I love the sun.
My favorite place to be is on a beach. Just the smell of Coppertone can transport me. Which is a little ironic, since I have fair skin that burns suuuuuper easily. I’ve been
cursed blessed with an ivory epidermis ever since I was a little kid. I can remember my nanny slathering sunscreen on my little body before swim team practice on summer mornings. And then of course, there were the rebellious teenage years, where all I did was lather myself in Hawaiian Tropic body oil, hoping I could singe my sensitive skin out of existence. Poor skin! I’m so sorry for all those years I treated you so brutally.
After experiencing more burns than I care to admit, I slowly started swinging back over to the “safe sun” side of the spectrum. I started wearing sunblock on my face daily and all over my body on beach days. Nowadays I actually pride myself on how pale I can stay during the summer months. And that’s with PLENTY of time at the beach, mind you.
Of course, just because I started using sunscreen doesn’t mean I was in the clear.
My mom, who is the most health-conscious person I know, shared this article with me last year. Apparently the chemical compounds in sunscreen that help your skin absorb it are actually dangerous. Octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone (three of the most popular sunscreen ingredients) have actually been linked to cancer. Now it has to be said that, at the time, I rolled my eyes so hard I’m surprised they didn’t get stuck. I did not buy this shit the first time I read it. My mom was cray, and I annoyed. Then I did some research and saw enough evidence to get on board pretty damn fast. (NOTE: If I’m being totally honest, I should have known to trust her from the start. She’s always been way ahead of the game when it comes to taking care of your health. She was years ahead of the trends with organic foods, vitamins, and green juice. So I’m sorry for the eye rolls mom.)
CANCER, PEOPLE. The thing we are slathering on our bodies to protect us from cancer is, in fact, giving us cancer.
Now, I for one am a choose-your-beauty-battles kinda gal and am by no means a purely holistic practitioner. But I spend so much time in the sun, and thus wearing sunscreen, that this one is kind of a no brainer for me. Even if you’re not a sun junky like I am it’s important to protect yourself against the sun’s rays. When shopping for sunblock, look for ingredients like titanium dioxide which are used to actually form a barrier on top of your skin (as opposed to the chemical-based ones that are absorbed into your bloodstream). No time to do research? I’ve hooked you up with the homework. Read on for a list of safe sunblocks approved by my mother.
Let’s start with my favorite, which is CeraVe Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Body Lotion (also sold for face). This one is by far the nicest on the skin. It goes on easier than most mineral-based sunscreens and lasts a long time. It’s also pricer (go figure, I like the most expensive one) but you can find it for a couple bucks less on amazon.
Next up is Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Broad Spectrum SPF 60. This one won’t break the bank quite as badly and still manages to spread nicely.
Sunology Natural Body Sunscreen SPF 50 prides itself on none of the yucky chemicals found in other sunscreens. I haven’t tried this one out yet so fill me in if you have!
This one comes recommended by a my friend Kathleen’s sister, who is an ND Naturopath doctor. You can visit her site here. Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen is technically made for kids but adults can use it too. Think of it as a chance to channel your inner child.
I recently found Bare Republic Natural Mineral Sunscreen while browsing at Target. I was so happy to see some more health-friendly options starting to line the aisles.
The Honest Company recently launched their Honest Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50. I haven’t tried it yet, and the main ingredient is 19% zinc oxide, which means it is NOT going to spread easily. Also, I personally think The Honest Company’s products are unnecessarily overpriced, but if you’re willing to shell out the cash, this one’s a safe buy.
MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is like heaven for your face. If you’re looking for a foundation alternative in the summer months, this guy is your new best friend. It goes on like butter and stays put all day. But take note, this stuff does not come out of clothes easily!
Disclaimer: If you’re willing to try the safe-sunscreen route, you’re going to have to accept the fact that mineral-based sunscreens simply do not feel the same way synthetic ones do. The minerals form a protective barrier on top of your skin, so many creams don’t absorb or rub in easily. That’s the point. If you can handle that truth, then you’re good to go. If you’re not quite ready for a white-nose-lifeguard look, then I suggest starting with CeraVe. It’s the most expensive, yes, but it also rubs in the best. If you’re looking for more reasons to join the trend, read this article.
ALSO: May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and J.Crew is donating a portion of sales from every swimsuit purchased this month to skin cancer prevention. Visit here for more info.
Happy safe-sunning everyone!