Protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun is important but some of the chemicals in commercial brand sunscreens could just make them a hazard in themselves. So it pays to know what to look out for when choosing a sunscreen.
Chemicals to avoid in sunscreen
- Chemical sunscreens contain UV absorbers - they absorb UV radiation preventing it from penetrating into the deeper layers of your skin. Unfortunately the molecular nature of the chemicals potentially allows them to be absorbed into your bloodstream - not a good thing when tests have shown these chemicals can cause health issues.
- Look out for and avoid these chemicals:
- oxybenzone - suspected endocrine disruptor: interferes with our hormones1
- octinoxate/octylmethoxycinnamate - another endocrine disruptor that mimics oestrogen & may disrupt thyroid function2
- homosalate - hormone disruptor3
- octocrylene - high rates of skin allergy4
- avobenzone - breaks down into toxic compounds when exposed to sun and water - here's the news article
- Chemical sunscreens are often the cause of rashes and skin irritations, especially for people with sensitive skin - yours truly, included
The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens - article by the Environmental Working Group
The following article from the EWG website gives a more detailed insight into commonly used sunscreen ingredients, including information on skin penetration, hormone disruption and skin allergies:
- Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a barrier to block and deflect UVA and UVB rays. They are not designed to penetrate the skin.
- Physical sunscreens typically use zinc oxide as their active ingredient.
- When shopping for sunscreen, choose a physical sunscreen over a chemical one
- One of our best-selling sunscreens is Wotnot Natural Sunscreen - a multi award-winning sunscreen that also contains soothing aloe vera and hydrating shea butter and safflower oil.
- For an added antioxidant boost, take a look at Simple As That, Eco By Sonya Natural Sunscreen, and Natural Instinct Invisible Sunscreen, all of which include Green Tea and Rosehip.
- All of the sunscreens at Naturally Safe Cosmetics can be used on babies (typically from 6 months) but if you're after a dedicated baby sunscreen, check out Simple As That Children Sunscreen and Wotnot Natural Baby Sunscreen, which have been formulated to be extra gentle and extra moisturising on your baby's delicate skin.
- Natural Instinct Tinted Face Sunscreen - for an even skin tone with added sun protection
- Little Urchin Natural Tinted Sunscreen - enhances your skin's natural skin tone for an even finish
- Sun & Earth Natural Zinc - available in three shades
- Ethical Zinc - a clear zinc sunscreen with 4 hours water resistance
(image credit: iStock)
Sunscreens for face
- Protecting your face from the damaging effects of the sun on a daily basis is a good idea, both in terms of the health of your skin and from an anti-ageing viewpoint. Wearing a facial sunscreen or moisturiser with in-built sun protection every day can help protect your skin when you're, say, driving to work, walking outside during your lunch break, hanging out the washing, etc.
- All of our sunscreens can be used on the face but we especially like:
Take the usual sun care precautions
When spending time in the sun, always follow the usual measures to protect your skin: apply your natural sunscreen (and re-apply as necessary), wear appropriate protective clothing including a hat and don't forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
The safe tan
And, finally, if you're after a tan - remember, the only safe tan is an organic tan - and we have lots of options for all skin types and tones in our range of Eco Tan natural self-tanning products. These are not sunscreens - simply a great way to get gorgeous colour without risking sun damage.