Safer Sunscreen

 

I’ve been in the health industry since the early 1990’s. Yes, more than two and a half decades! During that time I’ve made it my mission to create the healthiest food possible for my family. I’ve also created my own non-toxic household cleaning products and personal care products. That’s because health and beauty are about so much more than what goes in your mouth.

Since our skin is our largest organ what we put on it is critical to our health. Because I have the MTHFR genetic mutation this is even more crucial for me. People with the MTHFR gene may have impaired detoxification, so avoiding products with toxic ingredients is of the utmost importance.

Safer Sunscreen

Growing up in California, my friends and I baked in the sun. By the time I was in my 20’s I wasn’t outside much, I spent my time indoors building my first company. Once I reached my 30’s I started thinking about aging. My top beauty secrets? Sleep, diet, and moderate exercise. I also realized that applying a good sunscreen to my face might help prevent wrinkles. Since then I’ve used sunscreen on my face religiously. When I go out for a walk I also wear a baseball hat and sunglasses. It’s great to use such items to protect the delicate skin on your face. It’s also important to find a fantastic sunscreen that does not contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals and other toxins.

What’s Not in My Sunscreen

Here are just a few of the scary ingredients that may be hiding in your sunscreen!

  • Aerosol Spray -application method that can expose lungs to hazardous chemicals
  • Aluminum -coloring agent and neurotoxin that affects diverse metabolic reactions
  • Oxybenzone -photostabilizer and endocrine disrupting chemical that leads to adverse cellular change
  • Parabens -preservative and endocrine disrupting chemical that can lead to hormonal imbalance
  • Propylene Glycol -skin conditioning agent that can lead to eye, skin, and lung irritation as well as organ system toxicity

I don’t use chemical based sunscreens even though many people choose them, finding them lighter and easier to rub in. I prefer the healthier alternatives below that use zinc oxide to block out the sun!

Finding the Right Sunscreen

Finding the right sunscreen isn’t as easy as you’d think. I went through product after product years ago until I landed on my non-toxic sunscreen favorites. They’re full of safe ingredients and work very well at blocking out the sun.

Loving Naturals Sunscreen

I use Loving Naturals SPF 30 because it’s made with ingredients like coconut oil and beeswax. The main active ingredient is zinc oxide which is unique because it is a truly broad spectrum blocker that protects from UVA and UVB. Zinc oxide scores well with the Environmental Working Group because it provides “strong sun protection with few health concerns.” EWG also rates it highly because it doesn’t break down in the sun.

This product is incredibly safe and effective and EWG gives it the highest rating possible. It’s very easy to rub in and blend properly and doesn’t  leave a weird white residue on your face. With ingredients like coconut oil it is a bit oily. Given that I live in the high desert of Colorado this is great for me. I don’t use it at the beach however because I think sand would stick to it. I keep this sunscreen by the door and in my car so that I can apply it as needed, i.e., prior to going out in the sun.

Think Baby Sunscreen

Think Baby SPF 50+ Sunscreen is another one of my favorite sun blocking products. Can I tell you a secret? Because my skin is so sensitive I like to use personal care products that are gentle enough for an infant to use. Beware though, not everything that’s labeled “baby safe” actually is, so you’ll still need to check ingredients even when using baby products. Still, just because it’s for baby, doesn’t mean you can’t use it if you’re an adult, and this product is amazing! Made with aloe, cranberry seed oil, castor oil, vitamin C, and magnesium, it feels great going on, rubs right into your skin and leaves no ghostly white residue. EWG gives this sunscreen its highest rating.

This product is great for your face, because it’s moisturizing, leaves a little glow on your skin, and is incredibly effective. It’s also light and versatile enough to use at a pool or the beach. Another plus? With real papaya and coconut oil this sunscreen has a very light tropical scent and reminds me of sitting under a palm tree by the ocean.

Juice Beauty Moisturizer

Juice Beauty’s Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30 (Sand) is another winner. It’s non-toxic and safe, receiving the highest rating from EWG. It is basically a lightly tinted sunscreen that goes on very nicely. I use this when I’m going out for lunch and want to look a little more polished. I also keep this by the door. Because it is tinted with a slight beige coloring, you will want to wash your hands after applying, especially if you are wearing white, or light colored clothes, so that it doesn’t get on them.

Sun Exposure Boosts Vitamin D Levels

On a final note, although I wear sunscreen on my face religiously, I’m not afraid to get some good sun exposure every day! It helps with my vitamin D levels and feels great on my arms and legs when I go out for my daily walk in the warmer weather.

The sunscreen debate can be a heated one (pun intended), and I take the middle path, using it on my face, but not the rest of my body. What’s your strategy when it comes to the sun? Do you use sunscreen or not?

