Gayle wrote: These days, I’m trying to find a natural sunscreen and was wondering if you could recommend one. My philosophy is ‘less is more’ so although there seems to be many organic product lines out there, I’m just looking for something natural and simple!
This question seems to be on many minds lately as I have received it several times over the last month…Here are a few thoughts.
Receiving vitamin D from the sun is very valuable for our bodies. It is estimated that 80% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Where, besides milk, do we get Vitaim D? Exposure to the sun! The sun is definitely not something to be afraid of under regular exposure.
Despite the widespread use of sunscreen, skin cancer rates continue to escalate. In fact, the sun actually helps prevent cancer! Did you know that it only takes a matter of minutes for the product that you apply to your skin to be absorbed into your body? Try rubbing garlic on your foot. In a few minutes you will be able to taste it in your mouth. This is good reason to choose wisely what you apply to your skin and the ingredients in your favorite sunscreen. Limiting extensive exposure to the sun and applying sunscreen sparingly is the safest choice!
It is definitely wise to use a natural sunscreen if you intend to be outside for extensive periods of time (vacation, hiking, etc). I have found that the SPF levels in my mineral makeup are adequate in protecting my skin in a natural manner, so I rarely apply any to myself. But I am more concerned for my kids. In such events, I will apply a thin coat of sunscreen and use sun hats! Coconut oil is also another option for natural protection. Surprisingly enough, I have heard many people using coconut oil successfully for sunscreen while at the beach and various tropical locations – fair skinned individuals and all.
Safe Sunscreen List - this list was compiled by Safe Mama and is an excellent guide to some of the safest sunscreen products on the market including the EWG’s rating of each product. Their standards for being on the list are as follows: “All sunscreens we approved needed to be free of parabens, phthalates, and all the nasty ingredients we avoid in regular skin care (like PEG’s). Another ingredient we watch out for is the synthetic chemical oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor which can affect the nervous system, has been linked to cancer in some laboratory studies, and creates free-radicals when exposed to the sun which are harmful.”
Safe Sunscreen List 2008 - The Cosmetic Database released a safe sunscreen list last year. Please note that not all the ones recommended are indeed accurate. Always double check the ingredient list. Blue Lizard, for example, has parabens. Always take the Cosmetic Database with a grain of salt!
I personally have heard the best reviews in regards to the California Baby and TruKid sunscreens. California Baby is available at Target. Although several of these are described as children’s sunscreens, I know they would be perfectly adequate for parents/adults as well. We used the Weleda brand last year for our whole family as needed with great success. Another good choice for adults and children would be the Jason Sunbrella’s Minerals. The most frugal choice appears to be the TruKid line which retails for $10.99 for a 4 oz bottle. I have found that although these natural alternatives are more expensive, they last a very long time when you are only applying sparingly!
My Thoughts on Suncreen – Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home wrote a thorough post on the topic evaluating the pro’s and con’s of sunscreen. She also wrote a second part highlighting some recommendations of particular brands. She covered the topic better than I could!
Do you use sunscreen? If so, have you found a natural alternative or natural and safe brand that you can recommend?