Summer is nearly upon us in the northern hemisphere. My daughter had her last day of 2nd grade a week ago and we've plunged into vacation season (for her at least!).
As this is the time I normally also replenish my sunscreen stock, it's the perfect occasion to update the annual sunscreen safe swap post that I put together for my toxin-free living community
. As having clean sunscreen options is important for anyone with skin, I thought I'd share it publicly as well!
To kick us off, here are a few things to know about sunscreen.
Conventional chemical sunscreens are linked to myriad health issues, as well as the destruction of coral reefs.
Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients have even been banned in Hawaii and the Florida Keys because of the damage they are doing to human and aquatic life.
Most conventional sunscreens contain banished ingredients we want to avoid. Here are some of the biggest offenders:
Avobenzone – Causes relatively high rates of skin allergy.
Fragrance – According to the EWG Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, and respiratory distress. The phthalates that are often in synthetic fragrances are also lined to endocrine disruption and birth defects.
Homosalate – A UV filter that penetrates the skin and has been found in breast milk. Studies have shown that it may be a hormone-disruptor.
Octinoxate – A UV filter that penetrates the skin and has been found in breast milk. Studies have shown that it may have hormone-mimicking effects. It produces reproductive system, thyroid, and behavioral alterations in animal studies.
Oxybenzone – Has been detected in nearly every American’s blood. Studies have shown that oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor and causes contact allergic dermatitis. Increased levels of oxybenzone in adolescent boys can lead to lower testosterone levels. It's also a known cardinogen.
Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, ethyl-, benzyl-) – A family of preservatives that mimic estrogen and are directly linked to cancer
PEGs (Polyethylene Glycol) – A group of ingredients with the prefix “PEG-” followed by a number.
Phenoxyethanol – Skin exposure to this preservative has been linked to allergic reactions ranging from eczema and hives to anaphylaxis. Infants exposed to phenoxyethanol can experience a depressed central nervous system leading to a decreased appetite, difficulty waking, skin color change, damaged DNA, and limpness of extremities.
Instead, look for safe sunscreens that have either Non-Nano Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as the active ingredient.
These mineral sunscreens physically block the sun’s radiation by forming a barrier that sits on top of the skin. This barrier reflects the sun’s rays, causing them to scatter versus being absorbed into the skin.
Mineral sunscreens offer protection against broad spectrum UV rays (UVA/UVB), whereas chemical sunscreens typically block only UVA or UVB rays.
In addition, these minerals are gentle on the skin and do not penetrate the skin’s barrier and enter into the bloodstream like the ingredients in chemical sunscreens do.
Plus, mineral sunscreens work immediately upon application, unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20 minutes before they begin to work.
However, mineral sunscreens do have to be absorbed (i.e. rubbed in really well) to be most effective.
🌿 I also want my sunscreen to be:
- Nourishing, toxin-free, and non-GMO
- Made from certified organic ingredients that are vegan and gluten-free
- Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty free 🐰
- Reef safe 🐟🐬
🌿 If you're looking for a new toxin-free sunscreen, here are some good options to consider: