This summer we’re focusing on creating a vacation at home, and we can’t do that without sun protection. Whether you’re gardening, swimming, relaxing in your own yard, or taking your fun into the wilderness, you need to bring a trustworthy and safe sunscreen along.
So what makes a sunscreen “trustworthy”? Personally, we stick to the clean category: non-toxic, free of parabens, and no added fragrance. Additionally, if we’re planning on swimming in the ocean or in a lake, it’s essential that you apply a ‘reef-safe’ formula to protect fish, coral, and other key members in the ecosystem. You can learn more about why most mainstream sunscreens contain potentially harmful sunscreen actives like oxybenzone (a potential hormone disruptor), and octinoxate (can have harmful effects on animals, as well as the environment) on the most recent episode of our favorite podcast, How I Built This.
The EWG provides a helpful assessment of most sunscreens' active ingredient toxicity here. "In 2019 and 2020, FDA published two studies showing that the ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone are all systemically absorbed into the body after a single-use. The FDA also found that the sunscreen ingredients could be detected on the skin and in blood weeks after application ended. These findings are troubling because they show that sunscreen chemicals are circulating in the blood, and the FDA has indicated that the agency does not have enough information to determine whether the chemicals are causing harm."
Caribbean Sol has a great sunscreen that is packaged sustainably and has a biodegradable formula! They also have a specific formula just for your face. Mad Hippie makes another great facial SPF that we love!
We try to stay away from any synthetic fragrance, especially when applying a product that touches our body. If you’re looking for something that smells amazing naturally, we’d recommend Vanilla Coconut SPF from Rocky Mountain Soap.
Looking for something easy? Babo Botanicals makes a great continuous spray SPF that’s fantastic for sensitive skin. We’ve heard from moms that this is a beloved solution for kids with eczema.
Something easy to throw in your bag will always be Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. It’s small and portable and lives up to the hype! It goes on velvety and smooth. They have a full page of unique SPF options. Kelsey’s favorite for running is the Matte Screen, it doesn’t cause any eye irritation, shine and won’t make you break out when you sweat with it on!
Looking for some extra sun luxury? Biossance makes an SPF with added squalene to lock in moisture. No more chalky, dry, skin! We’re also huge fans of the Ilia tinted moisturizer, which has SPF 40 and squalene!
Tula makes a non-greasy broad-spectrum gel that contains probiotics and papaya to help even out skin tone. It also protects against pollutants and blue light by adding Wild Butterfly Ginger Root, making it a perfect option for city dwellers!
With the abundance of safe sunscreen options, there’s no reason to settle for sticky formulas with harmful ingredients, and there’s no excuse for not applying sunscreen every day. It’s comical to think that we go through multi-step processes every day to keep our skin looking young when arguably the best thing we can do is protect it from sun damage in the first place. Hopefully, this safe sunscreen list will give you plenty of options for wherever your summer vacation takes you!