Three brands fail the Eco-test

children’s skin

Ökotest has once again put 21 sunscreens for babies and children to the test. At least nine products were rated as “very good” this year. Unfortunately, some well-known and popular brands fail, however, due to questionable ingredients for children’s skin.

Sunscreens for children have gotten better

This is the good news: in 2020, Ökotest could only rate “very good” twice. By 2022, there are at least nine of the 21 products tested that can definitely be recommended. Ökotest mainly examines the ingredients in the creams and nine of the well-known brands are harmless. In some, however, critical substances were discovered that are not suitable for children’s skin. A good sunscreen for children should be sensitive, fragrance-free, waterproof and, if possible, without sunscreen filters or questionable substances. However, this was not the case for all products tested.

Ökotest rates these brands as bad or inadequate

Unfortunately, the laboratory found some substances in many creams whose consequences on children’s skin are unexplained or can be proven to be harmful to health. This included UV filters such as octocrylene, which according to animal experiments can penetrate the skin and have negative effects on the organs. In addition, nanoparticles of mineral UV filters such as titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide were discovered, which are classified as “probably carcinogenic”. Nevertheless, mineral filters are the best choice when in doubt.

Other critical ingredients are “controversial emulsifiers from the group of PEG / PEG derivatives, which can make the skin more permeable to foreign substances. Above all, creams with a high sun protection factor, which are also suitable for sensitive skin, were compared. also found the preservative silver chloride, which is also based on mineral filtered titanium dioxide.

The following three well-known sunscreens for children failed:

  • Rossmann Sunozon Kids sun milk 50+ for € 4.99, contains controversial preservative silver chloride
  • Eucerin Sensitive Protect Kids Sun Spray SPF 50+ for € 22.25 includes a chemical homosalate filter which can damage organs
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo-Peciatrics 50+ Lotion for € 17.52 contains nanoparticles and PEG derivatives as well as silicones and paraffins

This shows that expensive lotions are not necessarily better for children’s delicate skin. It depends on the ingredients and cheap creams from DM, Rossmann and Co. can keep up.

You can find out which brands have performed “very well” in the full Ökotest judgment, which you can buy directly online as eAvis. *

Is certified natural cosmetics the best choice?

As a consumer, you think that natural cosmetics that are certified should be better and do without chemical additives. Overall, the Ökotest assessment sees it this way. The tested natural cosmetic creams contain the mineral filters titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are better choices for children’s skin than the chemical filters mentioned above. In the 2020 test, Ökotest clearly assessed the contained nanoparticles critically. The EU directive at the time stipulated that labeling should take place at a certain level of nanoparticles. All three natural sunscreens in the test contain them and also declare this. Only two labels lack labeling of nanoparticles, although these could be detected.

However, nano is still very poorly studied, although some already know that it is harmful to health by inhalation. Therefore, certain nanoparticles in sun spray are already banned because they are classified as carcinogenic. From August this year, these nanoparticles will be banned in food throughout the EU.

The Wartentest Foundation also regularly analyzes sunscreens for children with a different focus and comes to different conclusions. Here you can compare:

You need to be aware of this when buying sunscreen

According to Ökotest, when you buy your sunscreen for children, you should make sure that it contains mineral filters rather than chemical ones. Because these remain on the surface of the skin as a barrier and reflect the sun’s rays. The chemical filters can penetrate the skin and destroy children’s sensitive endocrine systems. Among these more preferred mineral UV filters are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. So take a closer look at the ingredients. In addition, children’s sunscreen should always have a sun protection factor of at least 30, if not 50.

Dermatologists recommend that babies and toddlers apply sunscreen one hour before sunbathing. The sensitive, thin skin should not be exposed to the sun’s rays without protection. It is important that you apply sunscreen to your children again after each time they have fun in the water and above all do not expose young children unprotected to the sun for more than half an hour. Do not underestimate sunbathing when visiting the playground or on the balcony or terrace. If your babies or toddlers spend half an hour or more here, sunscreen is mandatory here too!

When the skin turns red, it is actually already too late. In the video we have a few last minute tips on how to treat your skin:

Test your knowledge: How do babies sleep and what do they need for it?

* We are only allowed to mention some of the results here, the full report is available in Ökotest-Magazine June 2022

Image credit: Getty Images / tatyana_tomsickova

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