Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Q and A with Boots Suncare Adviser, Mike Brown

(99 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-May-10 09:21:46

Do you know your UVA from your UVB? Unsure about what SPF and product is best to protect your kids from the sun during the warmer months?

Boots Suncare Scientific Adviser, Mike Brown, is joining mumsnet to answer your questions as we approach the summer months. Mike has more than 24 years experience in sun care product development; including SPF testing and product formulation and is also the expert behind Boots Soltan?s ?5 star rating? system.

Send your questions to Mike here before Sunday 29th May and we'll be posting his answers shortly after.

rubyslippers Mon 24-May-10 12:10:37


I would like your thoughts on factor 50 - apparently it offers no more protection than factor 30. Is this true?

Myself and my son are milk bottle white and this is the stuff i use on us both every year.

Also, is 15 mins sun exposure (per day) enough to get the Vitamin D required by a baby to prevent rickets etc? When i say sun exposure i mean in the shade ... i am paranoid about DD getting burnt (she is only 8 months old)

thanks very much

NorbertDentressangle Mon 24-May-10 12:10:42

Could I ask a question that isn't about childrens sun-care but my own please?

Every year, no matter how careful I am applying sun protection cream to my face I must get a trace of it in my eye as it results in a constantly streaming eye , the skin around it gets red and sore from the streaming and dabbing etc. (not a good look, as you can imagine!)

I then use Optrex drops to soothe it but it takes a good few days to return to normal.

I've used the childrens cream hoping it would be more sensitive but that hasn't helped.

Is there a specific ingredient that's causing the eye-watering? Is there a product that won't cause it to happen?

Many thanks

Do you really get what you pay for? I'm horrified at the price of some of the sun creams, but it's usually a guilt purchase, as I'm reluctant to buy the cheaper, own-brand version just in case it doesn't give the same protection.

turkeyboots Mon 24-May-10 12:51:42

Are there any real "once" a day suncreams? I always start off with good intentions with suncream application but by 2pm generally get distracted and forget. And as a very pale redhead, with 2 pale redhead DC, I know from expereince that you can get sunburnt at 4pm or 6pm, not just in the 11 - 3 window!

honeydragon Mon 24-May-10 13:11:03

My ds is 7 I have hardly ever put suncream on him, although he is fair he very quickly goes olive and does not burn. The school have commented that he is not sent in with sun cream before - he is always clothed and in a hat just not creamed, on holidays days out etc he is always kept in the shade at midday after playing out for an hour or so. Am I being irresponsible? Do all children need to be constantly creamed regardless?

paisleyleaf Mon 24-May-10 13:24:53

I've read that the star rating is important as UVA rays can cause longterm skin damage and maybe skin cancer too.
So I do go for 5* creams.
If the star rating is important - why aren't more people made aware of it? It seems to be a bit of a secret.

belledechocolatefluffybunny Mon 24-May-10 13:25:33

We don't use sun block, this is because I can't find one that my son isn't allergic to. After a little while he comes out in hives and it's really expensive to buy a bottle, test it and discard it as it makes him itchy. He's always covered up, stays in the shade and has not been burnt so far. Is suncream really necessary given the fact that it also gives us Vitamin A which is vital? Is there anywhere that I can buy sunblock where I can test it first before I spend £8+ (he's allergic to all of the boots ones, all of the major brands, all of the superdrug brands etc. We also buy the 'improved formula' ones in the hope he's not allergic to these but sadly he is)

turkeyboots P20 is a once a day sunblock.

WilfShelf Mon 24-May-10 13:30:54

I'd like to know why suncreams (and most cosmetics) are not subject to the same kinds of testing that medicines are?

I believe there is now evidence that lots of the novel, chemical ingredients in suncream, such as PABAs, benzones etc (now not used in Europe I think?) might actually be implicated in causing skin cancer, rather than preventing it? I'd like to know his view on this please.

And given the untested risks of free-radical causing agents, is it also wise to replace these with nano-grade metal oxides which are also untested over the long term for their effects on health?

