“Marilyn Monroe con bañador blanco en la playa” by Antonio Marín Segovia is licensed under CC BY 2.0
There’s a big debate happening over whether sunscreen is actually causing more harm to our health than we realize. We already know too much sun causes cancer and accelerates aging – thus, protection from the sun is a must! But is the sunscreen your using potentially just as harmful? More research is indicating that certain types of sunscreen are linked to increased inflammation, aging, and cancer.
There are two types of sunscreen: physical and chemical.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients such as oxybenzone are absorbed into the skin and cause a chemical reaction that is believed to prevent UV damage. When these ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream, they are considered endocrine disruptors . Endocrine disruptors interfere with our natural hormones. They tamper with estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and thyroid. Endocrine disruptors can cause undeveloped testicles in small boys, early puberty in girls, low sperm count and infertility, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer…. Hmm, no thank you!
Physical sunscreens include the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These ingredients sit on top of the skin and block/deflect UV light. Physical sunscreens can also be dangerous if the minerals are in a form called nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are small enough to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
The best, safest form of sunscreen is a physical sunscreen in non-nanoparticle form. Microfine zinc and titanium dioxide are small enough to apply smooth and even on the skin, but not so small that it will be absorbed into the bloodstream. Zinc oxide is also known for being a little more gentle on the skin compared to titanium dioxide, especially for those who suffer from acne and need a sunscreen for the face.
A common complaint when converting to natural sunscreen is that they frequently give a thick, whitish film on the skin. This is especially common in less expensive brands that do not use microfine zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. I have tried NUMEROUS natural sunscreens before finding some that apply smooth, even, and clear – and I am happy to say that they do indeed exist!
Here are my favorite natural sunscreens:
Grahams SunClear Natural Sunscreen:
This is my favorite body sunscreen for those days I spend at the beach or outside at a BBQ. The main ingredient is microfine zinc oxide, SPF 30. It applies more like a body oil, and is a little shiny at first. However, it absorbs into the skin quickly. It leaves no white film at all! It also contains skin-yummy ingredients such as rose hip oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. It is also water resistant. This is truly a sunscreen gem!
BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Sunscreen:
This is my favorite facial sunscreen. It is SPF 35, and applies clean and clear to the skin with a matte finish (which is perfect for under makeup). It is designed for sensitive skin, so it is great for anyone battling with acne! I carry this sunscreen with me in my purse for times when I am unexpectedly in the sun and need protection on my face and body. It is fragrance free, biodegradable, and affordable compared with other high-quality sunscreens!
Have you tried these sunscreens? What are your favorite natural, nontoxic ways to protect yourself from the sun?