No matter where you live, one thing everyone needs is sunscreen. With all the talk of harmful chemicals in sunscreen and how they do not perform as advertised, I set out to search for the best of the best.
There are certain ingredients, formulas, and fragrances that I am willing to make exceptions for based on personal preferences and experience.
For starters, if a sunscreen that does not score well is the only one I can get my daughter to wear or the only one I have on hand at the time, I will use it because something is better than nothing when it comes to sun protection
I started out by visiting my go-to site for consumer advise, Environmental Working Group, to check out their 2013 Sunscreen ratings. From there, I looked at their top rated sunscreens, checked out the individual ingredient ratings and selected a few top products in each of the following categories: Lotions/Creams and Facestick. I also added in a few products from a brand that I like, even though they did not score as well because I had some great counter points to the EWG scoring.
I am not saying EWG is the end all decision maker in what is “safe” in products but it is full of great information that I refer to often . It is a great place to start for those with questions. I refer to them most when it comes to products like sunscreens, cosmetics, and pesticides on foods. One od the downsides is that the information on each product on the site doesn’t factor any risk/reward and they do not do their own testing (they reply on manufacturers labeling). So you have to take the information with a grain of salt because some of the “natural” sunscreen manufacturers are now NOT disclosing inactive ingredients on their labels, so they can get better results on the EWG site. I recommend is for a starting point but suggest you do your own research to build on what you learned at EWG.
A few sunscreen selection tips:
Broad spectrum = UVA and UVB protection. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, sagging, and other light-induced effects of aging.
SPF: The FDA has proposed prohibiting sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, higher SPF values are “inherently misleading,”. When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer strong sunburn protection.
Ingredients: Avoid sunscreens that include oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is known to penetrate the skin, cause allergic reactions, and possibly disrupt hormones It also may have a link to a risk of endometriosis and low birth weights.
Avoid sunscreen containing retinyl palmitate (a form of anti-oxidant vitamin A), it’s can potentially speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight.
This 100% natural sunscreen lotion is specially designed for daily wear. It contains 87% certified organic ingredients. The only active ingredient is Zinc Oxide. Badger sunscreen lotion is hypo allergenic and created with no animal testing. Since it was designed for daily wear and not water-resistant, it is extremely lightweight and goes on smooth (no heavy feeling). There is no “sunscreen” scent, it is almost scentless so it will not interfere with other scents you might wear on a daily basis. The light formula leaves no greasy feeling on your skin and does not leave you feeling sticky. This sunscreen lotion blends in easily making the aloe vera lotion base great for everyday wear.
Badger Active Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream: Broad Spectrum, SPF 30, 40 minute Water Resistant
Excellent for beach, swimming and other active sports. Badger Active sunscreen cream is also available in an 80 minute water-resistant blend. This sunscreen cream is thicker than their daily wear lotion version but that is to be expected since it is water-resistant. With a little effort it blends in clear, leaving a slight tacky feeling to your skin for a few minutes before it fully absorbed.
TruKid sunscreen is made in the USA and does not use animal testing. This all natural/non-chemical mineral sunscreen is BPA/phthalate free and contains no parabens. It also does not contain vitamin A. It comes out of the tube thick but goes on very smooth. The fragrance free formula blends in easily and does not leave you feeling greasy or sticky.
Available in coconut and unscented blends, this sunstick is perfect for ears, nose, and face (and more!). This special blend goes on clear, and the coconut scent smells amazing. t has a slightly greasy feeling when it goes on but leaves no sticky feeling after a minute or two. Elemental Herbs sunstick is chemical free and coral reef safe.
This all natural, gentle non-chemical, sunscreen is made in the USA. This water-resistant sunscreen goes on almost clear and has a light citrus/orange scent. Sticky to go on, it blends in well with minimal effort and absorbs with in a minute or two. Once blended, it leaves no greasy feeling on your skin.
This unscented, all natural sunscreen contains many organic ingredients including extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter. For a stick it glides on fairly smoothly, giving good coverage. For those pesky white spots, it blends well with minimal effort. After application, it leaves skin feeling moisturized. The Badger formula does not leave skin feeling greasy or sticky once applied and blended. 100% certified natural and 95% organic.
Special Additions to the guide: KINeSYS
Once of the reasons I included KINeSYS in the guide is because I appreciate the way they make their products and how environmentally friendly they are, not to mention their products work very well and are some of my daughter’s favorites.
KINeSYS has been tested, used and evaluated by Dermatologists, Pediatricians, Elite Athletes and Families since 1994. KINeSYS has been environmentally aware since inception, using recyclable bottles, sprayers and producing product using sustainable energy, making KINeSYS carbon neutral. KINeSYS is also the MOST sustainably produced sunscreen on the planet.
KINeSYS sunscreen spray is not only alcohol free but also vegan, oil free (including nut oils) and free of preservatives. It is available in Mango, Vanilla/Green tea, and unscented blends. The spray pattern is good, applying the sunscreen right where you want it, and it is easy to apply (of course you should not spray into the wind or it will come back at you but that is common sense). Since it is a spray, it requires no rubbing (one of my favorite features!) so hands stay clean. It is recommended that if you want to apply to your face, you should spray on hands first then use hands to apply to facial area. I was impressed with the speed that it dried since it contains no alcohol, it was fully dried in 2-4 minutes depending on if I did a double coating to have extra coverage. Once dried there is no greasiness or sticky feeling left on the skin because it is oil free. We sampled all three scents, the mango is my favorite, it can be strong if everyone has it on and you are sitting in the car but once out in the open, the scent is just the right level giving you a light whiff of scent when a breeze comes by. My husband prefers the unscented because he is sensitive to strong fragrances.
KINeSYS’ EarthKind and ethically manufactured sunscreen Ointment with Pure Zinc Oxide goes on easy and blends in well. I like the jar, it is perfect for tossing in to your beach bag , hiking pack and even a purse. The solid container will do well in places where a tube might otherwise be squished and leak. It is 100% mineral, very water-resistant and has a light peppermint/rosemary scent that is pleasing. For an ointment I was impressed with the way it absorbed into my skin. Like all of KINeSYS’ sunscreen products, the ointment is Alcohol-free, PABA-free, preservative & paraben-free. It makes a great facial sunscreen due to its “solid” state, you do not run the risk of it dripping into your eyes while applying.
Thank you for checking out the 2013 Over Thirty Mommy’s sunscreen guide, it is by no means all-inclusive. There are many great products out on the market that are not part of this guide but I simply wanted to share some of my favorites with all my great readers to get them thinking about sunscreens.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."