Oh, sunscreen. If you’ve worshipped it your whole life, good for you — you and your skin are ahead of the curve! If you’ve had a long standing love-hate relationship with sunscreen, don’t worry, we get it. Some argue that it feels like a chore to remember to apply, but we know that the benefits far outweigh the brief task of applying it. What if we told you that you could have a silky smooth natural sunscreen, without all the grease and toxic chemicals? And what if wearing it could actually improve your skin’s health? Would that sweeten the deal when it comes to wearing sunscreen?
If you’ve been mindlessly applying drugstore sunscreen for years, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at those chemical ingredients. We’ll walk you through the benefits of a natural sunscreen, the different types you can enjoy (moisturizer, spray, stick), and how a natural sunscreen can set you up for endless (and safe) summer fun!
Chemical or Natural Sunscreen?
On the quest for healthier skin, it’s important to understand how a natural sunscreen differs from that dollar store one you’ve been using. Your conventional sunscreen works by absorbing the sun’s UV rays with chemicals. That’s right, these chemicals are actually reacting with UV rays right on your skin’s surface, and are turned into heat that is then released from your skin. This can spell bad news for those of you with sensitive skin. The chemical reaction and heat release caused by chemical sunscreen can irritate skin and trigger the formation of dark spots.
What’s more terrifying are the chemicals that are used in conventional sunscreens: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate. These chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption and skin allergies with prolonged use. Research has suggested that for nursing mothers, these chemicals can be especially dangerous. Since chemicals in sunscreens applied to skin can be absorbed into the body, they can be passed on to their babies through nursing. Traces of these chemicals can be found in any chemical sunscreen user’s blood, urine, and breast milk of nursing moms.
As opposed to a ‘chemical sunscreen’, our natural sunscreen would be categorized as a ‘physical’ sunscreen. This is because it works by physically blocking (instead of reacting with) UVA and UVB rays. You might also see it called ‘mineral sunscreen’, because it uses minerals like zinc oxide and titanium oxide as physical shields against UV rays. In addition to minerals, we also use the protective antioxidant lycopene, which we source from tomatoes for our Tomato Lycopene SPF 20 Moisturizer. Tomato lycopene has also been praised for minimizing sun damage in skin, which is why we made it this sunscreen’s star ingredient.
Another thing you may notice with any truly natural sunscreen is that it will leave a slight white-cast upon application. This is actually great news for your skin! It’s a sign that the mineral particles are large enough to shield your skin. If they were small enough to be transparent (this is what we call the paradox of nanoparticles, and we’ll talk more about that in another blog post), they’d actually get absorbed into your skin and not be a mineral or physical sunscreen anymore. That said, for full skin loving protection, we don’t use nanoparticles in our natural sunscreen. If a white-cast bothers you, massage sunscreen into skin for an extra 30 seconds to blend more seamlessly into your skin tone.