My Safer Sunscreen Recommendations

beach bag with safer sunscreen

Ohhhhh,​ ​sunscreen.​​ ​Doesn’t​ ​it​ ​seem​ ​as​ ​if​ ​all​ ​the​ ​information​ ​we​ ​get​ ​about sun​ ​safety​ ​is​ ​conflicting?​ ​Don’t​ ​go​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sun,​ ​it’s​ ​dangerous!​ ​Go​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sun, you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​make​ ​Vitamin​ ​D!​ ​Too​ ​much​ ​sun​ ​causes​ ​skin​ ​cancer!​ ​Not​ ​getting enough​ ​sun​ ​contributes​ ​to​ ​so​ ​many​ ​illnesses!​ ​​Geez.​ ​It’s​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​drive​ ​a person​ ​crazy.



Long​ ​gone​ ​are​ ​the​ ​days​ ​when​ ​we​ ​used​ ​to​ ​slather​ ​ourselves​ ​in​ ​baby​ ​oil​ ​and squeeze​ ​lemon​ ​juice​ ​in​ ​our​ ​hair,​ ​thank​ ​goodness.​ ​​How​ ​did​ ​we​ ​ever​ ​think​ ​that was​ ​a​ ​good​ ​thing???​​ ​But​ ​unfortunately,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​still​ ​a​ ​challenge​ ​in understanding​ ​how​ ​to​ ​practice​ ​safe​ ​sun​ ​exposure.​ ​Sometimes​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​as​ ​if​ ​this whole​ ​“sun​ ​is​ ​bad”​ ​thing​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​like​ ​the​ ​“fat​ ​is​ ​bad”​ ​epidemic.

Let’s​ ​be​ ​clear​​ ​—​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​is​ ​healthy​ ​and​ ​has​ ​many​ ​wonderful benefits!​ ​​We​ ​just​ ​need​ ​be​ ​smart​ ​about​ ​our​ ​exposure.

Vitamin​ ​D​ ​deficiency​ ​is​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​epidemic​ ​in​ ​this​ ​country​ ​and​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​a​ ​whole lot​ ​of​ ​issues​ ​and​ ​illnesses.​ ​We​ ​absolutely need​ ​Vitamin​ ​D​ ​for​ ​hormone​ ​balance​ ​and healthy​ ​immune​ ​systems!​ ​​Our​ ​best​ ​and​ ​most​ ​bio-available​ ​source​ ​of Vitamin​ ​D​ ​is​ ​the​ ​sunlight​​ ​—​ ​so​ ​why​ ​would​ ​we​ ​do​ ​everything​ ​we​ ​can​ ​to avoid​ ​it​ ​by​ ​being​ ​covered​ ​up​ ​in​ ​sunscreen​ ​all​ ​the​ ​time?

I​ ​know​ ​we​ ​have​ ​been​ ​warned​ ​repeatedly​ ​about​ ​the​ ​dangers​ ​of​ ​sun​ ​exposure in​ ​regards​ ​to​ ​skin​ ​cancer,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​is​ ​not​ ​really​ ​the​ ​problem.​ ​The​ ​problem is​ ​when​ ​we​ ​have​ ​unbalanced​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sun.​ ​And​ ​while​ ​this​ ​can​ ​totally be​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​TOO​ ​MUCH​ ​sun,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​more​ ​often​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​prolonged​ ​exposure​ ​to the​ ​WRONG​ ​RAYS.​ ​We​ ​very​ ​often​ ​end​ ​up​ ​using​ ​sunscreens​ ​that​ ​block​ ​the rays​ ​we​ ​actually​ ​need​ ​while​ ​allowing​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​the​ ​harmful​ ​rays.​ ​​Isn’t​ ​that crazy?​​ ​​Why​ ​would​ ​those​ ​sunscreens​ ​even​ ​exist???

I​ ​know​ ​this​ ​all​ ​sounds​ ​really​ ​doomsday-ish,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​promise​ ​it’s​ ​not.​ ​It​ ​all comes​ ​down​ ​to​ ​healthy​ ​amounts​ ​of​ ​sun​ ​exposure​ ​and​ ​knowing​ ​which sunscreens​ ​are​ ​doing​ ​the​ ​safest​ ​job​ ​of​ ​protecting​ ​us​ ​from​ ​the​ ​harmful​ ​rays.

So​ ​let’s​ ​get​ ​to​ ​it.

There​ ​are​ ​two​ ​major​ ​types​ ​of​ ​sunscreens:​ ​PHYSICAL​ ​AND​ ​CHEMICAL. Physical​ ​sunscreens​ ​contain​ ​ZINC​ ​OXIDE​ ​which​ ​acts​ ​as​ ​a​ ​physical​ ​barrier​ ​to prevent​ ​ALL​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sun’s​ ​rays​ ​from​ ​getting​ ​to​ ​us.​ ​Zinc​ ​oxide​ ​does​ ​not penetrate​ ​the​ ​skin,​ ​nor​ ​does​ ​it​ ​convert​ ​to​ ​anything​ ​harmful​ ​once​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​in contact​ ​with​ ​the​ ​sun’s​ ​rays.​ ​On​ ​the​ ​other​ ​hand,​ ​chemical​ ​sunscreens​ ​(which are​ ​typically​ ​the​ ​major​ ​brands​ ​we​ ​are​ ​all​ ​familiar​ ​with)​ ​use​ ​chemicals​ ​to block​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​sun’s​ ​rays​ ​but​ ​not​ ​all​ ​of​ ​them.

