It’s finally feeling like summer, and I am so excited to be able to spend more time outside and to soak in the summer sunshine! If you’re like me, you need a lot of sunlight in order to feel like a normal functioning person, and rightly so, sunlight offers us the most viable opportunity to produce Vitamin D– more on that in a moment.
While I love being outside in the garden, taking a walk, playing in the park or simply lounging, it is also really important to protect myself from the Sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, both of which have been linked to causing cancer. Additionally, sun damage can result in skin discoloration, blotchiness and premature aging which I would love to avoid! Needless to say, sunscreen is important but there are a few things to think about before you slather it on!
First, let’s circle back to the comment I made earlier about Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is very common and sun exposure is the best way to increase your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency can weaken your immune system thus increasing your risk of illness. This fat soluble vitamin plays an important role in promoting adequate absorption of calcium which, if impaired, can impact long term bone health as well. Deficiencies can also lead to general symptoms of fatigue and weakness and, when long term, inadequate Vitamin D levels have been shown to increase the risk for cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and more.
So, though you might be compelled to slather on your sunscreen prior to leaving the house, allow yourself about 10-20 minutes (depending on your skin tone) of full-body sun exposure without sunscreen. Sunscreen is still recommended for the face as this skin is more delicate and prone to burning.
When you are ready to apply sunscreen it is important to remember that they are not all created equally! Some of them can be more harmful to wear than not, and most of them aren’t as effective as they advertise to be. Don’t freak. I am going to break it down for you.
Most conventional sunscreens contain harmful ingredients like, Oxybenzone, which is a hormone disruptor and allergen, and /or Retinyl Palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A that can harm the skin. Some government testing has proven that animals treated with Retinyl Palmitate have more skin tumors and lesions when exposed to sunlight. What’s worse, is that studies have shown that a large majority of sunscreens don’t actually offer the SPF protection that is advertised on the bottle – scary! For all of these reasons, and more, here are a few poorly rated sunscreens that are probably worth avoiding.
Remember, it is better to know the facts so you are able to make a decision that feels right for you and my personal mantra is, if it is controversial or potentially toxic I try to avoid it. Believe me, there are days that we are out int he sun and I grab whatever I can find. Perfection doesn’t exist. I do however stock my house with products I feel good about using all the while knowing there will be many situations I cannot control. This is how I find balance and feel good about the choices we make…even when they are not 100% perfect all of the time!
- Australia Gold Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 30
- Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sheer Protect Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Caribbean Gold Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30
- CVS Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oil Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30
note: these are all based on standard SPF 30, EWG rates some sunscreens with higher SPF (50+) as worse. See the full list here: EWG worst kids sunscreens.
The scariest part of these poorly rated sunscreens, is that they are all the name-brands that we’ve grown up with and have been applying for years! But not to worry, because I’ve done the research and found some really gentle, safe and effective sunscreens for you. Yes, they might cost a bit more but trust me, illness is more expensive!
Natural sunscreens contain minerals, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are less harmful for our bodies. They are also more stable in sunlight and offer a good balance between protection from the both UVB and UVA sunrays. Reapplication is not needed as often because they sit on top of the skin and protect that way, instead of being absorbed in the skin like conventional sunscreens–translation: you need less so the price might even out. They also offer soothing benefits all the while protecting your skin, whereas their counterparts tend to clog pores and create skin irritations.
Here are my top 5 favorite sunscreens that will both protect and nourish your skin, and have you feeling good all summer!
1) Beauty Counter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 Light weight, water resistant and wont leave any streaks. This Sunscreen has a Number 1 rating with EWG and is definitely my top pick! It also contains Aloe for soothing and cooling on those hot summer days. You can get the lotion, stick and many other sun protection products here.
2) Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Continuous Natural Sunscreen This sunscreen offers plant-based ingredients, is biodegradable, reef safe, and non-nano – so you’re worry free with this gentle protector! It also has an EWG rating of 1.
3) Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream This great sunscreen is Certified Organic and Certified Humane. It offers organic plant oils, as well as, Organic botanicals such as sunflower oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin e, and seabuckthorn. Also rates number 1 on EWG’s list this year.
4) Butterbean Organics SPF 30 Simple Formula Sunscreen Butterbean uses a non-aerosol treatment pump which makes sunscreen easy, and safer, to apply. This sunscreen contains Certified Organic olive, sunflower, and jojoba oils which make this a great choice for nourishing and soothing even the most sensitive of skins. Butterbean also has an EWG rating of 1, the lowest hazard.
5) True Natural Caribbean Coconut SPF 30 Sunscreen This yummy sunscreen get it’s sweet scent from pure coconut oils, and is an alcohol free, all natural mineral based formula. It is also biodegradable, gluten-free and vegan, making this a suitable choice for all skin types. This sunscreen has an EWG rating of 2, also low hazard.
In addition to mineral based sunscreens, here are a few more ways you can protect yourself from the Sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Wear clothes that cover your body more when you’re in the sun
- Find shade when you can
- Wear sunglasses as they protect your eyes from UV rays
- Go outdoors earlier or later in the day when the sun is lower in the sky
- Check the UV Index to know the UV threats of the day
Moral of the story is, love the sun but do it safely!
I am a Beauty Counter Consultant. When ordering, please enter my name as your consultant. If you make a purchase and use my name, I will receive a small commission. You do not pay the commission, it is paid by a third party. Opinions expressed here are my own and I only recommend products I would personally use.