Slathering your skin with avobenzone, oxybenzone, octisalate, diethylexyl and triethanolamine doesn’t sound appealing. But replace those ingredients with things like organic macadamia nut, hemp seed oils, green tea extracts, beeswax and purified water, and now we’re talking. That’s the difference between chemical sunscreens and natural mineral-based ones.
While the typical commercial brands work just fine to protect your skin, people can be sensitive to the chemicals in here. And the long-term hazards of these ingredients is still widely unknown. Given the latest news about the harmful effects of shampoo, we have a sneaking suspicion that more everyday products, like sunscreen, will be next on the list.
Not only do natural sunscreens smell delish, they use natural mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to form a barrier between your skin and the sun (chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays). The general consensus is that these products work, but they can be more expensive and you have to apply a thick layer which can take a while to absorb (meaning, you will look pasty white at first). In fact, the the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you use an entire shot glass worth of sunscreen for the exposed skin on your body.
If you do decide to give them a “shot,” here are the safest natural sunscreens according to the 2011 Environmental Working Group report:
Alba Botanica: With a fragrance-free and kids version, this SPF 30 mineral sunscreen scored high .
Aubrey Organics: Their unscented sport stick and unscented sensitive skin versions are “saving face”.
Avene: Infused with Avène Thermal spring water, two of their products contain an SPF of 50.
Badger: Not only do they make a wonderful lip balm, but their sunscreen is top-rated.
California Baby: This brand received several thumbs-up from the EWG for seven of their sunscreens.
Kiss My Face: They make the best lotions and shampoos and their 100 percent natural sun sticks with a 30 sun protection received top praise.
Sun Putty: This company’s plant-based sunscreen had the lowest of EWG’s toxicity levels.