Tag Archive for 'safe sunscreens'

The Best of Purebebe 2011

As the year winds down, Jasmine and I decided to put together a “Best of Purebebe” list for 2011. This list was generated based on the number of times readers viewed these articles during 2011.

Although we had planned to have a resolutions post done for 2011, we have simply run out of time with the holidays. So we’ll take a minute to share our Purebebe resolutions with you. ;)

First, the really fun news…
This year we have seen a drastic increase in search engine traffic, mainly because we weren’t getting any love from search engines for the first year and a half that we were blogging (long story, but many thanks to Jasmine for figuring everything out and fixing the issue).

Next, the “what we’re working on” stuff…
One of our objectives for 2012 is to work on generating more comments from you – our readers. By the end of 2011, traffic to our site has more than quadrupled from what it was at the beginning of this year. And we are VERY happy about that! As you may or may not know, Jasmine and I currently don’t make any money from this site. We do a ton of research (research that we’d probably be doing anyways as parents) and publish that research and knowledge so that others can benefit from it. That being said, we’d like to hear from you more often (your thoughts, your ideas, your suggestions)! Please leave comments at the end of the posts, and if you try one of our recipes and like/don’t like it, please come back and let us know.

You can search for anything on our site in the search window, located in the right navigation panel on your screen, directly above “Recent Posts.” We also have a “Blog Archives” link at the top of this page, which allows you to search for articles based on topics.

If you are a new reader to Purebebe, welcome! And if you are one of our faithful readers who’s been with us for a while, well, we wouldn’t still be here doing what we’re doing without you.

-What were your favorite articles from 2011?

-What would you like us to focus on in 2012?

So without further ado, we’d like to present our 2011 Best-of-Purebebe articles:


Walmart Issues Recall of Powdered Enfamil Formula After Infant Dies

6 Steps to Loving Your Post-Baby Body

PureBebe’s 2011 Sunscreen Picks

What’s the Beef With Meat Glue?

Think Organic Groceries Are Too Expensive? Our Comparison Shopping Results…


Eric Carle is a Genius

“Toddler Tax” in Restaurants – Justified or Ridiculous?


Fantastically Funny Friday (9/16/2011) – Mommy Mayhem

Fantastically Funny Friday (6/10/2011) – Julia Sweeney “Sex Ed” Monologue

10 Things I Never Thought I’d Say (Until I Became a Parent)
(Not written in 2011, but still generated a lot of traffic this year)


Crisp, Crunchy, Homemade Dill Pickles

Hearty Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Simple and Savory 3 Cheese Quiche

Mongolian Beef Crockpot Recipe

Many wishes for a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!
-Heather & Jasmine

6 Dangerous Chemicals to Avoid in Skincare Products

Recently a friend reached out to me after reading our 2011 Sunscreen Picks article. She wanted to know why we did not include a particular brand of sunscreen, which she had been using and had also begun to sell as an independent consultant.  I took a quick look at the company’s website, and was encouraged by the company’s choice of words.  ”Safe.  Pure.  Beneficial.” Next, I checked the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) cosmetics database and was surprised to find that they didn’t list the company, let alone ratings, for their skincare products.

So I asked this friend to send me the list of ingredients for each of their sunscreens.  She sent me the long lists of ingredients for two of their sunscreens.  I took one look at the ingredients and knew, right away, that I would never use the products.  The first ingredient that caught my eye was Oxybenzone, which rates an 8 on the EWG’s list of ingredients (on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most dangerous ingredients/products).  As a general rule of thumb, I only use products with ingredients that register a ’0′ or ’1′ on the EWG’s scale.  Oxybenzone causes developmental and reproductive toxicity, as well as reproductive birth defects.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists the skin as the “most common path of toxic substance exposure.”  It is the body’s largest organ and has outstanding absorption abilities.  That’s why it’s important to know what’s in the products that you’re using on your children, and yourself, especially if you’re pregnant.  As is the case with my friend’s skincare products, skincare product companies will market themselves as “natural, pure, safe.” But many of these claims are false.  It’s up to all of us to do our research.

We have compiled a list of ingredients to avoid in your skincare products.  This list is not all-encompassing, but we feel that these are some of the most dangerous, and/or most common, offenders.