BessieBoots Mon 24-May-10 13:36:45

ROFL that a suncare adviser is named Brown

Just a general unscientific question from me... Do you think that the media's portrayal of tanned as good and healthy is damaging to your work and to general health? I hate even fake tan as I think it pushes tanned skin as the norm.

clayre Mon 24-May-10 13:47:37

I want to know what is in them that ruins childrens clothes, i always use factor 50 on my children (both red heads with very pale skin) i have bought many brands and shop brands and every single one stains their clothes and no matter what i try and cant get the stains off, what is it that stains them and is there any way to remove the stains?

hellymelly Mon 24-May-10 14:08:05

I have read that malignant melanoma is actually associated with sunscreen use,and I am worried as we are a fair-skinned family who are outdoors a lot.I use mineral screens but have heard conflicting things about the micronised particles used in them now.I am highly sensitive to some chemical blockers (oxybenzone) and thats why I've always gone for minerals but now it seems they too might be dodgy and under researched-What to do? I don't want to stay indoors all Summer and never go to the beach!

First question:

Is there a high-factor sunscreen that:
does not block skin pores
does not make your face/skin pasty white
does not make your face/skin shiney
is a mineral sunscreen
does not have nano-particles
is sweat-resistant
and only needs to be applied once a day?

Or am I looking for the Holy Grail?

Is there anything near what I'm looking for?

Second question:

Is there any advantage to buying sunscreens labeled as specifically for children/young babies/sensitive skin/older skin? This is from the point of view of a 44yo woman with very sensitive skin and an allergy to sunlight.

Third question:

Is last year's sunscreen OK to use this year? There isn't always a use-within indication on the container.

KeithTalent Mon 24-May-10 15:00:04

Yes, please do answer WilfShelf's question.

I'm with Wilf, living in the tropics means it is impossible to keep the dc out of the sun. Why is there no research as to the long term effects of daily-use suncream?

BTW Clayre - the only way that I have found to deal with this is to spray the clothes with oxy-bleach (eg Vanish) before the stain appears. The stain only appears once the clothes have been washed. When I wear sunscreen I spray collars, cuffs, etc, even if they don't appear marked, and they come out clean. If I once forget - the stain appears after teh wash.

But I too would be interested to know why sunscreen stains my whites yellow.

slug Mon 24-May-10 15:27:45

Can I ask why sunscreens are so expensive in the UK? When I go home to NZ I always buy the Cancer Society's sunscreens which are both reasonably priced and very effective.

I also want to know why I have to search high and low for a combined sunscreen/insect repellant.

expatinscotland Mon 24-May-10 15:30:33

slug, Calypso brand sunscreens are very affordable and effective and made entirely in the UK.

turkey, try Ultasun suncream. it's £££ but it really does last all day. i get it in John Lewis.

ThreadKillerQueen Mon 24-May-10 15:54:44

I am really worried that some ingredients in sun-care in fact add to the chance of getting cancer.

Also DD has very sensitive skin and any sun-care I have tried so far has resulted in a rash.

I would like to know what is better for DD. Carefully covered/unexposed or rash/pain.

ruddynorah Mon 24-May-10 15:55:30

i am concerned with what goes into sun creams.

i generally keep my children's skin chemical free so it feels at odds to then slather them in thick lotion containing ingredients i'm not sure about. they bath in oats and their clothes are washed in soap nuts.

i think i'd rather they just covered up, stayed shady and kept out of the midday sun.

plus i absolutely hate the sun cream plus sand combination you get on the beach. makes for tears all round. oh and the mixture of sun cream plus grit/dirt when dd's been digging about in the pre-school garden. yuk.

so convince me please mike brown smile

hobnob57 Mon 24-May-10 16:05:34

Yes to Wilfshelf's question.

Norbert, I thought I was the only one shock. I'd love to know what ingredient is doing it! Scabby, dribbly, red and raw eyes are tiresome.

sunshiney Mon 24-May-10 16:06:28


i'd like to know if it's normal that if i apply a high factor sunscreen (50 i mean) and have say, an hour's exposure, my skin feels sore.

it's not burnt, or even gone pink, but it feels sore and sensitive.

is my skin being damaged? do i need an even higher factor? i am very pale, needless to say.


AtlantisLegoDuplicates Mon 24-May-10 16:42:21

Hello, I am hoping you can advise re what we should be asking our schools to do in terms of sun protection policy.

Our school allows sun lotion to be sent in but won't remind or help children to apply it, or make time for them to.

