Back in the day sunscreen wasn't a thing. In fact I remember putting on baby oil with iodine in it to get a nice tan. 😳😱😲 YES, I know that's shocking. But we just didn't understand how dangerous the sun could be to your skin. However we still need sun in healthy doses, for the wonderful Vitamin D. We need vitamin D for our immune health and bone health, but in safe doses. So let's not get burned. Use sunscreen during peak hours 11 am - 2 pm when you are more likely to get burned.
In the past fews years, I've learned much more about sunscreen and safe choices. Here are some things to be aware of when choosing sun protection for you and your family!:
1. What are we protecting against anyway?
UVA Rays: These rays contribute to premature aging of the skin as well as skin cancer.
UVB Rays: These are the rays that cause painful sunburn as well as skin cancer.
Blue Light: Found in the sun as well as technology (which we're all in front of ALL the time!), blue light can cause signs of aging in the skin. (No, thanks!)
2. How much SPF do I need?
There's much less variation in SPF than I once thought. For example:
SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays
SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays
SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays
In fact, the FDA is concerned that claims of excessively high SPF values give users a false sense of protection, leading to overexposure to UVA rays that increase the risk of long-term skin damage and cancer. They've even suggested capping ratings at 60 SPF.
3. What's the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a mineral sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens protect the skin from UV rays by scattering the rays. There's concern that this process can cause free radicals, harming our skin cells.
Chemical sunscreens typically contain oxybenzone, which is the chemical banned in places like Hawaii and Key West because it can damage coral reefs. It also isn't great for us! Oxybenzone disrupts our hormones, accumulates in our bodies, and is allergenic. Hard pass.
Mineral sunscreens use a physical barrier to block the UV rays from penetrating our skin. They're definitely the safer option between the two -- both for your health and our oceans.
4. Tell me more about Beautycounter's sunscreens!
All of Beautycounter's sunscreen is mineral sunscreen. It's also formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, meaning the particle size isn't small enough to be absorbed into the skin. (Yay!)
Our mists use a non-aerosol bag-on-valve technology to keep you safe. Other spray sunscreens have a high inhalation risk due to the ingredients and delivery system.
We have lots of great sunscreen options, including:
-a face sunscreen (lightweight, easy to rub in, and wears well under makeup)
-a tinted face moisturizer with SPF (one of my all-time 🥰 favorite products!)
-sunscreen lotion (my go-to for pre-pool or beach application)
-sunscreen mist (perfect to quickly and easily re-apply when you're busy having fun outside -- and there's a tinted option, too!)
-sunscreen stick (this is a favorite of mine to keep in my bag when I find myself being out and about without sunscreen and it's great for kids, fits perfectly in their small hands. )
Check out all sunscreen options together here!
5. I've used safer sunscreens in the past and didn't love them. They didn't rub in well or they made my skin look or feel weird. How do Beautycounter's stack up?
SUCH a good question. If you've used mineral sunscreens in the past you might have been left looking a bit like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I love that our sunscreens do NOT have that effect!
They also tend to work well for all members of the family, even those with especially sensitive skin.
5. What about finding other safe sunscreen brands, or vetting the brand I already use?
Environmental Working Group is my go-to resource for checking the safety of products (personal care products, baby products, cleaning products, and more!), and they have a great sunscreen guide you might find helpful. You can peruse that for brands they recommend, as well as use their search function to find safety information on brands you might currently be using.
Check out EWG's guide to sunscreens here!
I hope that was a helpful Sunscreen 101 overview! I'm always here if you have questions or would like help choosing the right sunscreen formula for you.
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Mary, is the creator and founder of PaleoLove Company, Mom, wife, friend, partner in crime, and entrepreneur. She has been a lover of art, food and traveling since she was very young. She began her paleo journey just out of curiosity, then her oldest daughter developed health problems where she needed to consume a low carb low sugar diet. It is here where she developed her skills in creating and making low sugar low carb treats and eats.