The BEST advice, as always.

Comments

66 responses to “Safer Sunscreen”

  1. Elana you are a saint!
    I love being outside working in my yard or working on my car.
    I am going to try your recommended sun screen.
    Thank you!

  2. Elana, thank you so much for this great information. Our family is “newly” aware of our MTHFR status (1 week!). I’m excited to try Juice Beauty. When I looked it up on EWG, several of their products came up with the same great rating as the one you mentioned. Are you able to use any Juice Beauty product that is rated “1” or better, or is there something about the one you mentioned that makes it the only product from their line you can use (aside from different tints being available)? Thank you

  3. HI ELANA, I LOVE YOUR FOOD & FOUND YOUR STORY ABOUT HOW YOU NEEDED TO CONVERT YOUR GREEN HOME TO INSTEAD GO OLD SCHOOL, OFF THE GRID, VERY HELPFUL & EYE OPENING. WE ARE IN AN INTERESTING POINT WHERE WE ARE NEEDING TO DO SOME REMODELING & I WANT TO DO IT RELALY WISE. HOW DO I LEARN IF THE WATERPROOF LAMINANT FLOORING WOULD BE A GOOD OPTION OR IF IT HAS A BUNCH OF TOXINS THAT WOULD BE HARMFUL? HOW DO I LEARN IF THE MATTRESS I WAS JUST ABOUT TO BUY MY DISABLED DAUGHTER HAS ANYTHING BAD IN IT THAT WOULD CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS? THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE!

    • Suraya, thanks so much for your comment! One quick note, we did remove the wireless technology from our house, but we did not go off the grid (other than power turned off in our bedroom). I’m not sure about waterproof laminates, since we installed wood flooring in our home. In terms of a mattress, I buy organic cotton mattresses for my family that do not contain any metal in them which can act as an antennae especially for those that are EMF sensitive. We have been getting our mattresses from Suite Sleep since around 2003 and they are great! Thanks for checking in and for all of your fantastic questions, I hope you’ll keep me posted on your progress :-)

    • Also, regular mattresses are usually treated with a fire retardant with various ingredients like the element antimony. After less than two years of sleeping on a brand new mattress, I had one session of chelation and a urinalysis following. The results showed an off-the-chart level of antimony in me. Antimony is also found in the coating of plastic, disposable water bottles. I, too, bought my kids organic mattresses after that. Ours are natural latex (not synthetic) with an organic cotton covering. However, if bed-wetting is an issue, you will need a water-proof barrier, as these mattresses are not sealed in any way. When my kids were younger, I covered the mattresses in a Uhaul mattress cover made of polyethylene, as polyethylene has been shown to be an inert substance that causes no harm. It was just a little noise to roll on, but at least the mattress was protect in the event of water spills, vomit, etc..One mattress was purchased online and the other was bought locally. Even Babies R Us started carrying healthier mattresses.Another option, and hundreds of dollars cheaper, is to just buy a natural latex mattress topper of a few inches to lay on top of your regular mattress.

  4. Hello-
    thank you for posting this article, it is very helpful! im wondering if you can tell us what type of face soap/moisturizer you use thats non or low toxin? thank you for all this wonderful info!

  5. Hi Elana,

    Healthline would like to congratulate you on making our list of the Best Gluten-Free Cooking Blogs of 2017!

    Our editors carefully selected the most up-to-date, informative, and inspiring blogs that aim to uplift their readers through education and personal stories. We’re glad to have you on the list!

    Maegan


    Maegan Jones | Content Coordinator
    Healthline
    Your most trusted ally in pursuit of health and well-being

  6. I just read an article recently that said the farmers and others with outdoor jobs have a very low incidence of skin cancer whereas others who aren’t in the sun much get it more often. Makes me really wonder what is going on? Are the chemicals in sunscreens the culprit? Do you need constant exposure to be protected? Unfortunately my trust level for the “experts” in these sorts of areas is very low. Money talks and there has to be big money in sunscreens.

  7. I like to use the Badger brand. My favorite is the Cedar and Lemongrass in the dark green because it also protects against mosquitoes, which are a big problem here in the humid northeast! I like to check the EWG’s list every year though to keep up with changes and recommendations. I like how people are sharing their recommndations, but think it is always wise to read ingredients for yourself and do your own research for what is best for your body!

  8. Hey there! I wanted to share that you should also consider trying Beautycounter sunscreens (All Over, Face Stick, Body Stick, Lip Balm). They are made with safer ingredients AND are reef safe! I know you would love them!

    • Thanks Jennifer! A note to my readers, I do not use Beauty Counter products because many of them contain artificial dyes and colors which I do not react well to. If you are very sensitive like me this may be an issue for you.

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