Summer is happiness! The beach, balmy afternoons, fish and chips on the beach, and lots of reading and the smell of sunscreen! I know there is so much confusion about choosing a good sunscreen for your family that everyone loves.
How do you choose a sunscreen that has safe ingredients that smells good and rubs in well that your kids will LOVE?
When it comes to sunscreen it gets super confusing. How do you choose a natural, safe sunscreen? What does a natural sunscreen look like? How much sun is too much? How much sun do we need for our health? Which ingredients are the ones I need to avoid?
Choosing a sunscreen that ticks all the boxes is not easy!
Some sun is good for you!
Sunshine is natures antidepressant – it can lift our mood and is great for our health – in the right doses. A walk in the sunshine is one of the most powerful things we can do for our health.
Vitamin D is an extremely important hormone for healthy bones, immune function and blood cell formation. Luckily, your body produces vitamin D every time you step into the sunlight. Easy, right? Just keep in mind that you don’t need much unprotected sun exposure to meet your needs. That doesn’t mean sitting in the sun all day is good for us – this is where you need to be sun smart!
Better than Sunscreen
The best thing to protect against UV damage is not actually sunscreen – it’s clothing! Long sleeve cotton tops and hats are awesome! However, in Australia there are times that we need further protection. There are times when you need a good quality sunscreen and this is when you need to know exactly what you are looking for.
When it comes to sunscreen there are 2 major types to choose from - a mineral sunscreen or a chemical sunscreen.
The two types of sunscreen
When choosing a sunscreen you can either choose a chemical sunscreen or a mineral sunscreen. However choosing the right sunscreen involves many factors and not all mineral sunscreens are created equal! Lets break down the difference.
Chemical Sunscreens use chemical ingredients or active constituents that absorb UV radiation preventing them from penetrating the skin. These chemicals are powerful and absorbs the UV rays to avoid burning.
Chemical Sunscreen are normally the ones you find in the supermarket that are super cheap and contain chemicals that provide a chemical barrier on the skin.
The issue with these sunscreens as many of these chemicals can be absorbed through our skin and into our bodies and are known endocrine disrupters (I.e they play havoc with our hormones!) This is not what we want to be putting on the skins of our kids and babies! Certain chemical sunscreens can also damage our ocean sea creatures and and not an environmentally good choice!
The problem with chemical sunscreens
We absorb them! Our skin is such a highly absorbent organ that we can absorb these chemicals through our skin and into our blood stream. Some of these chemicals can compromise our health.
Mineral Sunscreens work by providing a physical barrier from the sun which protects agains UV rays. They sit on the skin and don’t absorb into the body. This is normally something like Zinc Oxide and this sits on the skin creating a protective barrier against burning.
There are certain types of mineral sunscreens that can be absorbed into the body because the particles are so tiny. These are called ‘nano’ sunscreens
The problem with mineral sunscreens
So many mineral sunscreens contain other ingredients that can be absorbed by the body, so we need to pay attention to each and every ingredient that we put into our sunscreen and not just believe the wording on the front that claim that it is ‘all natural’.
Some of the ‘natural’ or mineral sunscreens can contain some of the worst additional ingredients so this is where you need to become an ingredient detective and learn exactly what the names of the things you need to be looking out for!
The Sunscreen Loophole
Did you know that the full ingredients within sunscreens do not have to be listed by law? The only requirement is that the active constituent and the preservatives are listed, the rest is often a mystery. Crazy huh?
If your sunscreen only lists the active ingredient i.e. you only see one or two ingredients listed – don’t buy it! This is not a product that has full ingredient disclosure. You have a right to know the FULL ingredient list of all products that you use so that you can make an informed choice for the health of your family and the planet!
Avoid this at all costs
Spray Sunscreen! Not only do most spray on sunscreen contain really dubious ingredients that we absorb through our skin, we also have double exposure to these chemicals when we breathe them in!
Spray sunscreens are bad news all round and while they may seem convenient – the convenience is not worth it for our health. This goes for powdered sunscreens too! Check the ingredients!
Okay lets break down some of these ‘OTHER’ ingredients in some more detail!
Here are the the top 10 chemicals to avoid in Sunscreen and in all your personal care products.
While it’s impossible to avoid every single synthetic chemical, you can do your part in limiting the amount of toxins your body is exposed to.
You can also really support companies who are doing the right thing – who have full ingredient disclosure and try to use products that are certified organic or contain only naturally derived ingredients and avoid these 10 toxic chemicals.
Remember when it comes to sunscreen you need to know the names of the ingredients to avoid so you can educate yourself and do your research before you buy. You have the power to vote every time you purchase and make great choices to support your families health.