There is nothing about this sunscreen that makes it unique to the needs of baby's skin. The active sunscreen ingredients it contains are the same ones found in many sunscreens not identified for use on babies. If anything, the active ingredients this contains (while they do provide broad-spectrum protection) are not preferred for use on babies. Although synthetic sunscreens are very effective, they also pose the risk of skin irritation, to which a baby's skin is more vulnerable. A better solution would be to go for a mineral-based sunscreen whose sole active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, which pose almost no risk of irritation whatsoever. As it turns out, Baby Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 100 is identical to Banana Boat’s Sport Performance Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 100. Therefore, the same comments apply: I suspect it received this high rating, even with less synthetic active ingredients, by including butyloctyl salicylate, an ingredient that helps stabilize and boost a product's SPF formula. Still, most sunscreens with ultra-high SPF ratings contain a much higher percentage of active ingredients than this Banana Boat option. For adults, this is an option, but for a baby's skin I strongly suggest using a mineral-based sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher.
Active: Avobenzone (2.5%), Octocrylene (8%), Oxybenzone (3.5%), Other: Water, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Lauryl PEG-8, Dimethicone, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Silica, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silicate, Octyl Docdecanol, Silica, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Beeswax, Disodium-Edta, Microcrystalline Wax, Acrylates C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Sodium Chloride, Polyethylene, Stearoxy Dimethicone, Capryl Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
As the summer months approach, Banana Boat's sunscreens are often seen lining drugstore and supermarket shelves along with those from Coppertone and Neutrogena. It's puzzling how many retailers choose to spotlight sunscreen during the few warmest months of the year even though the need for daily, year-round sun protection is well-established. Yes, people do spend more time outdoors and at the beach when the weather is sunny and warm, but if your goal is to avoid wrinkles, discolorations, and the potential for skin cancer, daily sun protection is a must, because sun damage occurs whenever skin is exposed to daylight and the sun’s cancer-causing rays travel right through windows.
That said, does Banana Boat have you covered? Despite the fact that the majority of their products were reformulated in late 2006 with ongoing reformulations throughout the next two years, the answer is "No." It is shocking to me that cosmetics companies (especially those whose entire marketing angle is sun protection) are still launching new sunscreens without suitable UVA-protecting ingredients. Many of Banana Boat's sunscreens include avobenzone (and, to a lesser extent, titanium dioxide) for sufficient UVA protection—but why not follow suit with all of them? As is, the company's mantra of "Celebrate the Sun" will leave your skin vulnerable to cumulative damage unless you choose their products very carefully. Several of the sunscreens that get the critical issue of UVA protection right suffer from a drying alcohol base or problematic preservatives. Then there's the fact that Banana Boat believes that part of celebrating the sun involves promoting products that encourage you to tan. When it comes to a making a clear statement on safety under the sun, these products really miss the boat by trying to appeal to sun worshippers and those who take sun protection for themselves and their children seriously!
Note: All Banana Boat products contain fragrance unless listed otherwise.
For more information about Banana Boat, call (800) 723-3786 or visit www.bananaboat.com.