Summer is officially here, and according to my Siri, it’s going to be a million degrees with a UV ray index of off the charts. This is what happens when you don’t recycle, people! Mama Earth gets angry at us all and then gets hotter than Hades!
All that aside, I’m a delicate little flower when it comes to the sun. My skin is so white, I glow in the dark like a ghost. I really do; true story. I could effortlessly play a Walker on The Walking Dead, especially if I didn’t get any coffee when I woke up.
I’ve never been into tanning (read: the sun and I are genetically incompatible). It takes a lot to keep this Walker skin ridiculously young-ish and protected from the sun’s death rays, so I used to pile on the sunscreen. Then I found out most sunscreens might cause as much damage as sun exposure. I can’t even.
The reason sunscreens are harmful is because most are laden with toxic chemicals. These chemicals get directly applied and then absorbed into your body’s largest organ: your skin. Disturbingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved at least nine popular sunscreen ingredients that are known to be endocrine disruptors. (Your endocrine system does enjoy being disrupted, by the way. Just thought I’d throw that out there.)
In addition to this, many sunscreens are linked to various cancers, which is just ridiculous, because we’re all wearing sunscreen to prevent cancer in the first place. UGH! I hate life! But I digress.
When it comes to chemical sunscreen is also very environmentally unfriendly, so for the sake of our bodies and Mama Nature, it just makes good sense to switch to a better product. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, there are quite a few excellent options.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SUNSCREEN:
- Zinc oxide + titanium deoxide: I KNOW! I’m beginning to have flashbacks of my chemistry classes (which I was uh-mazing at, thank you very much. #HumbleBragThatOnlyNerdsAppreciate). These two ingredients are crucial to a good sunscreen.
–> Zinc oxide offers superior broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, so it’s a win-win. Titanium deoxide adds additional coverage from harmful rays, so this is a powerhouse combination. They sit on the skin, so they repel water and rays better.
- EWG Rating: A good sunscreen will have an EWG (Environmental Working Group) rating of a 1-2
- Antioxidents: many quality sunscreens will add a natural antioxident, which is like gold for your skin. It’s not necessary, but it’s a major bonus.
(see below for my list of the good, the bad, and the ugly)
THE BAD INGREDIENTS:
We know sunscreens contain so many potentially hazardous chemicals, the ingredient list reads like a recipe for the ooze that teenaged mutant ninja turtles’ came from (that was for fellow geeks everywhere. Gotta stick together, peeps). But what exactly are these ingredients we need to avoid?
- Oxybenzone, the Big Baddie: this horrible chemical is a known endocrine disruptor linked to reduced sperm count in men and endometriosis in women. Extra scary fact: A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found 96 percent of the U.S. population has oxybenzone in their bodies.10 Aside from oxybenzone — which is found in 70 percent of sunscreens — here are some of the other commonly used chemicals that can enter your bloodstream and can cause toxic side effects:
- Octyl methooxycinnamate (OMC)
- Para-aminobenzoic (PABA)
BEST AND WORST SUNSCREENS FOR ADULTS
You can find a comprehensive list detailing good and bad sunscreen on EWG, but here is their highly reliable best of lists: http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/
The Best Sunscreens of 2017, Beach & Sport
- All Good Unscented Sunstick, SPF 30
- All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- aromatica Calendula Non-Nano UV Protection, SPF 30
- ATTITUDE Family Sensitive Skin Care Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50
- Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
- Bare Belly Organics Sunscreen, SPF 30
- California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- Drunk Elephant Umbra, Sheer Defense, SPF 30
- Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF, 30
- Jersey Shore Cosmetics Anti-Aging Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 35
- Just Skin Food Natural & Organic Sunscreen, SPF30
- Kabana Organic Skincare Green Screen Sunscreen, Original SPF 32
- Kiss My Face Organics Face & Body Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Poofy Organics The Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Body, SPF 50
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Face, SPF 50
- ThinkSport Sunscreen, SPF 50+
- Waxhead Sun Defense Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
- Zebs Organics Sunscreen, SPF 20 (4)
The Best Sunscreens of 2017, Moisturizers
- Andalou Naturals, All-in-One Beauty Balm, Sheer Tint, SPF 30
- Badger Damascus Rose Face Sunscreen, SPF 25
- Block Island Organics Natural Face Moisturizer, SPF 30
- CyberDERM Every Morning Sun Whip, SPF 25
- Goddess Garden Organics Face the Day Sunscreen & Firming Primer, SPF 30
- Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer, SPF 30
- SanRe Organic Skinfood Shaded Rose-Solar Healing Facial Cream, SPF 30
- Suntegrity Skincare 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, SPF 30 (5)
Most Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid
- Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen, SPF 60+
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
- Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 110
- GM Collin Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 60
- Banana Boat Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
Now that you have this list, you can bask in the sun without worry! Happy first official day of summer and International Yoga Day!