  • Dioxanes (1,3 or 1,4-Dioxane) – 1,4-dioxane is a known carcinogen that contaminates up to 46% of personal care products tested (OCA 2008, EWG 2008).  In addition, it can wreak havoc on our immune systems and is a known allergen.  According to the EWG’s cosmetics database, “The chemical is an unwanted byproduct of an ingredient processing method called ethoxylation used to reduce the risk of skin irritation for petroleum-based ingredients. Though 1,4-dioxane can easily be removed from products before they are sold, its widespread presence in products indicates that many manufacturers fail to take this simple step.”
  • Triclosan – is used as an antibacterial agent and preservative.  Studies have shown that triclosan disrupts the endocrine system.
  • Parabens – are widely used as a preservative in skincare products.  Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
  • Mineral Oil – is added for fragrance and/or to protect the skin. Mineral oil is a liquid mixture made from petroleum.  There is strong evidence that it is toxic to the immune and respiratory system, and may cause cancer, especially if added to products that are inhaled (more studies are needed).
  • Oxybenzone – is used as a sunscreen agent, and a UV light absorber. According to the EWG, “This chemical absorbs through the skin in significant amounts. It contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans according to Centers for Disease Control research.”  Oxybenzone is a known endocrine disruptor, and can cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, and immunotoxicity.
  • Fragrance – The skincare industry uses the term “fragrance” to hide 3,163 chemicals (including phthalates, octoxynols and nonoxynols, which are some of the most dangerous).  Pthalates are known hormone disruptors linked to reproductive birth defects.  The term “Fragrance” is also used in the candle and cleaning product industries

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself, and Your Babies, From These Harmful Chemicals?

1) Read labels!

2) Avoid products with fragrance

3) Look up your products on the Environmental W0rking Group’s Cosmetic’s Database

Want to learn more?  Here’s a list of 10 additional common chemicals in skincare products to avoid.

-What ingredients do you avoid in skincare products?
-What skincare products do you use?

New FDA Rules for Sunscreen Labels

Last month the FDA announced new sunscreen label regulations which will take effect in 2012. The FDA has been working on these regulations for 33 years, since 1978. In case you too are wondering what regulations take 33 years to create, we have provided a summary of the new rules for you below:

  • In order to label sunscreen products as “broad spectrum,” sunscreens will have to pass a test that shows that they shield skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
  • Only sunscreens rated SPF 15 and higher will be able claim, on their labels, that they protect skin from sunburn, wrinkles and skin cancer.
  • Sunscreens that do not meet these standards will have to label their product with warnings to indicate that they do not protect skin from skin cancer or wrinkles.
  • Sunscreen makers will no longer be able to claim that their sunscreens are “waterproof,” or “sweatproof.” As such, they will only be able to claim that their products are “water-resistant” and will have to specify whether the sunscreen works for 40 or 80 minutes.
  • SPF ratings above 50 could be banned (this provision is still up for debate), unless the sunscreen maker submits data to the FDA, and provides sufficient proof that the sunscreen should be labeled as such.
With more than 1 million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year, skin cancer is the leading cancer in the United States.  Of those 1 million Americans, approximately 68,000 are diagnosed with melanoma, and nearly 9,000 die.
Below are some sunscreen rules to make sure that you, and your babies, remain safe in the sun:
  • Educate yourself on what sunscreen ingredients are safe/unsafe.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, and more often if your child is in the water and/or sweating outside.
  • Cover up.  Dress in lightweight clothing that covers the body.
  • Minimize exposure between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Remember the acronym BEENS so that you don’t forget to cover often-forgotten spots with sunscreen: Back of knees, Ears, Eye area, Neck, and Scalp.
Happy Safe Summer Fun!

Is Your Sunscreen ‘Safe’? Vitamin A Added to Sunscreens May Do More Harm Than Good

Courtesy of Boudewijn Berends, Flickr

Have you ever bought or used a vitamin A retinoid night cream that comes with a warning label like “Consumers should avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet sources after applying this product”? Well, I have. And what I’ve learned is that surprisingly, vitamin A, also known as retinyl palmitate (or “retinoids”) is added to 41% of all sunscreens today. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), this includes some of my favorite brands of sunscreen – Aveeno and Neutrogena products!

Why is that important, you ask?

Earlier this Summer, the EWG published an analysis of new data that indicates that vitamin A, when applied to skin exposed to sunlight, “may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.” And, the “EWG considered this evidence troubling because the sunscreen industry adds vitamin A to 41% of all sunscreens.”

Even more troubling is the fact that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, accounting for nearly half of all cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute more than 1 million people in the United States will be diagnosed in 2010 with skin cancer; and 1,000 people will die of skin cancer this year.

And as far as our babies are concerned, did you know that just a few serious sunburns at a young age can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life?

Well, if night creams warn users to avoid sunlight while using their products laden with vitamin A, why are they added to products that are supposed to protect us and our babies from the sun’s rays?

So what can you do, you ask?

The EWG recommends that you “select from among the nearly 60 percent of sunscreens that are free of the compound until more conclusive information is available.” For a list of the EWG’s Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens, click here.


Additional References:
EWG Stands By Its Vitamin A Sunscreen Warning
Skin Cancer Facts

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