A lot of people think that to protect their skin from the sun's damaging rays, they need to slather on the highest SPF they can get their hands on. And of course the mainstream, chemical-filled brands play into this fear with products that tout SPF 45, 50-even 70! But really, a higher SPF doesn't really give you greater protection.
The SPF simply indicates how long you can stay out in the sun without getting burned. If you're in the sun all day, chances are you're going to be swimming or sweating and you'll need to reapply anyway. So there's never really a need to go above 30. And if you're only going to be sunning it for a little while you can probably stick to SPF 20.
Non-organic sunscreens are filled with chemicals that get soaked into your skin. Studies done by Switzerland’s Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology have proved that chemical sunscreens detrimentally affect your body when used. For example, the chemical compounds in sunscreens can accumulate in body fats, in mother’s breastmilk and can cause hormonal changes within the body. A few chemical ingredients to avoid are: 4-Methyl-Benzylidencamphor, (4-MBC), Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-3, Octyl-methoyl-cinnamates (OMC), Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid (OD-PABA), and Homosalate (HMS).
Instead, try using mineral sunscreens that use the mineral zinc or titanium dioxide as a non-toxic barrier between your skin and the sun. They don't soak into your skin like chemical sunscreens, but sit on the skin's surface. Here are a few of my favorites:
I love Dr. Hauschka's entire line of sunscreens. Their formula range is wonderful (you can use the feather-light Sunscreen Lotion SPF 8 for every day and the Sunscreen Cream SPF 20 for mid-day gardening). And the ingredients are so darn wholesome and nurturing. Also, I just love the way they smell!
A child's skin is more delicate and sensitive than an average adults. Plus, why would you want to expose your kid to potentially harmful chemicals? I love Erbaviva's Childrens Sunscreen SPF 15. The all-natural, organic formula is totally safe for even the youngest infant. Plus, with delicate scent of Lavender and Chamomile, all of the adults always want to use it too!
If you really want an SPF 30, your best bet is Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30. Unlike most chemical-free sunscreens with an SPF that high, the special hypoallergenic, "nanofine" zinc oxide formula protects from UVA and UVB rays while not leaving your face clown-white.
I love products that multitask because it means you're ultimately putting less on your face. Santaverde Aloe Vera Sunscreen Emulsion SPF 18 protects skin with the added bonus of a natural anti-aging complex to prevent premature skin aging. It doesn't get any better than that! Plus your skin feels satiny soft with it on.
The moral of the story? During all of your backyard BBQs and days at the beach this summer, just remember to stop and consciously think about what you're putting on your skin. You wouldn't want to drink chemicals. So why would you want them to soak into your skin?