Happy summertime to all of you! If you’re like me, the warming weather has you itching to get outside to soak up some sun. Personally, I know I feel more radiant and healthy when I spend time outside. It could be the energetics of nature, the healthy dose of Vitamin D, or simply the act of slowing down with my booty in a lawn chair. Realistically, it’s a combination of all three…
Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me about safe sunscreen and skincare options for the summer months. I have quite a few thoughts on the matter, and figured a blog post might provide a bit of enLIGHTenment!
Why safe sunscreen?
For anyone getting extended sun-exposure, it’s so important to pick skincare solutions that are both safe to put ON your skin, and effective for protecting your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Fun fact: our skin is actually our largest organ, serving several functions that are vital to the human body. One of those functions happens to absorption. The skin’s ability to absorb can be healing (with the application of natural ingredients like aloe vera, rose water, or cocoa butter) but also potentially damaging (when exposed to environmental toxins and harsh chemicals). The EWG is the leading source of information to educate consumers on the hidden, harmful ingredients found in many commercial beauty products, perfumes, cleaning products, and more. Sunscreen is no exception! They have a SUPER informative and comprehensive Sunscreen Guide that you can check out, but here are some key takeaways on why a safe sunscreen matters:
Many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body and can be measured in blood, breast milk and urine samples.
Lab studies shows that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones, and physicians have reported sunscreen-related skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended human health consequences from frequent sunscreen application.
EWG has reviewed the existing data about human exposure and toxicity for the nine most commonly used sunscreen chemicals. The most worrisome is oxybenzone…one study found that adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements had significantly lower total testosterone levels (after just one day).
Another study detected four other sunscreen filters along with oxybenzone in Swiss women’s breast milk, which suggests that the developing fetus and newborns may be exposed to these substances.
Animal studies report lower sperm counts and sperm abnormalities after oxybenzone and octinoxate exposure; delayed puberty after octinoxate exposure; and altered estrous cycling for female mice exposed to oxybenzone.
Scary stuff, right? The great news is that the EWG is fiercely working to educate others on safer alternatives to many of the commercial brands that fail to meet the EWG’s standards for safety and efficacy.
Selecting Safer Sunscreen
Rather than taking notes and driving yourself crazy reading ingredient labels, consider downloading EWG’s Healthy Living app. You can scan the barcode on any product (sunscreen, cleaning supplies, food, beauty, and more) to become educated on its safety BEFORE you make your purchase.
And, to narrow your search even further, EWG has compiled a list of over 200 sunscreens with top ratings for skin safety and sun protection. You can find them here!
What about that sunless glow?
For those working indoors more days than not, getting adequate sun exposure to get that vitamin D boost and a glowy look can be a bit more challenging. My personal pick for a safe, sun-free tan (that also gets high marks with the EWG!) is Beauty By Earth Self Tanner. The color goes on evenly and it lasts for several days. You can click the image to buy it directly on Amazon!*
*As an Amazon affiliate, I may make a small commission if you choose to purchase using my links. Thank you in advance for your support!