Yay! It’s summer and the beach is calling our name! But before you pack your beach bag, you should think about protecting your skin. Skin cancer is no joke. Mayo Clinic reported that two types of skin cancer have rose by over 140% since 2010. Sunscreen is a must. However, you may not be actually protecting your skin if you are using the wrong sunscreen. 73% of products on the market don’t actually work very well, and/or contain toxic ingredients in them. Here is everything you need to know when you are trying to pick the right sunscreen.

Sunscreen Facts:

Before we get down to our favorites, here are some sunscreen facts we should all know:

  • UV filters are the active ingredients in sunscreens.
  • UV filters are classified in two buckets: organic and nonorganic.
  • Organic sunscreens reflect UV radiation.
  • Nonorganic sunscreens absorb and scatter UV radiation.
  • A lot sunscreens contain both organic and nonorganic UV filters to protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) determines how much protection a sunscreen provides when applied correctly.

Sunscreen Tips:

Make sure to do the following when applying sunscreen to make sure you are protected:

  • Sunscreens, in order to be protective, have to be applied correctly. Read the instructions. We know it sounds silly, but how much you put on makes a difference.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and immediately after swimming/toweling.
  • It’s better to choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and water-resistant.
  • It’s important to make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum and has a UVA symbol.
  • Remember to check the expiration date.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside to allow time for it to soak in.

Natural vs. Chemical

So now we know a lot more about sunscreen than we did before. However, can natural sunscreens protect your skin just as much as chemical formulas? The answer is YES! Here is what we learned:

  • Mineral-based creams (all natural/organic creams) use physical blockers-zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients form a barrier on our skin and reflect UV rays.
  • Chemical blockers (nonorganic sunscreen) absorb the rays which allows UVA to reach deep layers of the skin and cause damage.
  • The other issue with nonorganic sunscreen is that they disrupt hormone production.
  • One of the chemicals in nonorganic sunscreen called oxybenzone, which is in 70% of the non-mineral sunscreens, has been linked to low sperm count in men, hormone disruption, and endometriosis in women.
  • Another chemical in nonorganic sunscreen that has several side effects is retinyl palmitate. It can cause skin tumors and lesions.
  • Be careful even with mineral based sunscreens. Some have chemical blockers in them too. All sunscreens have chemicals in them whether they are natural or not. Read the ingredients.
  • Look for sunscreens that have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients. Always avoid the ones that have the most harmful chemicals in them: oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and avobenzone.

Our Favorites:

# 1 Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30. We love this sunscreen. It feels so hydrating and leaves a dewy finish without the typical sunscreen smell. It only comes in one shade, but it works on a range on skin tones. Buy here.

#2 Blissoma: Photonic. This sunscreen is great. It nourishes the skin while protecting you from the sun. It won’t cause breakouts. It is made with transparent zinc oxide which does the best job of bouncing UVB and UVA rays off your skin. Buy here.

#3 W3LL People: Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer SPF 30. This sunscreen feels amazing on your skin. It made up of 20% zinc oxide for full spectrum protection along with skin loving ingredients such as peptides, aloe, algae, green tea, and many more. It is a lux multi-tasking wonder. Buy here.