Once we head outdoors for summer, sunscreen is a must have in my purse and pool bag. I do use sunscreen all year long on my face, but am definitely more diligent about it over once the warm weather hits. I am not afraid of some unprotected sun exposure but when we spend all day outside, I like my family to be protected.
I started cleaning up the quality of the food we eat in our house years ago, switching to more whole, unprocessed food, packaged food with clean ingredients, limiting artificial ingredients and GMOs. Cleaning products quickly came next with me making my own and now using my favorite concentrated cleaner. Beauty products have been slowly following as we start making our own lotions, using better quality toothpaste, and really cleaning up the ingredients in the products we put on our skin.
Seems overwhelming, right? Don't fret! We created this simple PDF that you can download here to get you on your way to cleaning up YOUR products!
One of the categories of products that many people over look when they think about quality of ingredients is sunscreen. There are so many ingredients in sunscreens that have been linked with serious health issues. But that doesn't have to stop your sun safety. There are better options out there.
Once you know better, you do better and I can't ‘un-know' what I have learned about the ingredients we put on our skin and the potential damage they can wreak on my family's health.
There are a few routes to go when practicing sun safety. And two don't require any potentially harmful ingredients at all!
When you decide to protect yourself from the sun, the most effective way is to cover your skin with clothing and a hat. I often (practically all the time) wear a hat when I am outside. There are many great clothing brands with UPF rating that you can easily wear on a summer day.
Time it right
It is often recommended that you limit your exposure to the sun during the strongest hours: 10 am to 2 pm. This isn't always practical for a busy family with lots of outdoor activities but it is something to consider.
And, of course, there is the use of sunscreen. We slather these on our bodies, our children's bodies, our faces with creams, gels, sticks and sprays. I am very concerned about the ingredients I am putting on my skin with these sunscreens and now that I know better, I try to do better.
How Clean is Your Sunscreen?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) does a great job at rating sunscreens. They have a whole site about sunscreen, sun facts and more. There is a whole host of information I was not aware of such as European sunscreens protect better against UVA rays, mineral sunscreens contain nano-particles and more. There are some sunscreens you definitely want to avoid:
- Aerosol Spray Sunscreens – don't cover properly and can be inhaled. The FDA has even expressed doubts in their effectiveness.
- SPF values above 50+ – trick you into thinking you are getting more protection. They suppress sunburns but don't protect any better against other kinds of sun damage.
- Oxybenzone – may disrupt endocrine system and may cause other health problems.
- Retinal Palmytate – may trigger damage, possibly cancer.
- and more
Here are some popular sunscreens that scored very poorly in their rating scales. I know I have used many of these on myself and my daughter in the past. This is just a few so check out the 2016 Hall of Shame Guide to see if your favorite made the list.
Many popular brands such as Banana Boat, Coppertone and Neutogena to name a few!
You can check the ratings for your sunscreen by entering the name of the sunscreen here: EWG Sunscreen Guide
My Favorite Sunscreen
So now what do you do? Well, first of all, look for a sunscreen without ingredients listed above. You can also check the EWG's database and enter the name of your sunscreen and see how it scores (the lower the score, the safer the ingredients).
I have tried several brands of safer sunscreen over the years. I have liked some and disliked others. You have to find which ones work best for you. I have to say my current favorite is from Beautycounter. They are a company who is dedicated to bringing safer products to every household and fit right into Oh Lardy's philosophy of making smarter choices with the products we put on and in our bodies.
I like their DewSkin Tinted Moisturizer for everyday makeup use. I also love their Sunscreen Cream (light weight, water resistant to 40 minutes) and Sunscreen Stick (so easy to use and is water resistant up to 80 minutes!) I often apply the stick right over my makeup. It is great!!
All three of these products score a 1 on the EWG rating scale!
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What sunscreen do you use? Are you going to switch to sunscreen with safer ingredients? Let me know in the comments!