings?
Sunscreens are very likely to be exposed to the sun are they not?! And barbecues are a part of Australian life, so flammable sunscreens are no joke.
“The Food and Drug Administration reported incidents in which people wearing spray sunscreen near a flame suffered significant burns that required medical treatment.”**
Aerosols can be hazardous to our environment too. Empty, intact aerosol cans can be safely recycled along with other metal packaging. BUT if the aerosol can isn't completely empty, it is considered hazardous waste.
Do we really need that?
If you do not agree Wotnot Naturals have environmentally friendly and natural sunscreens that protect the whole family.
“SLIP, SLOP, SLAP!”
One of the most successful health campaigns in Australia was launched by a friendly seagull in 1981. Wearing board shorts, t-shirt and a big hat he came alive on our TV screens singing “Slip, Slop, Slap!” . It was simple, easy to remember and kids loved our winged friend. This slogan has been recently updated to include 2 more guidelines:
“Seek” shade whenever possible especially in the midday heat and
“Slide” on your UV protective sunniness.
I believe we now need to add another guideline:
“SKIP” aerosol sprays!
Find out more about natural sun protection that is reef and skin friendly here
Sinead Roberts, co-founder Wotnot Naturals.