Parents should look at active ingredient list when buying sunscreen

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Parents purchasing sunscreen for their children should be aware of what is on the ingredient list in order to properly protect kids from sunburns.

Dermatologist Dr. Shirley Chi said if sunscreens contain only one active ingredient, such as zinc oxide, it should contain as much as 20 percent of the mineral. If the product contains two or more active ingredients, the percentage can be lower.

Zinc oxide is recommended for babies, but Chi said sometimes parents do not like the way the mineral leaves a chalky residue. Companies will often mix in chemical barriers, such as avobenzone, to give the sunscreens a creamier consistency.

"The problem with these sunscreens that are only mineral is that they tend to feel a little chalky because they're minerals," she said.

Customers who purchased sunscreen from The Honest Company, which was co-founded by Jessica Alba, said the product was too chalky and left a residue.

The sunscreen contained 20 percent zinc oxide, but the company reduced the mineral down to 9 percent after reformulating the product.

Now customers are complaining that the SPF 30 lotion does not provide adequate protection, with many posting images of their sunburns on social media.

The Honest Company responded back stating its product is tested by an independent third party and the results proved "effective and safe for use as an 80 minute water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen lotion" when used as directed.

But Chi said consumers cannot just rely on sunscreen. She suggests wearing hats, staying out of the sun during peak hours and making sure to apply enough sunscreen as added protection.

"The appropriate amount of sunscreen to apply for one person is a shot glass full of sunscreen for your body," she said.
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