Using sunblock in the Summer is a no-brainer, but figuring out which sunblocks are best for your skin and the environment can be difficult. We’ve pulled together a few best practices to make choosing and using your skin’s best friend a little easier.
What to look for in a sunblock
- Look for broad-spectrum sunblocks that protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
- Pick sunblocks with an SPF 30 or higher. An SPF over 50 may not be necessary as it adds only a minimal amount of UVB protection.
- Be wary of “waterproof” or “sweatproof” claims. In 2012, the FDA ruled that manufacturers cannot claim a product as waterproof, because these sunblocks always wash off over a period of time. When reading a sunblock’s label, look for how long you can expect protection while swimming or sweating before you need to reapply.
- Pay attention to the expiration date and do not use bottles exposed to hot temperatures or sunlight.
- Unless it is FDA approved, manufacturers are not allowed to make “instant protection” claims.
How to avoid burning
- Apply sunblock as the final step of your skin care routine and 15-30 minutes before you go outdoors.
- Reapply, reapply, reapply. Sunscreens wash off, sweat off and are “used up” after a certain amount of time.
- Wear sunglasses to protect the delicate tissue around the eyes as well as from macular damage.
- For a safe amount of UVB rays providing vitamin D, get a small dose of sunblock-free sunshine between 10am and 2pm. Check your skin type to see how long you can be in the sun without burning, and make sure you cover up before turning pink.
- Consult a sunburn map to check the UV index in your area and see how much time you can safely spend in the sun according to your skin type.
Choosing a safe sunscreen
If you want to avoid chemicals, choose a physical sunblock that has zinc oxide and an ingredient list that is simple. Physical sunblocks sit on the skin’s surface and are not absorbed into the skin.
- Avoid products with oxybenzone which is a potential hormone disruptor and allergen
- Avoid products with Vitamin A
- If you do choose chemical sunblocks, look for lotions with avobenzone (aka Parsol 1789, Mexoryl, Helioplex, AvoTriplex)
- It is recommended to avoid spray sunblocks, but if you must use one, be extra cautious not to inhale the fine mist they produce
- Micronized zinc and titanium dioxide are acceptable – these chemicals are broken down into smaller particles and act as a chemical sunblock instead of a physical sunblock and are more readily absorbed by the skin
Our Top 3 Sunscreens
Biodegradable and water resistant with a physical sunscreen barrier. Even safe for reefs and other sunny locales where chemical contamination is a concern.
Certified organic sunscreen filled with antioxidants and minerals that boosts your skin’s natural immune system. Also available as mineral-based sunscreen.
100% Mineral-based protection with nourishing Red Algae Extract to keep your skin not only protected but smooth and hydrated.
For more ideas about safe, quality sunscreen, check out The Environmental Working Guide approved sunblocks here.