They won't let the kids play in the available shaded area, either.

This to me seems ridiculous, all they say is 'buy the all day sun lotion' but I have heard it might not be as effective as it claims to be.

Having recently lost a very young, very dear friend to melanoma I am considering taking him out of school for super hot days.

Any thoughts would be great.

AtlantisLegoDuplicates Mon 24-May-10 16:43:09

...also I can't afford £20 or whatever for a tiny bottle.

AtlantisLegoDuplicates Mon 24-May-10 16:46:28

sorry, someone just said the piz buin factor 15 is £10 a bottle (I think)

but why is it factor 15 if it is supposed to be 'all day'? Can you explain how that works please? Thanks very much.

Q 1. I have heard that in order to actually achieve the sun protection factor advertised in the sun screen you need to apply it "generously" and that we often don't apply enough. What does this actually mean? Do you need to make the skin look completely white with the cream?

Q 2. DS is very pale skinned, DD1 is very olive skinned. I have always treated them the same, applying 50+ regularly, always wearing hats, and covering up, keeping out of sun between 12 and 2. So I am intrigued as to why DS has never been burnt or tanned ever, but as for DD (also never been burnt) after a couple of days in the sun she will be several shades darker skinned. Do you have any ideas as to what is happening with her skin, and will this tendency to tan despite sun screen make her more or less susceptible to skin cancers and skin aging?

FabIsGoingToGetFit Mon 24-May-10 17:30:38

There is a really expensive suncream available which states it only needs applying once a day. It is far too expensive unless it really will work. My sons tend to not like certain creams on their skin so it is an annual nightmare to protect them from the sun.

AtlantisLegoDuplicates Mon 24-May-10 17:32:27

have also heard it is higher in all those nasties people are worried about, ie zinc etc. is this correct Mr Brown?

SunshineOnLee Mon 24-May-10 17:41:43

My DS1 seems to react badly to suncream - we use Soltan for children. His face becomes bumpy and sore/itchy within a few hours of use and stays that way for several days. He doesn't have sensitive skin in any other ways so what is it in the sunscreen that causes this reaction and what can we use instead.

expatinscotland Mon 24-May-10 18:06:28

It's this one, Fab.

Was recommended on here once years ago.

It's the only thing DD1 can use that doesn't cause a reaction AND protects her milk-bottle white skin.

Takes ages to rub in, but it stays put.

BigWeeHag Mon 24-May-10 19:15:14

Sunshine - we have found Malibu doesn't do it to DS - having spent at least £80 last summer finding that out.

FabIsGoingToGetFit Mon 24-May-10 19:17:14

expatinscotland - btw are you the expat?

That isn't the one I meant but is that a once a day application and protects fully one? It is worth the money if it definately does the job.

We use Piz Buin Once and it def DOESN'T last all day, especially if there is swimming involved. I can't speak for the others.

AtlantisLegoDuplicates Mon 24-May-10 20:43:28
expatinscotland Mon 24-May-10 20:46:00

Am I the expat? I don't know. This is the only name I've had in the six years I've been here.

The once a day Ultrasun really lasts all day with DD1. She's not a particularly sweaty person, though, and I have not used it when she's in water, as the only time she's ever been in water is an indoor pool.

But we put it on in the morning and she hasn't burned once.

She's very pale, with green eyes and light brown hair with gold and ginger streaks.

DD1 is quite olive, but with light hair like her sister, and I put it on her, too. And no burns or tans.

Ditto DS, who is much like DD1 in colouring.

It does take some time to rub in.

If we apply sunscreen to our dc, say, in the morning, how long should we wait before dressing them so that it will not rub off? And will waiting long enough reduce staining on clothes?

chickiolina Mon 24-May-10 20:57:56

I have a question. I am mixed race and tan very very very easily - just an hour out and about in the sun, even with factor 50 sunblock on, will still leave me with ridiculous tan lines from clothing/shoes etc! What sort of product should I buy to best try and prevent this? Also, what product would be best for my face without leaving it looking like I'm wearing white paint on my face?

How much sunblock should I use for me and for my toddlers. I normally go for a golfball for me but that much basically turns the kids into soupy messes.

