“Apply a thick layer to skin and re-apply every hour for maximum protection”. How many times have you read this on a bottle of sunscreen? Have you ever read further and looked at the ingredients list of said sunscreen and understood what you were actually slathering on your largest organ every hour? 

 

What’s In Your Sunscreen?

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are two of the most common ingredients in nearly every sunscreen and mimic hormones, causing lower sperm production, and even endometriosis in women. The chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system and may cause thyroid and behavioral issues. Not to mention that this stuff stays in your system for a really long time after applying. In fact, it’s been detected in nearly every american as a result. Read more about the study here from EWG.org.

The bottom line is, like many other toxic beauty products sunscreen is filled with chemicals, which makes the very suggestion that sun is causing skin cancer a bit of a myth in my book. What if the very things causing skin cancer wasn’t the sunshine at all, (which in moderation, is essential for a healthy and happy life) but the thick coating we slather on to avoid it in the first place? Hmmm, something to think about for sure.

So, what can you do to be protected from over-exposure to the sun’s rays…stay inside forever? NO! There are multiple ways to protect sensitive skin against the burning, but also get the benefits as well. Here are a few suggestions as well as my favorite non-toxic sunscreens in case a full day at the beach is unavoidable. 

 

Cover Up

Did you know that clothing can help block the sun’s UV rays and reduce your risk for burning by up to 27%? Have a hat nearby or your favorite linen pants and tunic to keep sun off of areas that will be exposed for prolonged periods. 

 

Know Your Limits

Remember that time you ended up looking like a lobster? That was obviously a time spent in too much direct sunlight. Make sure to plan around the sun. Get outside in the early morning or late afternoon to ensure the sun is lower and has less strength.

 

Check the Weather

UV index can offer some insight into how strong the sun will be on a particular day. Reminder to use this not just in the summer, but every season. Some of the coldest winter days can bring the strongest rays. 

 

Throw Some Shade

Pop up that umbrella or park it under a large tree. Getting out of direct sunlight can help reduce the risk of burns by up to 30%. Making this an easy way to stay outside longer. 

 

Cue the Sunglasses

Not just for fashion! Sunnies can offer protection from UV radiation entering sensitive eyes. You can look good and be safe, all at the same time. You’re welcome 🙂

 

Worst Sunscreens

If you have taken all of the above precautions, but must be outside for an extended period of time, you can do yourself a favor and avoid these sunscreens at all costs. The chemicals inside may cause more damage than being in the sun to begin with. The following brands and formulas have been found to contain some of the most toxic ingredients that are carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, and can flare up allergies. All are rated 5 or higher (on a 1-10 scale with 10 being most toxic) via Think Dirty and EWG.

 DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, there are so many toxic sunscreens that this list is not exhaustive. If you have a brand or formula you are curious about, please feel free to comment below or send to me directly here and I will do my best to help guide you on its safety. 

 

 

Non Toxic Sunscreens

If you are avoiding those above, you may need some safer swaps. Check out these better sunscreens that score 4 or less via Think Dirty and EWG. They are free from parabens, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and are much safer to use in the event that the tips above are not enough. 

 

There are several other brands and formulas that are non-toxic. Have you found any clean sun protection that you would like to share? Comment below!