Every summer shopping list should include a natural sunscreen. Find out how to choose a product that best suits your needs.
Can you feel it? Summer is just around the corner! In between booking your beach vacation and choosing that perfect summer book, there’s something else that you should add to your summer to-do list: stocking up on natural sunscreen. Here are a few foolproof tips to ensure you’re getting the best product for you and your family.
Opt for cream
Keep it simple: the best sunscreen formulations, as recommended by the Environmental Working Group, are the plain liquid cream forms that we grew up using. Other forms, such as sprays, powders, or towelettes don’t guarantee that we get proper coverage. Plus, spray formulations pose inhalation safety risks.
Oh, and you can forget about the sunscreen/bug repellent duos: these products are better on their own, since they usually have separate usage times in the day and different usage directions.
Don’t be fooled by high SPFs
Trick question: does SPF 60 filter out twice the amount of UVB radiation SPF 30 does? Nope, even though many people think so. In fact, SPF 30 filters out 97 percent of rays, while SPF 50 only filters out an additional 1 percent. That’s why experts worry that people are led astray by high SPFs. Plus, high SPFs are often filled with higher doses of chemicals than lower SPFs.
Generally, higher SPFs are no better than mid-range SPFs. Choose an SPF 30, and reapply often.
Be wary of moisturizers with SPF
Just as people tend to fall back on believing that higher SPFs will protect them, we also have tendency to believe that the small amount of sunscreen in facial moisturizer or makeup is enough. Generally, it’s not. And remember: sunscreen should be applied more than once a day.
Avoid vitamin A and oxybenzone
These are two sneaky ingredients that seem to find their way into many mainstream products. Oxybenzone is suspected to play a role in allergic reactions and hormonal disruptions, while vitamin A (or retinyl palmitate) is thought by the EWG to play a role in the development of skin tumours, and it increases skin sensitivity to sunlight.
Choose mineral sunscreens
What’s the best active ingredient? Mineral sunscreens made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are generally believed to be safe.
Check out your natural health retailer
While you’ll still likely need to do some product label reading, the best place to start your sunscreen shopping is at your natural health retailer. They’ll have the biggest range of natural products and knowledgeable staff to help you choose. Like any skin care product, you may want to try a couple brands to find one that you really love. Thankfully, there’s lots of selection on the market!