These​ ​chemical​ ​sunscreens​ ​also​ ​contain​ ​many​ ​ingredients​ ​which​ ​are​ ​not​ ​only endocrine​ ​disruptors​ ​and​ ​known​ ​toxins​ ​but​ ​can​ ​be​ ​converted​ ​to​ ​more dangerous​ ​substances​ ​once​ ​they​ ​come​ ​in​ ​contact​ ​with​ ​the​ ​sun.​ ​A​ ​very common​ ​ingredient​ ​in​ ​chemical​ ​sunscreens​ ​that​ ​you​ ​probably​ ​have​ ​heard​ ​of is​ ​OXYBENZONE.​ ​Oxybenzone​ ​is​ ​a​ ​very​ ​dangerous​ ​and​ ​toxic​ ​ingredient​ ​found in​ ​most​ ​conventional​ ​sunscreens​ ​and​ ​is​ ​easily​ ​absorbed​ ​into​ ​the​ ​skin​ ​—​ ​and it’s​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​hormone​ ​imbalances,​ ​testosterone​ ​disruption,​ ​allergies, endometriosis,​ ​and​ ​cancer.​ ​​Not​ ​awesome.

So​ ​the​ ​moral​ ​of​ ​the​ ​story​ ​is,​​ ​use​ ​PHYSICAL​ ​sunscreen​ ​when​ ​you​ ​are​ ​in the​ ​sun​ ​for​ ​prolonged​ ​periods​ ​of​ ​time​.​ ​And​ ​allow​ ​yourself​ ​a​ ​little​ ​healthy sun​ ​exposure​ ​daily​ ​if​ ​you​ ​can.​ ​​(And​ ​that,​ ​my​ ​friends,​ ​is​ ​why​ ​most​ ​of​ ​Alaska vacations​ ​in​ ​Hawaii​ ​in​ ​the​ ​winter!)

So​ ​what​ ​are​ ​my​ ​favorite​ ​SAFER​ ​sunscreens?

Safer sunscreen

Beautycounter Countersun Protect Sunscreen Stick, Protect All Over Sunscreen, and Sunscreen Mist

All​ ​of​ ​these​ ​have​ ​SPF​ ​30​ ​and​ ​truly​ ​do​ ​not​ ​leave​ ​a​ ​white​ ​mess​ ​everywhere, and can we lift all the praise hands for a mist that is actually safe?! Countersun is extra awesome because it uses a combo of zinc oxide and California poppy to block UVA, UVB and blue light — you know, all the junk we are exposed to because of those electronic devices which we are obsessed with. Keep​ ​in​ ​mind​ ​that​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​zinc​ ​oxide,​ ​you​ ​may​ ​have​ ​better​ ​and safer​ ​luck​ ​with​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​sticks​ ​as​ ​opposed​ ​to​ ​the​ ​lotion​ ​—​ ​this​ ​is​ ​because​ ​the ingredients​ ​in​ ​the​ ​lotions​ ​can​ ​separate​ ​and​ ​mean​ ​less​ ​consistent​ ​protection. Just make sure to massage the lotion in the bottle before applying! Same goes for the mist — make sure to shake well before applying. You​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​worry​ ​about​ ​separation​ ​with​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​sticks.​ ​Beautycounter offers​ ​a​ ​small​ ​stick​, lotions in two sizes, and mists in two sizes,​ ​all of which​ ​are​ ​super​ ​easy to​ ​keep​ ​in​ ​your​ ​purse,​ ​diaper​ ​bag,​ ​or​ ​beach​ ​bag.​ ​And​ ​Beautycounter eliminates​ ​1500​ ​possibly​ ​harmful​ ​ingredients​ ​even​ ​though​ ​America​ ​only​ ​bans 30,​ ​so​ ​we​ ​can​ ​trust​ ​its​ ​safety!

Safer sunscreen

HERE’S​ ​THE​ ​TAKEAWAY,​ ​YOU​ ​GUYS.​​ ​​Don’t​ ​let​ ​any​ ​sunscreen​ ​on​ ​the​ ​shelf at​ ​your​ ​local​ ​drug​ ​store​ ​give​ ​you​ ​a​ ​false​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​security.​ ​Do​ ​your homework,​ ​buy​ ​a​ ​safer​ ​physical​ ​sunscreen,​ ​and​ ​get​ ​out​ ​there​ ​for​ ​some​ ​time in​ ​the​ ​sun!

And​ ​​please​ ​please​ ​please​ ​remember​ ​to​ ​REAPPLY!​​ ​—​ ​one​ ​application​ ​when​ ​you first​ ​step​ ​out​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sun​ ​is​ ​not​ ​going​ ​to​ ​cut​ ​it.​ ​And​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​about​ ​you,​ ​if I’m​ ​anywhere​ ​near​ ​a​ ​pool​ ​or​ ​beach​ ​I’m​ ​staying​ ​out​ ​there​ ​ALL​ ​DAY​ ​LONG!


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