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Non-toxic sunscreen 101

by Parul Ferrie |

With so many sunscreens on the market claiming to be the perfect sunscreen, how do you decide which one is safe and effective? Here are 5 things to look for to help you with the selection process:

Mechanism of Action

Sunscreens either use a physical or a chemical barrier. Physical barriers deflect the Ultra Violet A (UVA) and Ultra Violet B (UVB) rays, whereas, chemical based sunscreens are absorbed into the skin where they filter the harmful rays. The problem with the latter is that the chemicals typically used (Avobenzone or Oxybenzone) mimic your own hormones, thereby disrupting your endocrine system. As an example, Oxybenzone has been linked to altered sperm production¹. Therefore, always look for a mineral based sunscreen.

Inactive Ingredients

Natural sunscreens use the physical barrier method, the main ingredient typically being Zinc Oxide. But how clean is the inactive ingredient list? Look for inactives sourced organically where possible, and ensure there are no parabens, no artificial colours or scents.

Full Spectrum Protection

A good sunscreen must provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA, which ages skin faster, and UVB, which can burn the skin. Most will mention this on the package

Water Resistant

Since you will perspire outside, water resistant sunscreens will offer more coverage against sweat and water sports. Most natural sunscreens require a reapplication every 2 hours.

Environmental Working Group

Check for your sunscreen’s listing on The Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen guide for 2015: EWG Sunscreen Guide. The lower the rating, the less toxic the sunscreen.

Our favourite family friendly sunscreen is made by Badger, which is rated 1 on the EWG website.

 

 

We also stock Green Beaver, and launched a new sunscreen for the face that wears like a moisturizer by Cocoon Apothecary.  For sunburns, see our After Sun soothing balm and aloe vera gel.

Bibliography:

Joyous Health
¹
Environmental Working Group