Also, can you apply it to wet skin - I often do but perhaps it sloughs off. In this case, can you apply it when you are hot etc.

Hulababy Mon 24-May-10 22:12:58

My 8y DD reacts to many suncreams. She seems fine with P20 and Ultrasun. I do prefer the once a day creams for me and DD. Soltan, Nivea, etc bring DD out in itchy rashes.

But I am little concerned about the P20 UVA/UVB protection...can you advise?

solo Tue 25-May-10 00:36:47

Mine's a different kind of question...How can I get sun screen stains out of Dd's clothes please? I've tried everything.

PuppyMonkey Tue 25-May-10 06:47:52

What do you think of P20 and P10 - the once a day stuff?

Alison021 Tue 25-May-10 12:31:12

My daughter has senstive skin and gets a rash (sort raised bumps/mini blisters) with Nivia, Soltan, and Neutrogena. Are there any brands you would recommend for children with particularly sensitive skin?

FabIsGoingToGetFit Tue 25-May-10 13:07:45

expatinscotland - have you recently moved?

donnie Tue 25-May-10 13:15:39

I soent ages trying to locate some more E45 sunblock earlier this year only to discover it has been discontinued. It was the only one whihc kept my very fair and eczema prone dd1 protected with no nasty reaction. I have recently bought some proderm which has good reviews. Which cream is the best for eczema prone children please?

expatinscotland Tue 25-May-10 13:16:01

any particular reason why you ask, fab?

donnie Tue 25-May-10 13:16:06

'spent', sorry

FabIsGoingToGetFit Tue 25-May-10 13:26:31

Just trying to work out if you are who I think you are. Do you remember me starting a thread saying I wanted to be like you as you knew your own worth and you said we all should. Maybe I am getting confused as people have called you expat and so I haven't always noticed the inscotland bit.

abr1de Tue 25-May-10 14:26:01

I think Boots stopped selling P20 because it doesn't block both types of rays. You could be 'unburned' but still at risk.

Bit of a blow to our family. We never burned with P20 but didn't realise about the other type of skin damage we weren't protected from.

MmeLindt Tue 25-May-10 14:41:08

I would like to know the answer to the factor 50 question that Rubyslippers asked, as I have read that anything over SPF 25 offers sufficient protection for most people.

I would be interested in your views to the discussion on MN recently about using sun cream daily. Many of my friends, particularly the Brits, slather their DC in sun cream in case they are outside in the sun during break. Now, we live in Geneva so the sun is strong here, but they are outside for maybe 10 - 15 mins and mostly in the shade. I do not put cream on the DC unless we are going to be outside for a longer period of time as they would have to be covered in cream the whole summer if I did so.

MmeLindt Tue 25-May-10 14:44:06

Oh, and if my face cream has a SPF of 15 and I also use tinted moisturiser/foundation with SPF 7 does that add up to SPF 22?

In the same way, if I put sun cream on top of moisturiser does the SPF of both creams add up to a higher protection?

CMOTdibbler Tue 25-May-10 16:00:45

It doesn't add up Mme - if you put a sufficient amount on, you'd have protection at 15 spf in your example.

I'm fascinated as to how you became a suncare specialist - whats your background ? Did you come from the non ionising radiation field ?

nightcat Tue 25-May-10 16:17:57

Are there any sunblocks that rely on physical rather than chemical barrier?
Are the sunblocks recommended (or not) for frequent & prolonged use?
Is there any info/research on long term use / side effects - and where to find it?
Is there any info on who the sunblocks would not be recommended, why and where?
How are SPF factors determined?

ShinyAndNew Tue 25-May-10 16:20:19

Norbert, I get the same thing. I have very sensitive eyes and can only wear certain eye make ups and mascaras. I think there is something in sun cream that irritates my eyes, even if it does not actually touch them. Like a scent or something? Does that make sense?

I get the same thing with certain under eye concealers too.

I have found that using a daily moisturiser with an SPF is better for me. But I have fairly dark skin any so I can get away with the lower factors. I think in daily creams they are usually around factor 15.

nightcat Tue 25-May-10 16:24:07

Which of sunblocks available from Boots offer widest spectrum protection, ie UVA and UVB?

Okay, here is my question:

I suffer terribly from acne, but a blast from the sun works miracles. Trouble is, if I put, say spf 20 on, I have to lie there bored out of my wits for 20 times longer. What on earth would be the point therefore, on my ever applying sunscreen?

Many thanks.

QSnondomicile Tue 25-May-10 20:41:34

Can you please tell me in what way SOLTAN differs from most other sunlotions? Does it have a different ingredient than most other lotions?

It is the ONLY sunlotion which give me an itchy red rash. This rash is localized only to where the lotion is applied, so it must be the lotion. And I need not be in the sun to get this effect, so it is not a burn. (Binned now, of course, so cant tell you more details)

Seing my own reaction to the lotion, I am now very hesitant to apply any Boots own brand lotion to my children's sensitive skin.

(Come to think of it, I got a No7 moisturizer for my birthday a few years, and got a bobbly red rash across my face. When the chemist at my local Boots store saw my face, she gave me a gift voucher to the value of the moisturizer upon the return of the moisturizer, so this was of course very good of her)

What is your policy when it comes to reactions to your products, and refunds?

QSnondomicile Tue 25-May-10 20:42:48

that should of course have been A FEW YEARS AGO (I did not get it for a few years, I got it a few years ago)

expatinscotland Tue 25-May-10 20:43:14

No, I've always been expatinscotland, Fab . Been in Scotland for 9 years now. But lots of folks do call me expat on here.

Chickio, I am not bi-racial but am Latina and have pale skin with olive/yellow undertone.

The best thing for the face I've found is a moisturiser with sunscreen. That way you avoid sun damage and the white paint look.

what are the most important ingredients in a sunscreen? I am allergic to so many, even the hypoallergenic ones. Are there any effective ones with natural ingredients? I am very light/blue eyes, but dark hair so just have to think about the sun and get burned!

sanfairyann Tue 25-May-10 22:26:59

why do you have to wait before going out in the sun after applying once daily suncream? does the sun stop it working later on or does it just not offer protection for the first 15 mins? I put it on before the kids go to school so they have protection on their breaks but I usually put it on straight before we head out so is that stopping it working later on in the day?

separate question - what do you think primary school policy on suncream and hats should be?

zam72 Tue 25-May-10 22:30:30

I've been using the Boots Once for Kids range to protect my son all day at infant school. I read somewhere that the P20 once application sun cream wasn't all that great as it didn't offer the right UVA (or B?) protection. Is this right and does the Boots Once give good UVA and UVB protection?

Why is it that there's only star ratings for UVA rather than UVB?


chesgirlNOTgriffins Tue 25-May-10 22:42:49

Another sensitive skin question.

My son has very severe eczema. He uses lots of moisturiser and steroid creams.

I need a sun screen that will not make his skin flare up. I am desperate to avoid this because it can take months to get his skin back under control after a flare.

I am also a bit confused about what order to put his sun screen on. Do I put it on before or after his moisturisers? Will his eczema creams affect how the sun screen works?

I am afraid I have avoided using sun screen as much as I can. My son is mixed race so has dark skin but I am aware its important to use it regardless of skin tone. But its seems so complicated.

aviatrix Tue 25-May-10 23:10:43

I would be interested in why suncreams are sold with nanoparticles when I have read that these can cross the blood-brain barrier.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 25-May-10 23:32:57

Mr Brown

Why do creams labelled for sensitive skin still bring my DD out in the most hideous eczema rash? I know that the sun can aggravate eczema anyway, but her reaction appears within minutes of application, even before she sees the sun! We have spent a small fortune trying various different so called sensitive creams, and Boots Soltan is no exception....

Also, I have read that after a point the factor is just a meaningless number and that anything beyond factor 25 is pointless. Can you please calrify?

But....for those of you with DC with sensitivities/eczema, I have recently tried a sample of Green People sunscreen on my DD, and so far so good; no red, sore and itchy skin on her knee pits, eyelids and crook of her arms. Usually she reacts within minutes of suncream being applied, but two separate applications over two days and nothing!

sallyJayGorce Wed 26-May-10 11:34:33

There is a big question mark over the use of parabens as a preservative in cosmetics including suncreams. (Oestrogen mimics that might raise the risk of cancers such as breast and ovarian.) I only use products free of parabens and think they should be banned completely until more is understood.

