When it comes to skincare, there is little more important than protecting your delicate skin from the sun and UV rays. When your skin is not protected by sunscreen your body becomes more prone to sun damage like dark spots, sun spots, wrinkles, sunburn, and of course, various types of skin cancer. One of the most deadly forms of skin cancer in Melanoma and has the highest rate of death among all skin cancers.
Fortunately for you, there is one simple way to protect your skin from aggressive cancers, dark spots, wrinkles, and premature skin aging – and that is using a high-quality sunscreen. The most important step in this process is making sure you are wearing your sunscreen at all times. Yes, that means even in the winter months or when you won’t be outside for extended periods of time. The sun is still strong and dangerous even when the temperatures are bitterly cold. So, if you are going on a run in the middle of the winter during the day, and your face is exposed, you still need to apply that sunscreen.
However, not all sunscreen is created equal. What if we told you your favorite sunscreen has a laundry list of toxic ingredients that are just are deadly as exposing your skin to the sun without any protection? Would you be even more shocked that some ingredients in conventional sunscreen may even further increase your risk of skin cancer? Unfortunately, this is indeed true and you must educate yourself on the dangers of conventional sunscreen and the host of toxic and chemical ingredients lurking in that tube shoved in your drawer.
The Dangers of Chemical-based Sunscreens
Free Radical Damage
The EWG, a research facility that provides an extensive database of toxic beauty products and toxic ingredients, have tested over 1,400 different sunscreens in their independent labs. They concluded that over 40% of those sunscreens contained ingredients that could potentially contribute to skin cancers.
It is believed that the increase in cancer can occur due to the ingredients, retinyl palmitate, and retinol, forms of vitamin A. These ingredients can actually release free radicals from your skin, which in turn can speed the development of cancer cell.
Conventional chemical-based sunscreens are made so that your skin will actually block the sun’s UV rays. Chemical sunscreens cause an actual chemical reaction on your skin so that your skin can block damage from UVA and UVB rays. Making matters worse is the fact that chemical sunscreens, like anything that we put on our skin, is absorbed directly into the bloodstream without any dilution or filtering.
Some of the most common ingredients in conventional sunscreen are now believed through many studies, to mimic and disrupt hormones. This is a particularly concerning area for women. Ingredients include oxybenzone, homosalate, and octinoxate and can cause an increased risk of developing endometriosis, reproductive issues, and thyroid and behavioral changes.
Ingredients to Avoid in Sunscreen
There are a handful of ingredients that must be avoided if you are looking to reduce your risk of cancer from sunscreens. Below are the top ingredients to avoid:
- Retinyl palmitate and retinol
- Oxybenzone, homosalate, and octinoxate
The 5 Best Natural and Organic Sunscreens:
Here are the top 5 best natural and organic sunscreens we could find available for sale online. Explore the options below and choose the one that will suit your needs the best!
Badger is a trusted brand in the natural and organic sunscreen and body care industry. They are known for making the purest of products that are safe from everyone to use. This sunscreen uses mineral zinc oxide as the natural sun protecting active ingredient. It is a broad spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen. It is also water and sweat resistant and can be used for up to 40 minutes of water activity or physical activity.
This option also only has 5 natural ingredients, all non-GMO and many of them certified organic. It contains organic sunflower seed oil beeswax, seabuckthorn, vitamin E, and non-nano zinc oxide. Badger also never tests on animals and the tube never contains BPA or phthalates. It is important to note that this product will leave a white/blue tint on the skin, which is common for most natural sunscreens.
Although this sunscreen is only meant for the face, it had to take a spot on our list – it is that awesome. This product is EWG verified and only uses a few simple, natural, and healthy ingredients.
- Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*
- Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*
- Glycerin (Vegetable)*
- Benzyl Alcohol
- Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
- Xanthan Gum
- Dehydroacetic Acid
They use non-nanoparticle zinc oxide for ultimate safety. This product is perfect to wear every day and goes on smoothly without any heaviness or caking. In fact, this product is so lightweight that you can use it as a face primer and everyday moisturizer under makeup. It goes on with absolutely no white or blue tint, which makes it a very popular choice for everyday use.
This sunscreen is special and hard to find in the natural and mineral sunscreen world – it is a mist spray. This mist sunscreen is soothing and mattifying on the skin while protecting you from the sun’s UV rays. This product has Yerba Mate tealeaf, which has strong antioxidants to help protect your skin against harmful free radicals and pollution. The active ingredient in this sunscreen is zinc oxide.
The mist has a quick-drying formula and goes onto the skin effortlessly since it is a spray. This eliminates the very common white and blue tint a natural mineral sunscreen tends to have. This great product is also vegan and water resistant for up to 80 minutes at a time. There are relatively few ingredients in the sunscreen compared to conventional options. Ingredient highlights include nourishing things like Jojoba oil, safflower seed oil, and Yerba Mate leaf extract.
This natural sunscreen is an SPF 25 and offers solid protection from the sun. The formula is made from natural, organic, and vegan ingredients and no toxins, chemicals, fragrances, or colorants. This product also contains no GMOs, gluten, or soy, which is a great feature for those who are sensitive to those items. This is also a great option for an everyday sunscreen because the formula is smooth and light enough to be worn under your makeup every day. This makes it super simple to apply to your skin during your morning routine before work. Just a little dap on the face, neck, and the rest of your body will do the trick to protect your skin during the day.
This sunscreen uses non-nanoparticle zinc oxide as the active ingredient to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Goddess Garden Everyday SPF is a wonderful go-to option that can be easily found online or in your favorite natural and organic supermarket. This sunscreen contains tons of natural and skin-friendly ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, lavender oil, and vitamin E. this active ingredients are both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Many of the ingredients are also certified organic,
It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, is reef safe, and 100% biodegradable. Other highlights of this sunscreen include:
- Cruelty free
- Alcohol free
- Free of oxybenzone, parabens, and synthetic fragrance
The only downfall of this lotion is the fact that it is somewhat difficult to rub into the skin and is likely to leave that white tint on your skin. However, if you start with clean and moisturized skin, it is more likely that white color will blend into the skin much better. The company also states that if your product is still looking white on the skin, just keep rubbing it in until you cannot see the white anymore. Although it is slightly more work than applying a conventional sunscreen, the chemical free and safe formula is well worth the tradeoff.
How to Choose a Natural and Organic Sunscreen
Choosing a natural and organic sunscreen can feel a bit complicated at first, however, once you know what to look for, you won’t feel intimidated anymore. First are foremost, look for mineral-based sunscreens. These reflect sunlight away from your skin and don’t fully absorb the product. Mineral sunscreens will have the active ingredients of either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide listed as the active ingredient.
If you want to take your natural sunscreen a bit further, look for brands that use non-nano particle varieties. Many brands use teeny tiny nanoparticles from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to create a more sheen sunscreen so the sunscreen does not look white/blue on the skin. Some claim there is some concern about some skin absorption of nanoparticles, although it is quite minimal. However, if it is a concern for you, just make sure to buy non-nanoparticle specified sunscreens.
You also want to avoid any sunscreens with fragrance, unless it is coming from essential oil blends. You can read more about the issues with fragrance, here.
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