Today I wanted to talk a bit about sunscreen, and why I am against most forms of standard sunscreen. This topic is especially important to me, having just come out of the New Zealand summer- the sun here is intense thanks to that little hole in the ozone layer. I was pretty nervous about getting badly sunburnt down here, but I’m happy to report that I didn’t get burnt at all. Surprisingly, I got quite a nice tan and I never used regular sunscreen.
As you know, I’m all about using natural skin and beauty products. I have made my own toothpaste, body butter, and deodorant. I spend a lot of time researching natural products and how they compare to the common versions we find on store shelves. One thing that I have seen reported over and over again is how skin cancer rates have skyrocketed since using sunscreen became so “mandatory”. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), melanoma rates have tripled over the past 35 years and there is very little evidence that sunscreen helps prevent most types of skin cancer. I wholeheartedly believe in this information and I’m one of those people that believes it is because of slathering layer after layer of chemical-ridden sunscreen on our skin that skin cancer rates are so high. I don’t believe staying out of the sun completely is the right option either. We need vitamin D!!
Having said that, I have been using all natural versions of sunscreen and they have now seen me through road trips to California, and a New Zealand summer with great success.
I thought I would share my personal experiences of natural sunscreens here and let you know which ones I liked best. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also has it’s own sunscreen recommendations that are definitely worth checking out.
I found this sunscreen to work well and I was happy to use it. It is certified organic, and uses natural, plant-based ingredients along with it’s main ingredient, zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is low on the hazard scale. The concerns for me was in how thick the mixture is. It was very hard to spread around, which made the bottle not last as long. The sunscreen also leaves your skin looking mildly white which isn’t something I’m concerned about but it might be a problem for some. It worked well even in the water for me, as the Sport sunscreens are water resistant for 80 minutes.
You can view the EWG’s rating for Badger Sport Sunscreen here.
Yes, same brand as above, but a baby version. Why would I use a sunscreen for babies? Because I read reviews online and most people agreed that this was one of Badger’s nicest sunscreens. It has less UVA protection than the above version, and isn’t water resistant. It smells of natural chamomile which I liked, although it had the same problem with being so thick, and leaving the skin white. I would probably purchase the Sport Sunscreen again before this one, just because of the water resistance.
You can view the EWG’s rating for Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream here.
My favourite natural sunscreen, which I really loved was given to me by my boyfriend’s mom just before we left for New Zealand. It’s by Rocky Mountain Soap Company and it’s amazing! It is a non-nano sunscreen which is very important. Sometimes zinc-oxide sunscreens contain nano-particles which are so small they can enter directly into the skin. Makeups and mineral powders often have these dangerous particles, too. This Vanilla Coconut Sunscreen, SPF 30, smells absolutely divine. It’s much thinner than the above mentioned sunscreens, and it feels like a beautiful moisturizer you’re putting on your skin. It doesn’t leave any white behind, and rubs right in.
Unfortunately the EWG does not have a rating for this product yet.
Now, besides using sunscreen, there are many other steps you can take to help keep you safe in the sun. Avoiding toxins and chemicals in other products, besides sunscreen, is just as important! Tons of chemicals added to common products that we use daily are carcinogens. Avoid, avoid, avoid!
Protect yourself through what you eat. UV radiation from the sun can increase free-radicals in the body. What fights the negative effects of these free-radicals, you ask? ANTIOXIDANTS! Yes, the word you have heard tossed around in the media so much lately really is important. So eat those superfoods- blueberries, acai, cacao, green tea, kale, carrots, broccoli!
Be sensible throughout the Summer and when you spend the day at the beach. Apply a natural sunscreen, and re-apply throughout the day, wear a hat, bring light, loose clothes to cover up in, eat healthy, antioxidant packed foods, and bring an umbrella to provide some shade.