It’s already heating up here in the south and this time of year I start longing for the beach or at least to be poolside somewhere to try to cool off. While we’re restocking our pool bags, now is a perfect time to talk about sun protection. Sunscreen can harbor lots of nasties, but I’ve got you covered with some safe options for the whole family! Read on for what you need to know before picking out your next sunscreen and scroll down to see my favorite natural sunscreens.
These days we’re bombarded with so many campaigns for skin cancer awareness and everything from magazine articles to PSA’s telling you don’t leave home without sunscreen on. My mom has had reoccurring skin cancer for the last ten years, so I’ve taken that advice to heart and try to be very vigilant in using it. The problem is that most traditional sunscreens are made using chemicals that absorb UV rays, and like so many other personal care products they’re filled with synthetic preservatives, fragrances and performance enhancers that all pose a health risk. Not to mention the actual chemicals used to block the sun have pretty bad side effects. The two worst culprits are Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Oxybenzone is extremely widespread and found in 97% of Americans. It acts like estrogen in the body and is associated with endometriosis. In studies it lowered sperm count in animals. It penetrates your skin easily and is even makes it’s way into breast milk. Octinoxate can also be found in breast milk. It boasts side effects such as hormone-like activity in the body and alterations in thyroid, reproductive systems and behavior in animal studies. Geez, skin cancer versus endometriosis and lowered sperm count? I’m happy to say there is a better alternative.
While those drug store sunscreens use chemicals to shield you from UV rays, natural sunscreens use physical blockers that are just as effective (or even more so) at blocking out the harmful rays. Most natural sunscreens use either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and instead of absorbing the UV rays they actually reflect them so that they’re not absorbed by your skin at all. They also don’t break down over time with sun exposure like chemical versions do so they should be effective longer (still aim to reapply every two hours or after a dip in the water to be safe). In the old days these went on pretty white (remember the old images of surfers with a white nose?), however the newer versions are processed in a way to help them go on sheer. I’ve run into some that are a little less sheer, but for the most part I’ve been pretty impressed. I personally find they last longer and work better- neither of my kids have ever had a sun burn and we’ve spent plenty of time in the sun.
There are so many great natural sunscreens out there, but here are some of our favorites:
Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Fragrance Free Clear Zinc– Perfect for babies and children, this is what I use on the kids for a pool day and I’ve been using it on myself as well. It spreads easily and goes on really sheer. I found it for a steal on Amazon. It’s normally around $15, but if you use Subscribe and Save (which I do), you can get it for $12.26!
Badger Balm SPF 30 Kid’s Sunscreen– Another favorite for the kid’s (and for myself on occasion) is this great smelling sunscreen cream from Badger. It goes on smoothly and lasts through water fights and mermaid diving. $13.59
Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen, SPF 30– This waterproof sunscreen is great for the whole family. It works especially well for watersports or being active outdoors. $16.14
Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body SPF 30– I’m a huge fan of Suntegrity. Like the rest of their products, this sunscreen is easy to apply and goes on sheer. It’s a little bit pricier, but for how well it goes on I think it’s worth it. $24.oo
Badger All Season Face Stick Unscented SPF 35– The is a great little stick to throw in your bag for sunny park days or anytime you just need some coverage for face and hands. And it has a great price! $9.80
Raw Elements Eco Form Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30– This stick is long wearing and it’s wider, so a bit easier to cover larger areas. Another handy stick to have in case you need it.
For all my favorite tinted face sunscreens, check out my recent post here. All of the above options are just as effective as conventional sunscreens, minus the icky ingredients. Safer fun in the sun for the whole family! xo