Sunscreen Safety Tips
Are you already tired of the annual discussion about sunscreen? Which one isn’t going to kill you? Which one leaves white chalky streaks? Which company is getting sued because too many people burned when they used it? Every year the EWG report comes out and the one you were devoted to last summer has somehow gone from getting a 2 rating to a 4… and that just won’t do. You can make yourself crazy trying to figure out what’s what!
So, here’s the plain and easy:
- Seek the shade when you can.
- Avoid the sun during peak hours when possible (10ish to 2ish.)
- Use sun-protective clothing. A typical T-shirt has an SPF rating of 15.
- Wear sunscreen. Often.
- Wear enough sunscreen. (Enough to fill a shot glass.)
- Make sure your sunscreen is “broad-spectrum” with a SPF of 50 or less. Anything over 50 is useless and can cause more harm than good.
- Avoid products with questionable ingredients when you can. Chemical sunscreens, like those with the ingredient oxybenezone, absorb through the skin and may disrupt the hormone system. Retinyl palmitate and retinol are forms of vitamin A that may speed the development of skin tumors when applied to sun-exposed skin.
- Choose non-nano zinc oxide when possible.
- Skip the aerosol sprays.
And with all this in mind, remember…
- “Bad sunscreen” is better than no sunscreen and a sunburn.
Again, the key to living a healthier life is to reduce our overall burden. The less crap we put in and on our bodies the better. But life happens and sometimes the safest choice isn’t available.
Here is what’s currently in my car, my purse (i.e. my book bag – maybe when the kids are out of diapers I’ll start using a cute purse again?!) and what I plan to use for a spring and summer full of fun and sun.
- Goes on practically clear, no white residue.
- Non-nano zinc oxide (Nanoparticles are extremely small molecules often found in mineral sunscreens. Little is known about their safety, and their size means that they may be easily absorbed and enter the bloodstream.
- Goes on clear
- Ingredients like beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil hydrate the lips
- Scent free
- Not great for sharing
Beautycounter Protect Stick Sunscreen for face* ($18) and body ($34)
- Goes on clear
- Easy to apply
- Nice smell for kids
- You may prefer unscented
- Moisture, sun protection and coverage in one
- Zinc oxide based tinted solution
- SPF 20
- Non-nano particles
- Can be used under makeup
- Push nozzle makes dispensing easy
- Natural looking coverage like a BB cream
- Since sunscreen has to be re-applied every few hours, re-application is a little tricky if you are wearing makeup over it
- Only 20 SPF
- As with all Beautycounter products, the company doesn’t supply samples. You have to either make an educated guess on color or work with a consultant like me. There is also a 60 day money back guarantee if you don’t love the color or coverage.
If you want to learn more about what’s in your sunscreen you can visit the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Guide to Sunscreens to look up what you’re using or to search for better alternatives.
* Full disclosure. I am a Beautycounter consultant. I sell it because I genuinely love the products and am passionate about the mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone!