Now that the long weekend is behind us, summer is officially in front of us! What better time to talk about the varieties and benefits of natural sunscreens.
I already have a good sunscreen. Why should I consider natural sunscreens?
If I could empower everyone with just one tool, it would be the Environmental Working Group website or phone app. You can look up any product on there (the Skin Deep portion of the website is devoted to skin and body care items, and they even have a section of their site called the “2015 Guide to Sunscreens”) and find out the safety of all the ingredients. It is a non-profit, non-biased website so it truly is useful.
It’s very important to protect our skin from too much sunlight, as the sun’s rays contain UV light which can damage skin cells, cause premature aging, and increase likelihood of skin cancer. But we don’t want to cover our skin TOO much or we won’t be getting in the naked sun time to help our skin produce vitamin D.
Regular sunscreens use chemicals to penetrate the skin and absorb UV light. Many of the chemicals used in conventional sunscreens are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors and can be very hard for your liver to detoxify. One ingredient called ‘Oxybenzone’ is present in a lot of sunscreens, and has been found in reports linked to ovaries growing in male fish species. EW! Physical sunscreens (what I am referring to as ‘natural’) use minerals to physically sit on the skin and block UV light. Physical sunscreens usually consist of non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. They sit on the surface of your skin and don’t go into the bloodstream.
Which brands are best?
*HAPPY HINT*: Guys, guess what….some pure oils out there have natural SPF! It might cost a bit extra to get a good quality one, but speaking for myself, massaging in a beautiful pure potent oil like red raspberry seed (SPF 30), macadamia nut oil (SPF 18) or avocado oil (SPF 15) sounds like heaven. Not only will they protect you but they will also moisturize, replenish, and nourish your skin with antioxidants and vitamins.
Badger brand is an excellent brand that I have come to know and trust. It uses zinc oxide as the UV light blocker. You can pronounce all the ingredients, they make the simplest cleanest formulas, and their products actually work. Here’s a list of the ingredients for the one I have (all certified organic): Sunflower oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Seabuckthorn oil, Zinc Oxide. Is that incredible or what?!
Disclaimer: Badger sunscreen goes on quite thick, as you can see here, and you need to rub it in really well in order to eliminate the white-ness. I find that one tube just does not cut it to cover my whole body because it is so thick and it runs out too soon. Therefore I reserve badger for my face, neck and hands. Or if there is a baby around and needs solid sun protection. 🙂
This is my go-to body sunscreen. I got it right after I ran out of my Badger tube halfway through a vacation. It is a spray so it is a lot thinner and can cover more of your body, easier, for less. The ingredients are great and this is a Canadian company (yay!) so I like to support them. It also uses zinc oxide as the sun blocker. It is marketed as “non-whitening” so it won’t leave your skin white after applied. Check out their site here.
Andalou Beauty Balm
This is a facial moisturizer with an SPF of 30. It smells great (kindof citrus-y) and rubs in very well. My skin felt hydrated and protected, and it didn’t leave a white tinge (I rubbed it in well). No nano-particles, non-GMO certified, and includes aloe vera juice and hibiscus flower extract for extra moisture and vitamin C protection. I really like this one. It also comes tinted but they are mostly peachy coloured…..I hope they soon come out with a good spectrum of colours for all the sistas and mistas out there!
I’m feeling adventurous…..Can I make my own?
Why yes you can! There are lots of recipes for homemade sunscreens but my favourite so far is this fabulous recipe from Wellness Mama. Lots of oils naturally have SPF, and once you buy a regular zinc oxide powder you are good to go! Check out the article here.
Enjoy the sunshine my lovelies!!