How to choose a good sunscreen

Spending time outside in the sunshine can be so enjoyable and rejuvenating. In fact, it’s really essential for optimal health since our skin uses sunlight to make vitamin D. 

However, when it comes to sunshine, you can have too much of a good thing. Spending excess time in the sun can lead to sunburn, blistering skin, premature aging, and even skin cancer. 

Because there are concerns about skin cancer from too much sun, and vitamin D deficiency from too little sun, the use of sunscreen is widely debated. However, research has confirmed that using sunscreen does help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. 

When it comes to sunscreen there are two categories they fall into:

  • “Mineral” sunscreens rely on zinc oxide or titanium oxide (or both) to provide a physical barrier to sunlight penetrating the skin. They act like a shield.

  • “Chemical” sunscreens, on the other hand, don’t create a physical barrier. Instead, they absorb the UV light before it can cause damage to the skin. They act like a sponge.

Both mineral and chemical sunscreens have their pros and cons.

If you tend to be sensitive to ingredients and want to live a toxin-free life, a mineral sunscreen is likely to be a better option for you.

If you’re in need of some guidance when it comes to finding a natural sunscreen, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has put together a great resource in its EWG Sunscreen Guide. You can use the search bar at the top of the page to check your favorite brand’s toxic load. 

You can also click on “See the List” to view EWG’s top recommended brands if you are planning to buy a new one. The brands are listed in alphabetical order, from A to Z. Each product is given a Hazard Score, from 1 to 10. A score of 0 to 2 is low hazard to health 3 to 6 is moderate hazard, and 7 to 10 is high hazard, according to the EWG guidelines. You can see the EWG’s report, “The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens” here

There are many ingredients added to sunscreens and other skincare products that are linked to various cancers. When wearing sunscreen to prevent skin burn and potentially skin cancer, it's important to be aware of the ingredients that could promote cancer.

Also, endocrine (hormone) disruptors are a huge problem in chemical sunscreens. You see there that some of EWG’s ingredients of concern include the following:

  • Oxybenzone: A xenoestrogen and a moderate anti-androgen.

  • Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate): Another endocrine disruptor. Negatively impacts the reproductive system, thyroid, and brain.

  • Homosalate: An endocrine disruptor. It negatively impacts estrogen, progesterone, and androgens.

Not only are oxybenzone and octinoxate endocrine disruptors in humans. They also negatively impact our coral reefs.

A friend (thanks Jody!) recently pointed me in the direction of this sunscreen It's great because it's natural, effective and also doesn't leave your body white!

Anyone who knows me will be laughing at me writing this as they know the truth..... I am so naughty and never wear sunscreen! I blame it on the Croatian genes! However, I do believe for most of us a little time without sunscreen is so important. The sunshine vitamin (D) is absolutely essential for so many areas of health- immune health, hormone, moods, and so much more.

Bring on summer holidays..I feel we all deserve a good one this year.

V :-)