Many suncreams are full of them. I don't choose these but the alternatives are often even pricier than the already expensive suncreams. What ranges do you have that are paraben-free?

RedOnHerHead Wed 26-May-10 13:37:27

(((holds hand up and waits patiently to ask question)))

Yes... I have a question actually....

I have red hair and pale skin. I've always used P20, which I have found to be fantastic! It now contains UVA and UVB (whereas before, it only had UVB). I have never burnt when using P20, but I'd like to know if it is high enough to use on my own children. They are 5yrs and 2 yrs. they both have fair skin.

Also, my youngest (2yrs) gets really bad rashes from any suncream I use on him (even the baby ones - I've tried soltan (as was recommended by my health visitor, but that's the same and always makes his eyes run (even when not applied to his face). So, is there a suncream mild enough to not cause this rash (I think it's prickly heat from not allowing the skin to breathe)? P20 would be great for allowing his skin to breathe, but concerned about it being only SPF20.

Please help!

notasausage Wed 26-May-10 14:13:18

Are there any suncreams/sprays that can be used on heads without giving the greasy comb-over look. My 18month old won't keep her hat on but would be just as useful for my DH who is a little thin on top!

Sazisi Wed 26-May-10 15:05:58

My kids all get a rash from chemical sunscreen (I've tried all of them and have an expensive pile of unused bottles of the stuff), so I have to buy mineral-based sunscreens (such as Clarins, Greenbaby, Roc Minesol) which are expensive and more difficult to source...why don't Boots make one?

Bumperliouzzzzzz Wed 26-May-10 15:32:43

Would like to second or third the getting in the eye thing, it's doesn't seem to be straight away but when I get hot it sort of melts into my eyes -owww!

Can we also have a possibly unbiased verdict on the shelf life of suncreams? Can you use them from one year to the next?

Please can Boots start stocking Aveeno srpay on Sun Block - they do it in Factor 35, 50 and 75 - it is the best stuff ever and we have to pay a fortune to have it shipped from Ireland or the States - half our village use it so we do a huge order every once in a while - but Johnson and Johnson who make it don't think here is any call to market it over here.

There obviously is though as it goes for a firtune on Ebay and the lady who we sometimes order it from in Ireland is almost sold out as soon as she gets it in.

It is brilliant stuff which you just spray on from a small distance away - there is no rubbing involved and you can get the kids to take a big breath and shuit their eyes and their face is done in a matter of seconds - no trying to get them to hold still whilst you try to rub horid thick white stuff into their skin. Oh and it is great for kids with Excema - that P20 stuff ended up with us at a doctors in Tuscany trying to figure out why DS was covered in huge red blotches!

Please Please Please listen to your customers - I can vouch for how much I spend in your store by the millions of advantage bloody card points I have! Oh and I live in the vicinity of Colchester so if you would like to trial it there I would be very very grateful!

(whinging and harping on over and done with!)

feedthegoat Wed 26-May-10 22:38:27

Am I wasting my time worrying about whether my daily facial moisturiser has SPF?

Obviously I wouldn't rely on it for sole protection for a full day out in the sun. However, it is often the only thing I use on my face even though I wouldn't go out in the summer sun without an SPF20 cream on my arms and legs.

Given that you apply sun cream every 1-2 hours, is a face cream that you apply once at 7 am any use at all?

motherjen Thu 27-May-10 15:59:27

Can you recommend a suncream for a 2-year-old with super-sensitive skin and eczema? Similar to 'belledechocolatefluffybun', my ds comes out in hives and starts scratching soon after application with every cream I've tried so far. I've been told that lower-factor creams clog up the pores less and are better for kids with sensitive skin but he was still scratching with a factor 15. I've also tried organic products but he has the same reaction.

beatalucky Thu 27-May-10 17:26:48

How about natural ingredients(organic) -sunscreens are they as good as the other sunscreens eg nivea? are they better for skin and have less chemicals?

Lymond Thu 27-May-10 17:57:41

I have a family history of skin cancer at a young age, so visit an oncologist regularly. He recommended Green People Sunscreen to me, along with a few other brands (not including Boots) as sunscreens that are not carcinogenic themselves. Why do Boots not do an own brand, mineral sunscreen like these?

