Now that it’s finally warmer than 30 freakin’ degrees, it’s time to break out the sunscreen to make sure your glowing skin is protected from the sun’s harmful rays. But spoiler alert: Did you know traditional sunscreen might just do more harm than good? Yup — it could be f*cking with your hormones and with the planet.
Sunscreen may keep our skin safe from sunburns and the potential to develop skin cancer, but many of the ingredients are toxic, like fragrance and other dangerous chemicals such as hormone disruptors, retinoids, and sprays.
According to MEDShadow.org, spray sunscreens may be inhaled into your lungs. Retinoids – like retinyl palmitate, for example – are supposed to be good for reversing sun damage, but actually turn carcinogenic as they break down in the sun.
Hormone disruptors like avobenzone, ecamsule, octinoxate, and oxybenzone are also toxic sunscreen ingredients to look out for. According to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these hormone disruptors are absorbed through the skin when you apply sunscreen, and make their way into your bloodstream. There, they can cause issues with men’s sperm (yikes!) and fluctuating estrogen levels in women (double yikes!).
And don’t get us started on how harmful traditional sunscreens can be for the planet. When you wear harmful sunscreen in the ocean, it actually slides off your skin and makes its way into marine environments where it can harm coral reefs, green algae, dolphins, fish, mussels, and sea urchins, the National Ocean Service reports.
So, Moms, if you want to make responsible sunscreen decisions that a) are good for the planet and b) good for you and your family’s skin, keep reading for our picks of the safest and most natural sunscreens. And put on your rash guard.
Don’t sleep on it, ladies! If you don’t already have this HG beauty item in your skincare arsenal, then what are you waiting for? Offering up UVA/UVB sun protection, it’s recommended for sensitive or acne-prone skin (it even works wonders on rosacea and discoloration). A sunscreen that doesn’t make you break out… imagine that! Beyond the fun-in-the-sun months, be sure to lather this stuff on year-round for one less worry.
And men love it, too! Raves one hubby, “I really like this SPF cream. First of all, it doesn’t smell ‘perfumey’ – it might have a hint of suntan lotion smell, but it’s really faint. Second, this cream is NOT GREASY and disappears fast – even though it has 9% zinc oxide. Third, it has 46+ SPF with 7.5 Octinoxate to slow-burning. I’ve finally had to admit that I need a strong SPF; given past brushes with melanoma and the sincere desire to not have the hide of an alligator. And while not inexpensive, this is far less than the cost of a lot of the better-quality moisturizers for men. You usually get exactly what you pay for and this is worth every penny. Finally, my better half tells me that this company doesn’t test on animals. I believe that’s a good thing.”
Babo Botanicals hits all the requirements you could have for a sunscreen (yes, even if you’re the crunchiest, granola-est mom out there). This SPF 30 formula is vegan, fragrance-free, water-resistant, reef-safe, non-nano, 100% mineral active, and hypoallergenic to accomodate even the most sensitive skin types. (Yep — it’s safe for babies, too!) It’s fast-absorbing, ultra-sheer, and lightweight so you don’t have to worry about “lifeguard nose,” or looking streaky while you (safely) get your tan on.
When it comes to finding natural, non-toxic beauty products, BeautyCounter is one of best, mom-approved resources. BeautyCounter’s Protect All-Over SPF 30 sunscreen is lightweight, water-resistant, and more importantly, never formulated with any icky sh*t that can cause health issues (or cause environmental harm). The formula uses Aloe vera to hydrate skin and blood orange extract (which is high in antioxidants) to fight off nasty free radicals. This sun-blocker is never greasy, never goes on white, and blends in seamlessly so you can look cute AF on the beach. To use it most efficently, apply 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or every 40 minutes if you get wet.
You know this stuff is the real deal because it’s made with surfers in mind. Exposed to the elements all day long while they wait to catch the perfect wave, surfers know what’s up when it come to protecting their skin. SurfDurt is certified organic mineral sunscreen that provides the necessary broadspectrum coverage surfers (and moms!) need. It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes, so yeah, you’ll need to reapply, but it’s also some of the strongest stuff out there. It’s also made sustainably, which is a bonus. Crafted in the USA with the help of solar power, this is a sunscreen you can feel good about applying to yourself, to your kids, and to your partner.
Yes, you need to sunscreen it up on hotter days when you’re soaking up significant, direct sun exposure. But did you also know wearing sunscreen daily is one of the best things you can do for your skin? Literally, this is the #1 skincare tip that like, every dermatologist recommends. Glossier’s Invisible Shield sunscreen is fortified with a lightweight SPF 30 water-gel formula, so it’s ideal for everyday use under makeup. This formula neutralizes free radicals, and of course, protects the skin against sun damage and cancer. Not to mention, it’s hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan — everything moms love.
Believe it or not, it only takes five simple ingredients to make this bomb-dot-com sunscreen formula. Outfitted with an antioxidant-rich sunflower oil base, Badger Balm is certified 100% natural and 94% certified organic. Free from nasty sh*t like BPA and phthalates, the tube is also a recyclable plastic (so you don’t have to have #EnvironmentalGuilt). Never tested on animals, Badger Balm is totally biodegradable, safe for coral reefs, and works for up to 80 minutes of active swimming and other sweat-centric activities.
A fan-favorite of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 by Marie Veronique is made with 20% zinc oxide. Never greasy, this safe formula is an oil that provides full coverage from the sun’s rays and though it’s a bit of a splurge, that extra coverage is totally worth every penny, moms. Available in three different shades, Everyday Coverage is featherlight in texture and can even substitute as your foundation (for hotter, lighter makeup days). So whether you’re meeting your mom-friends at the beach or you’re driving the minivan to soccer practice, this sunscreen will protect you no matter what the circumstance — all while making sure your makeup is in tact, too.
Want to go au naturale (as much as possible) with your sunscreen? You can trust the Bum. As in, SunBum, of course. This whipped sunscreen lotion has the most delicious texture ever (though we don’t recommend eating it) and features a formula that is totally mom-approved. Here’s what you can look forward to with SunBum: a Hypoallergenic, gluten free, water resistant, non-comedogenic, vegan, fragrance free, octinoxate free, and oxybenzone free formula. How’s that, all you health-obsessed mamas? This sunscreen is everything a parent could possibly be looking for in the skincare aisle come summer. In addition to having all the good stuff you could possibly want (and not having all the sh*t stuff), this SPF 30 is mineral-based and broad spectrum, so you know you and your family members are getting the best possible coverage.
Sometimes you just need a refresh when you’re laying poolside and the streaky, greasy stuff just isn’t worth the effort. Supergoop’s Defense Refresh (Re)setting spray is exactly what moms need! It’s outfitted with 40 SPF, so you know no bad rays are coming through your skin to burn you. It’s just like using a makeup setting spray from Sephora; only this (Re)setting spray provides the most intense UV protection a mom could ask for. If you want the same level of protection for your kids, too, Supergoop recently launched a line for babies and toddlers.
How good is Two Peas Organic sunscreen? So good that the Think Dirty app actually rates the harmfulness of its ingredients a zero out of 10, Two Peas Organic scores the safest rating possible! Ingredients like certified organic coconut oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter keep this sunscreen in the safe zone, while also promoting smooth, protected skin. The zinc oxide inside works hard to protect every member of your pod from sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging. Unscented and made without parabens, phthalates, BPA, oxybenzone, petraloatum, and other yucky stuff, Two Peas Organic is baby-friendly, kid-friendly, and mama-friendly.
Now that your skin is protected, make sure to check out other beauty must-haves!