As we get ready for summer (finally!), it’s a good time to rethink your sun protection game plan. Today, there are plenty more brands that offer natural sunscreens made with more environmentally friendly ingredients. Like traditional sunscreens, they also provide protection against sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging using active ingredients to disperse and reflect the sun’s rays. So what’s the difference?
“Traditional sunscreens use chemical filters like oxybenzone, whereas natural sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” says Toronto-based naturopathic doctor and green beauty expert Mariesette Zeyl. “Zinc oxide is usually the main ingredient in mineral sunscreens, because it stays stable in sunlight, doesn’t break down and is a broad-spectrum blocker.”
One of the key reasons to switch to a natural brand for your sun protection is because it’s a product that’s being applied—and reapplied—to large areas of your skin. “Lab studies indicate that some of the chemicals used in traditional sunscreen may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies. These chemicals that are absorbed into your body can be measured in blood and urine samples and even breast milk,” says Zeyl, adding that natural sunscreens provide a safer and less toxic alternative.
If you do decide to make the switch to a natural brand, be prepared to take a little more time with your application. “Since the zinc oxide particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, it’s known to sometimes give a white and chalky appearance on the skin,” warns Zeyl.
Here are eight natural mineral sunscreens to add to your beach bag this summer.
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Soleil Toujours SPF 45 Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen Face includes an EcoSunComplex made of red algae, vitamin C, vitamin E and bisabolol, which acts as a natural SPF booster and reduces UV-induce damage, $46, thenaturalcurator.com