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My Safer Sunscreen Recommendations

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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I’m Amanda! 

I’m a Pilates & Barre Master Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Executive Director with Beautycounter, recently retired military wife, and mother of two very energetic boys.

I’ve given up the unrealistic notion of being awesome at everything and embraced the idea of just keeping the important stuff well balanced.

My life is not nearly as cool as my Pinterest boards, you guys. But I do try to live a healthy life and make better choices for my family. If you have any interest in doing the same, please stick around!