How To Find Non-Toxic Sustainable Sunscreens

The sun is our primary energy source on this planet. There would be no life as we know it without it. We need Vitamin D from the sun to feel good, healthy and to grow bones and muscles. A deficiency can even cause depression, especially in the winter.

Depending on your skin type, 10-20 minutes a day (without sunscreen) are enough for the body to make Vitamin D. You obviously don’t want to spend hours baking in the sun as your skin can burn (no good), sun rays age your skin and cause wrinkles and the worst case cancer.

When it comes to sunscreen you have to choose wisely. Standard sunscreens contain a chemical filter and therefore lots of chemicals. Chemical sunscreens penetrate into the skin and absorb UV rays. Chemicals get absorbed into the skin and into your bloodstream. Some filters even trigger a reaction when they come into contact with the sun and cause free radicals, which can be very harmful. Stay away from sunscreens containing oxybenzone, avobenzone, benzophenone and octylmethoxycinnamate.

Oxybenzone is linked to endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, contact allergies, and photoallergies, meaning exposure to light is required to generate an allergic response.

And if that wasn’t enough, those chemicals found in our sunscreens cause damage to coral reefs too. Oxybenzone, which can seep into the water, gets absorbed by corals. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching, causing serious damage to the ecosystem.

Hawaii passed a bill to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, another harmful chemical. Hawaii is the first state to pass such a measure, and it will go into effect as a law on January 1, 2021.

Look For Mineral Sunscreen

Look for brands with natural (physical) sun filter, which means they sit on top of your skin, and not get absorbed by it, to reflect UV rays, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They work best but are also good for the skin.

One thing to be aware of, mineral sunscreens are harder to rub in and often leave a white-ish film on your skin. Not all of them do, Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 for example doesn’t.

Some mineral sunscreens are said to not being as effective as chemical sunscreens. I personally never had that experience but I also don’t spend hours in the sun, so I can’t attest to that statement. Mineral sunscreens work for me, but they might not for you.

Depending where you live you might have more access to more advanced sunscreen formulas than the U.S. Places like the EU, Australia and Japan are ahead of the game with safe and effective ingredients such as Uvinul A plus, Uvinul T 150, Mexoryl XL, and Mexoryl SX, Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M.

Those ingredients haven’t been approved by the U.S. FDA, but they also haven’t added any new sunscreen ingredients since 1999. The reason being the FDA doesn’t classify sunscreens as cosmetic ingredients like the rest of the world, but as over-the-counter drugs.

U.S. products use more than 1,000 unhealthy ingredients that are banned in Europe. The Europeans are way more strict when it comes to product safety. If there’s any research showing health concerns, they are quick to ban, whereas the FDA only bans chemicals after staggering evidence of proof of toxicity.

Take Away

Obviously we have a problem here in the U.S., we have too many toxic chemicals in our products across the board, – BPA, PFAS, PTFE, VOCs to name a few, that are still not banned because there’s “not enough data for prove” according to the FDA.

Meanwhile as long as the FDA demonstrates “willing blindness” to these problems, all consumers can do is limit exposure to toxic chemicals in our household and cosmetic products. 🤷🏼‍♀️

If mineral sunscreens are not for you, maybe try to get a hold of sunscreens from Europe, Japan or Australia with the ingredients mentioned in this blog.

If mineral sunscreens work for you, all you really have to look for is ‘mineral sunscreen’, which will be clearly stated on the packaging, and double check it says zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on the ingredient list.

I have used Coola, Alba Botanica, Thinksport, Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum, but there are many other brands too, such as Raw Elements USA .

I also always wear a hat religiously.

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