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We’ve Got you Covered: A Guide to Choosing Natural Sunscreens

05.30.14 We’ve Got you Covered: A Guide to Choosing Natural Sunscreens

With hundreds of sunscreen choices lining store shelves, it’s hard to choose. All claim to protect your family from the sun, and most today brag about being water resistant, so what’s the big diff?

One huge difference, that can help you narrow the field significantly, is whether the “protective” ingredients in a sunscreen are natural (aka mineral) or chemical. Most conventional sunscreens are chemical as opposed to mineral. All other claims aside, this is the critical distinction.

Chemical sunscreens do their job by absorbing UV light. Sure, they may protect you from the sun, but they may also be exposing your family to potentially toxic ingredients in the process. Mineral sunscreens reflect UV light. The main ingredient, zinc oxide, has long been known to be both safe and effective. And, because it forms a protective barrier on the skin, mineral sunscreens offer full spectrum UVA/UVB protection and are effective immediately.

For an in-depth look at why choosing natural sunscreen is so important and the key ingredients to avoid, read 3 Reasons to Rethink Your Sunscreen. Once you’ve made up your mind to avoid chemical sunscreens, the choice is easy. Here’s a short list of the best seven sunscreens we could find.

Our 7 best, for every part of every body:

1. Safe spray-on: Aubrey Kids SPF 30 Spray - Quick and easy application Applying sunscreen to squirming kids can be quite a challenge. Which is why aerosol sprays are everywhere these days, literally. Finally, there’s a safe, easy to use, effective alternative. 


2. Water sports: Badger SPF 35 Sport - waterproof Cream based so it stays where you put it – minimize having to wipe sunscreen out of kids eyes. Protects from sun, wind, and water while moisturizing and nourishing the skin. Highest level of water resistance, up to 80 minutes of swimming.


3. Kids all-purpose: Thinksport Kids SPF 50 - water resistant, goes on pretty smooth Made for kids just too big for “baby” sunscreen. All the best qualities of baby and adult versions combined; safe, easy to apply, and highly water resistant, enduring up to 80 minutes of swimming!


4. Adult All Purpose: Thinksport - mineral sunscreen goes on pretty smooth Thinksport happens to have the highest rating of water-resistance given by the FDA, as high as chemical sunscreens.


5. Everyday Face: Aubrey Saving Face SPF 15- Moisturize and protect in 1 step Use instead of daytime moisturizer to protect the delicate and sensitive skin on your face without harmful chemicals. Lightweight enough to wear under makeup too. Though it sounds low, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays.


6. On the go: Badger SPF 35 Face Stick - Concentrated size, targeted application An absolute essential for your backpack and beach bag… the small size and no mess style of the stick make it easy to carry and apply (kids can do it themselves, yay!)Great for added protection or touch ups on smaller areas like nose, ears and around the eyes. Also protects from chapping and windburn.


7. Lips: Badger SPF 15 Lip Balm - Specially formulated for everyday protection Just like the rest of your skin, your lips need protection from the sun to help prevent skin cancer and aging. When applying sunscreens and spf moisturizers, lips oget left out. Men and kids especially (who are not likely to already be using a lip product with spf) need to add an spf lip balm into their routine. 

More about SPF numbers

Most people don’t realize that the SPF rating of a sunscreen only refers to protection against UVB radiation, but doesn’t reflect a product’s ability to protect from UVA rays. UVB rays burn the skin, so in theory a high SPF product offers more protection from burning. But UVA rays can also be very destructive, because they penetrate deeply into the skin to accelerate the look of aging, increase the risk of skin cancer, and even suppress the immune system.

Sunscreens with an SPF over 50 may give people a false sense of security and tempt them to stay in the sun too long because they they think that if they’re not burning, they’re protected. If the sunscreen doesn’t offer full spectrum protection though, like our mineral based sunscreens do, users can actually up the risk of other kinds of skin damage by letting harmful UVA rays in.

Also good to know is that a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays. That is, of course, if you apply it as liberally as testers do. In everyday life, however, people tend to apply ¼ to ½ as much sunscreen as is needed to acheive the advertised level of protection.

Summer is time for carefree fun in the sun! The last thing you want to do is worry about the safety and effectiveness of your sunscreen. Now you know, we’ve got you covered!

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