Your Guide To The Safest Sunscreens. Toss Those Chemicals And Try These.

written by Tiana Kai
A Guide To The Safest Sunscreens

I was blessed with pale, thin skin. Thanks Mom. Not sure why I couldn’t have inherited my Father’s dark, tan skin that never seems to age, but here I am, always under a hat and wearing long sleeves!

Thanks to my sensitive skin, I need to protect my skin at ALL times. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect sunscreen that:

  1. Works well under makeup, no pilling
  2. Doesn’t make my face white and sticky
  3. Is safe for my body

Most sunscreens have chemical fillers that you should stay away from! Write this list down and check your sunscreen now to see if any of them have the following: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate or octinoxate. See below for more information on what all these ingredients mean.

Before we break down what the chemical fillers do to our bodies, let’s start with the positive — a list of the safest sunscreens for you and your family based on hours of research I did when searching for the best products for my face and body.

Safest Sunscreens For You

Guide To The Safest Sunscreens

I tried Badger years ago, which I found too thick for those humid Miami summers, but will try it again this winter. Derma-E is one I’m using now and I really like it; the Zinc rubs in and I make sure I put it on 15min before I apply makeup. I want to try this full list, maybe start with Butterbean Organics and Honest Company.

Keep in mind that these products are the safer ones for some brands. As in Coola’s case, just because I included their brand on this list it doesn’t mean that their other products do not include harmful chemical fillers… because they do.

Chemical Fillers in Sunscreens

Oxybenzone is the big one; it’s a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system. It absorbs UVB and UVA rays, but I’ve read that it can lead to melanoma and is the more toxic out of the list. BTW, this can be used as a photostabilizer in your makeup! It’s even damaging to the ocean – so much so, that Hawaii signed a bill to ban sunscreen with this and Octinoxate starting 2021.

Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate) is not as dangerous a chemical as Oxybenzone, but it still reports to be a chemical found to alter thyroid and behavioral alterations when studied on animals.

Homosalate studies show that it disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone.

Octisalate / Octocrylene have less of a negative impact, but does penetrate in the skin.

Avobenzone is labeled as the lesser of evils, but has a high-rate of skin irritation. It’s in most products since it’s effective at absorbing UV rays and helps reduce sunburn. The main concern is that it can increase skin cancer since it degrades in the sun releasing free radicals – causing aging.

Artificial Fragrances are linked to many nervous system disorders, so look out for those too.

Parabens are used as a preservative, but is considered an estrogen disruptor. It’s linked to infertility, asthma, breast cancer and more.

Vitamin A is not always an ideal ingredient. In sunscreen, listed as retinyl palmitate, it creates free radicals when exposed to UV light. It’s link to many concerning disorders like cellular changes, issue with developing fetus, so try and steer clear.

Active Minerals in Sunscreen

Titanium Dioxide does not penetrate the skin nor disrupt hormones.

Zinc Oxide penetrates the skin .01% VS 1% like some chemical fillers.

More Information

Visit EWG, Environmental Working Group for more useful information about the safest sunscreens and other topics relating to health and the environment.

So, what should YOU wear? Look for mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Find one preferably in micronized doses VS nano doses since micronized have larger particles than nano, so they are less able to be absorbed into the skin. More on nano and micronized Zinc and Titanium.

One question I had was, “do I get more coverage if I apply SPF twice before leaving the house?” According to this article, piling on different SPF products in the AM can help increase sun protection. It’s not clear on how much, but something to think about when you’re buying foundation and powders.

Let me know what I should add to this list based on your experience! Leave a comment below, or DM me on Instagram

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