Safe Sunscreen Guide – The best safe sunscreen products for the beach or pool, tested and evaluated by a mom of young kids.
Swim suits, towels, healthy snacks – check! Sounds like you’re ready to head to the pool or the beach. But what about the sunscreen?
If you still using conventional, chemical-based sunscreens – the kind found at most drugstores or mass merchants – now’s a good time to make the switch to safer products.
Why It Matters
Most sunscreen products on the market contain worrisome chemical ingredients that may lead to health problems like hormone disruption, allergies or even ironically, cancer, which sunscreen purportedly is trying to prevent. Others make misleading SPF claims that may put you at risk of sun damage.
Fortunately groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have evaluated thousands of sunscreens for safety and created a ratings scale that allows us to make safer choices. Each year they come out with a Sunscreen Guide, which is definitely worth a read! Ratings are from 1 – 10, with 1 being the gold standard and 10 meaning don’t touch it with a ten foot pole!
Safe Sunscreen Guide
If you’re ready to make the switch to safe sunscreen products, here are a few that my kids and I have tested out over the past few years.
(*affiliate links ahead)
These brands have a few key things in common:
- All are physical sun blockers, meaning they act as a barrier on the skin. The active ingredient in most is zinc oxide, and a couple are a blend of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, penetrate the skin and may disrupt your hormone system – not a good thing!
- Use non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide due to concerns that extremely small nanoparticles may be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream.
- All but one are top rated by the EWG as safe sunscreens (rating of 1 out of 10). The one exception is the Goddess Garden Continuous Spray, which is rated a 3 due to concerns about spray inhalation. My kids BEG me for spray sunscreen and Goddess Garden is the safest one I’ve found. To be safe, spray in well-ventilated areas and never directly on the face.
- Are SPF 30 to 50 – the smartest choice if you are planning to be enjoying the outdoors for a while!
- Provide both UVA and UVB protection.
- All are unscented with the lone exception of Juice Beauty, which uses a few essential oils for a very light scent that I happen to love.
- Rub in reasonably easily, without leaving a white residue on the skin. I’ve found that there’s been a huge improvement on this front – even compared to a few years ago!
Do you have a favorite safer sunscreen brand? Tell me why you love it and I’ll add it to the Safe Sunscreen Guide!
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