Please welcome Ashlee Tiller, a Holistic Nutritionist based out of Whole Life Balance in Toronto, that will be contributing monthly posts regarding healthy living and nutrition for children!  This month, we’ve asked Ashlee to recommend tips on choosing a great sunscreen for children.

Help Your Child Enjoy the Summer Sun Safely

The warm summer months in Ontario means summer camps, beaches, and lots of outdoors activities for children of all ages. Help your little ones enjoy this time safely with a clean, mineral based sunscreen free of harmful ingredients.

Here are some key tips when shopping for and using the perfect sunscreen for you and your family:

1. Be mindful of the ingredients.

Chose a mineral sunscreen formula that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead of common chemicals like oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene,and octinoxate. Make sure that the formula is also free of hormone disrupting ingredients such as parabens or strong preservatives like phthalates. Synthetic fragrances or colours are unnecessary and can cause skin irritations for many sensitive individuals, especially children.

2. Make sure the sunscreen protects against UVA/UVB wide spectrum and has an SPF of at least 30.

The sun rays that penetrate the ozone are both UVA (can cause aging, wrinkling and skin cancer) as well as UVB (can cause skin cancer, and eye damage), and we need protection from both. SPF reflects the amount of time a person or child can stay in the sun without being burned. If it normally takes a person 10 minutes to burn unprotected, then an SPF of 30 would provide protection for approx 300 minutes (10×30). It is always recommended to reapply sunscreen at least every 1-2 hours for children, especially after swimming.

3. Apply mineral sunscreen the right way.

Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to fully cover all exposed areas at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. You should always see a slight white residue as mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin to reflect rays.

The Environmental Working Group ( is a great resource for more information about skincare ingredients and product safety. Here are some of their best ranked sunscreens for kids:

– Kids Sunscreen SPF 30 by Kiss My Face Organics
– Kids Sunscreen SPF 30 Cream, Tangerine and Vanilla by Badger
– Kids Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 or 50 by Goddess Garden Organic   

While it is important to educate ourselves so that we can make better choices, it is just as important to relax, enjoy, and have fun! Have a safe and happy summer!