He also told me never to trust that they will work for more than 3-4 hours, and wrote letters to my kids school to make sure they get help reapplying their lotion at lunch time. Do you agree that sunscreen shouldn't be advertised as lasting all day?

RicePuddingwithApricotJam Fri 28-May-10 08:32:39

My little on is 3 weeks old and I prefer not to use chemicals on his skin. Can you advise on UVA and UVB proof tents or shelters?

skb74 Wed 02-Jun-10 12:53:52

At what age can/should you start applying sun cream on children? In some other countries they advise avoiding sun creams before the child is 2 yrs old and just keeping them in shade - v. difficult though with an active baby/toddler!

misscph1973 Mon 07-Jun-10 14:13:00

So when will the Q & A session be posted? I have been checking in daily but still no sign of it?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Jun-10 16:15:08

Apologies for the delay in posting the answers - as you can see there were so many questions, it's taken Mike a little longer than we'd envisaged to answer, but we will def be linking to his answers from here early next week.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-Jun-10 12:50:53

You can now see the answers to your questions here.

Mike Brown Q and A

Many thanks to all those who sent in questions to Mike.

Can you please pass on my thanks to Mike Brown. I have read through all the questions and answers and it has been very enlightening, I feel much more confident about managing my dc sun exposure now. smile

mackerel Tue 15-Jun-10 17:55:32

Is a day moisturiser with spf 15 enough? I use a normal amount of it but wonder if I would need to use substantially more to achieve the proper spf protection? Should I use a sunscreen too. I have vitiligo on my hands and feet and am worried it might pread to my face.

FabIsGettingFit Tue 15-Jun-10 18:26:10

I am disappointed he didn't answer my question, especially as it would have helped lots of people.

PotPourri Tue 15-Jun-10 20:40:53

How does the once a day stuff work? I have the boots stuff and also the reimann P20 stuff. It definately works - i.e. no burning. But does it leave you unprotected in other ways, and is it suitable for children to use. And finally, if I put it on the kids in the morning as a cover=all in case I don't get the chance to be effiient in applying cream all day, then put on normal cream throughout the day would it stop working/kinda remove the once a day effects...

Hello! Can you tell me which sunscreen best lives up to these requirements?

High protection for UVA and UVB.


Designed for children.

Must be a cream and broad sectrum.

Can contain Titanium dioxide
Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX

Must avoid

Ingredients Oxybenzone
Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)

I would really love to know the creams that fall into that category

I you can tell me the name I will buy it


QSincognitoErgoSum Wed 16-Jun-10 08:32:49

Unsurprisingly, he did not answer my question! grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jun-10 10:57:18

Sorry Kickarsequeen, the Q and A is over now - you can see the answers to his questions here

Lymond Wed 16-Jun-10 11:22:22

I just read his answers - he claimed that
Green People have very poor levels of UVA.
Now, I've spent an hour trying to find evidence of the UV-A factor of Green People Sunscreen
this claims 70-74%, which is very good, surely?

Also, in the FAQ'a on Green People's site (which is a pdf and I can't link to) they claim

"In an attempt to indicate the level of protection a sunscreen offers against UVA, the
star-rating system was created. Originally developed by scientists in Australia, this was
subsequently adopted and taken over by Boots the Chemist. Using a range of 1 to 5
stars, the system indicates the level of UVA protection compared to the SPF level of the
product. The more stars a product has, the higher the proportion of UVA protection it
offers. When our products are measured against the Boot system, they score at least 3
Star Plus (*) which is classed as offering 'Superior' protection against UVA radiation."

So, yes, the boots ones are mostly all 5 star UVA, however they achieve that by using ingredients which make my children skin itchy.

I also like it that Green People say to reapply every 2 hours, where as Boots claim "up to 6 hours".

GreenGenie Wed 16-Jun-10 14:49:49


QSincognitoErgoSum Wed 16-Jun-10 16:44:39

Soltan is also on the list of sunlotions to avoid, because it contains cyclopentasiloxane (a danger to health and the envirment) og H3CC (causing allergies).
(along with Nivea, amongst others)

Article in Norwegian newspaper here:

GraceK Wed 16-Jun-10 18:39:16

Hi there

I (as a very pale skinned lady who's uncle died of malignant melanoma) have always been very careful with suncreams. Can definately recommend P20 which had it's formula updated last year - now does both UVA & UVB, no longer stains clothes orange, is a liquid (so is qick & easy to apply / doesn't get sand stuck to it), is water-proof & lasts all day, plus a bottle lasts ages. Have used it on my DD since she was 9 mths old with no reactions.

