How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen

by | Jul 2, 2018 | Beauty Tips, Clean Beauty | 17 comments

Choosing the right sunscreen may be more challenging than you think. I was really feeling on the right path with my skin care, but the potential danger of the chemicals in sunscreen didn’t resonate with me until recently. It all sunk in when I read the article about the coral reefs. It just doesn’t make sense. They are banning sunscreens for the reefs. What about us?!

After a minor scare with skin cancer (basal cell) twelve years ago, I became very conscientious about sun protection and really avoided the sun as much as possible. The rest of my family did not seem to understand the importance of sunscreen. I provided constant friendly reminders that were often perceived as “nagging”. It soon became the family joke that before any of them hit the golf course or baseball field that I was for sure going to mention sunscreen!

I’m two years into safe skincare, recently completed a makeup clean-out, so now was the time to do the sunscreen research. One problem: If I’m going to write a blogpost on a topic, I like to be “in the know”. I honestly haven’t had the need for body sunscreen yet this summer because I haven’t had that much sun exposure. I’ve been reading and researching to decipher the info for you.

In a short summary, here are important pieces to know. I included a couple graphics for those of you who are visual. Most of these ingredients have very long names and nearly impossible to pronounce.

Oxybenzone is hazardous to human health and the environment. It is an allergen and hormone disrupter that soaks through the skin. In lab experiments it caused damage and deformation of coral. It has been known to cause coral bleaching and even death thus the reason for the legislation in Hawaii. (Article above) Despite all this, oxybenzone is still widely used in the market.

Here are some names of other ingredients to avoid. (Everything in red and orange)

Mineral Suncreens use ZINC OXIDE and/or TITANIUM DIOXIDE. Look for these to be the active ingredients (bottom 2 in green) because they are physical blockers and form an actual barrier on your skin and reflect UV rays.

The others use chemical blockers (usually a combination of the ingredients in the red/orange zone) which absorb UV radiation to dissipate it.

There are also two types of UV radiation: UVB, which is responsible for actual sunburns, and UVA rays, which penetrate deeper. Mineral-based, physical blockers protect against both. But since chemical blockers absorb the rays instead, this allows UVA to reach those deeper layers of your skin and do damage.

Many of the chemical blockers are considered endocrine disrupters and known to affect estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid functions.

So how do you determine the best without spending a fortune trying a dozen different ones? Will mineral sunscreens give the white chalky look? Will these sunscreens work? Recently a friend of mine tried a top brand recommended and got sunburned. It can be very frustrating.

A while back I was sent a guide to the best sunscreens by and it was really helpful. For those of you who want more details and research it’s easy to read or print out for future reference.

I have mentioned EVER skin’s moisturizer in the past. Although this also comes in 5 tints, I like the clear for facial sunscreen. SPF 32. I keep a tube in my handbag and if I’m out and about–sitting outside for coffee or lunch for example, I will apply this with special attention to my nose, ears, forehead etc. I use the tinted version daily. In fact it has become my “foundation” and I don’t use anything else. This provides that little extra coverage.

I am giving away this product and will draw a winner from the comments on this post. Winner will be announced July 6th.

EVER daylight moisturizer EVER skincare Daylight Moisturizer

In reference to the sunscreen guide, I will try Alba. Another friend also recommended Pacific found at Target.

*** Although the sunscreen review discourages spray versions (and I understand why) there were times when my kids were growing up that a spray was the only product they were going to use which I would deem is better than going without!

Was this post helpful? Were you aware of the differences in sunscreens and ingredients?Have you tried a mineral sunscreen?

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!