Natural Sunscreen Reviews

Reader Contribution by Emily Kennedy
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Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays this summer and even into fall should be a top priority. That means that the use of sunscreen is inevitable. It’s not about which sunscreen has the highest SPF, but more importantly, what’s on the ingredients list. The toxic chemicals lurking in many sunscreens could be as dangerous as the sun’s rays, and it’s important to know what is in the sunscreen you are applying to your skin.

A report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) explains the hazardous ingredients to avoid in many of the sunscreens that are out in the market today. Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate, or retinol) is a common ingredient that you may find in sunscreen because it’s an antioxidant that slows down the skin aging process. However, a study from the Food and Drug Administration shows that vitamin A has been linked to cancerous tumors when it’s on skin that is exposed to sunlight. Though there are several health benefits to vitamin A, it can cause severe risks when applied to sun-exposed skin. There are also other ingredients to watch out for when choosing a toxin-free sunscreen. To learn more about these ingredients, take a look at the EWG’s list of ingredients to avoid.

With the endless list of toxic chemicals to avoid, it can definitely become discouraging trying to find a sunscreen that is not only free of toxins, but also one that protects against the sun’s rays. I have recently had the pleasure of testing four all-natural sunscreens that have been rated by the EWG as recommended, meaning they all have low health concerns in terms of their ingredients.

Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30:
This is a certified organic, water-resistant sunscreen that uses zinc oxide as its main ingredient to protect your skin from the sun. Some other main ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, beeswax and lavender. I found that it had a thicker texture than most sunscreens I’ve used before, but I was pleasantly surprised by my skin’s protection from the sun. I was also gratified just by knowing that I wasn’t harming my skin even more with toxic chemicals.

Healing-Scents Live Long Sunscreen, SPF 15:
Zinc oxide is the main sunscreen ingredient. Other ingredients you will find are water, avocado oil, jojoba seed oil, beeswax and rosemary oil extract. It had a creamy texture that was easy to apply. Although I wasn’t out in the sun for long hours, I found that it did protect my skin.

Kabana Skin Care Green Screen Organic Sunscreen Fragrance Free, SPF 20:
Kabana sent me a sample of their tinted Green Screen Organic Sunscreen as well. Both samples had thick consistencies and were unscented. They also stayed on even after getting in the water. Overall, they were good quality sunscreen samples. 

Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+:
This had an oily consistency as opposed to the other samples, which were much thicker. It had a unique scent and provided good coverage while I was out in the sun.

The sunscreen market is growing every day with new and ‘improved’ sunscreens with high SPFs according to the marketing claims, but it’s more important to know what ingredients are hiding in the formula that could potentially cause serious health concerns. A good sunscreen with a short list of ingredients that can protect you from the sun without toxic chemicals seems to be the most logical way to go. Next time you reach for the sunscreen off the counter, be sure to take a closer look at what’s inside.