Am constantly surprised by how many people with small children haven't heard of it & spend large amounts of time at the beach, etc chasing them round with sticky, non-water-proof creams. You just have to remember to apply it before you go out as it takes 15 mins to start working.

I do find it annoying that most children's hats have such pointlessly small brims - so they just get a hot, sweaty head with no sun protection for their eyes / necks.

qs can you translate that? I don't read Norwegian grin

Gracek That is really interesting, I haven't previously looked at P20 for my children and I just looked at their site. I can't see an ingredients list on there tho, do you thik you could have a look for me and see if it contains Oxybenzone, cyclopentasiloxane or Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate). Sorry to be cheeky, but it looks like a really good product.

if tinted and other moisturisers can give effective sun protection without leaving me greasy, itchy and feeling like i have a layer of trapped sweat irritating my pours and giving me hives and pimples then how come products specifically sold as sunscreen can't? are they using different ingredients to be more economical or what? i don't understand why sunscreen has to be so nasty if a relatively cheap tinted moisturiser that i use can achieve protection without that.

also for those of us that don't know or understand what are the current concerns about sunscreen use and it's relationship to cancers? is it something we should be concerned about (i'd never heard this) or unscientific scare stories?

doh - missed a page and didn't see i'd missed the slot. insert stupid emoticon.

Sonilaa Thu 17-Jun-10 09:05:37

swallowed - I want to know that too, plus why do suncreams smell so horrible. my skin starts to itch just from the smell.

i've started using spray oils sonilaa - even though you'd think they'd be more greasy and skin clogging they actually aren't. maybe less crap in them?

GraceK Thu 17-Jun-10 19:29:22

Dear KickArseQueen - I've had a good look & there's a list of the ingredients on Amazon - I hope it's okay for you to try.

I'm allergic to biological washing powder & quite a lot of make up but have never had a reaction to it even on my face. I've been using it for many years & it's really works for me & my kids.

Hi gracek Thankyou very much for finding that
I found the ingredients list, the trouble is that I'm not a chemist so I'm never sure if a similar sounding word is actually the same chemical iyswim?

I think I may post that as a question and see if any mumsnetting chemists can tell me the answer, It definatley contains one of the items on my list - highlighted but I'm not sure about the others, its not an allergy issue its more about avoiding putting harmful things on my dc, I'm not sure if they really are harmful or if they are how serious it is, but I would love to have protection from the sun for my dc's without the risk that the protection itself harmful. Ideally I am looking for something with a higher spf than 20 30/40 would be fine.

My avoid list is Oxybenzone, cyclopentasiloxane or Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).

Alcohol Denat.
Octocrylene Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate Hexyldecanol Aqua PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Homosalate Cyclopentasiloxane Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer Hydroxypropylcellulose

( I'm not sure if Hydroxybenzoyl is the same as oxybenzone)

Not too picky am I? Thanks for all the info

GraceK Fri 18-Jun-10 21:44:39

Glad to be of service KickArseQueen - hopefully someone will be able to tell you what's what.

Personally we don't wear it every day - only when it's hot (which isn't that much in this country) & if we're going out all day - I'm a big believer in hats the rest of the time. I figure that if you're out all day then some protection is better than none & only having to put it on once means only one load of chemicals & one lot of complaints / chasing (both children & DH).

Although it says it's only Factor 20, I don't get burnt & have only tanned with it whilst pregnant (weird hormonal reaction) - am so careful / white that the (weird IMO) people who like to be brown used to take the mic about me only pretending to go on holiday!

Hope you find something that meets all your requirements soon!

I just got back from boots. Iasked for advice on the sunblocks and was told that the absolute best option for me and the dc's inc my 9 month old was a garnier factor 30 spray oil. hmm I was also told that Cyclopentasiloxane does not get absorbed by the skin ever as it is a sillicon.

At that point I left.

I give up.

So much for asking instore for advice!

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