Lab technician and chemical beakers.

The Best Suntan Lotion

Lathering Loads of Suntan Lotion

With sunny skies and warm weather comes outdoor fun. And that means lathering on loads of lotion.  It turns out we’ve been sunbathing for years with a false sense of sunscreen safety. And sadly,  misinformed by the medical community and television advertising.

Almost 20 years ago, while managing a natural food co-op, I was doing research for our newsletter. The intense heat of the Minnesota sun warranted the use of sunscreen and I was on the hunt for the best. I had heard rumors that there was some nasty stuff on the market and I wanted to know what it was.


At that time, sunscreen use in young children was fueling a rickets epidemic. Caring parents in an attempt to safeguard their children from skin cancer, were diligently covering them in suntan lotion from head to toe. Therefore, blocking crucial sun rays their little bodies needed to metabolize vitamin D. Deformed bones, inability to walk, future surgeries, it was a parent’s nightmare. The news came and went. Most of us forgot.

Suntan Loton, beach and ocean in background.

Despite having the best suntan lotion/sunscreen, 

skin cancer rates continue to rise every year

Melanoma rates doubled between 1982 and 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Perhaps the rates have risen because we are tanning longer, naively believing we’re safe? And many commercial suntan lotions filter UVB, not dangerous UVA.

Suntan lotions worst for kids.


Banana Boat Sunscreen

Contains propylparaben.


CopperTone Kids

Contains Retinyl Palmitate

It’s been well established that vitamin D protects against certain cancers, influenza, mental health conditions and more.


And most importantly, without the sun’s benefits, we are doing more harm than good. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality (death) according to a study conducted in Sweden.

Why Haven’t We Been Warned?


For the same reason, there isn’t skull and crossbones on most processed foods, personal care and cleaning products and other dangerous poisons available to the unsuspecting consumer. Chemical companies (who also control the media)  in collusion with corrupt government entities, are hardly regulated. Of the 84,000 chemicals on the market today, the FDA (in the past 40 years) has completed reviews and issued bans or restrictions on only 9, according to the 

Union of Concerned Scientists.

It’s much like the fox guarding the henhouse.

Please visit their site where you can “take action,” urge our senators to represent our interests by protecting our health, safety and environment.


Suntan Lotion Harmful to Children & Adults


Oxybenzone, typically found in suntan lotion, is a hazardous material. The U.S. Pharmacopieal Convention’s Safety Data Sheet lists it as a health hazard and should not be used as a drug or on humans or animals.


Here’s what they have to say about getting it on your skin. And this is going to protect you from skin cancer?



If on skin: Wash with plenty of water/soap. If skin irritation or rash occurs: Get medical advice/attention. Wash contaminated clothing before reuse.


Contaminated work clothing must not be allowed out of the workplace. Wear protective gloves.

Suntan Loton, beach and ocean in background.
Reni and Scampy at the beach, for the newsletter.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database:


These suntan lotions are the worst for kids.

CopperTone Kids

Contains Retinyl Palmitate (Artificial vitamin A- also found in many cheap vitamins) 

Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Cancer, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)


Banana Boat Sunscreen

Contains propylparaben. It is known to cause allergies, immunotoxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity and ecotoxicology (pollutes the environment). Sadly, propylparaben is present in many adult (and children) personal care products.

Your Best Protection


Use only the best and safest suntan lotion. We have several in this article and also in Eden’s Pick.


For extended stays in the sun your best protection is safe sunscreen applied properly, a hat, sunglasses, clothing and shade.


Although sunscreens block out harmful rays, they can also prevent you from metabolizing Vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce your risk of melanoma (skin cancer).


It’s been well established that vitamin D protects against certain cancers, the flu, depression and more. Joseph Mercola M.D. writes, according to Dr. Michael Holick one of the leading vitamin D researchers, many people are 

deficient in vitamin D. Increasing the levels of vitamin D in the general population could save millions of lives each year.

Food as Medicine


Foods found in nature have powerful antioxidant benefits. Plant nutrients designed to keep you healthy and free of disease. A variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, in addition to nuts, seeds, and herbs also provide cancer protection. Keep in mind that organic is always best.

Conventional produce has dozens of harmful chemicals that poison and weaken your body, making you more susceptible to all types of disease.

Important Note:

Personal care and cleaning product makers change formulations periodically. We do our best to stay abreast of any changes. Always read labels and if you should find a product that we’ve recommended yet no longer endorsed by the EWG, please contact us with details at

Enjoy sunshine (in moderation) every day. If you have dark skin you will need a lot more “sun time.” If you live in an area with low sun exposure, tan once a week. Tanning beds do not cause cancer as the media has taught us to believe. That myth was debunked long ago.


People in sunny locales tend to be happier and healthier. As a part of nature, the sun gives us warmth, vitamin D, and a sunny disposition.



Companies can change product ingredients at any time. READ the label.

Long live the happy, smiling sun!

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