The Lowdown on SPF Sunscreens - Plus 5 Natural Options to Try!

The Lowdown on SPF Sunscreens - Plus 5 Natural Options to Try!


29 July 2019


If you're one of those beach bunnies or sunshine enthusiasts, you'll need a way to protect your skin from the sun's harsh rays. In fact, your risk of developing melanoma doubles if you've had more than five sunburns in your life, which is why doctors recommend using a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 each and every day.

What Is SPF & How Does it Work?

Every sunscreen you purchase, whether it uses artificial or natural ingredients, will have an SPF rating prominently displayed on the label. It stands for sun protection factor, which measures how well the sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays — the radiation that causes sunburns. It's based on how long it takes for your skin to burn naturally.

If you burn after 10 minutes, an SPF 15 sunscreen will protect you for 150 minutes before your skin would start turning red, multiplying that 10 minutes by a factor of 15. SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of the radiation that causes sunburns. If you go up to SPF 30, it blocks 97%, so there's just a 4% difference between SPF 15 and 30.

Sunscreen & Artificial Ingredients

Most readily available sunscreens are packed full of artificial ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone. While they are effective at blocking UVB rays, a recent study found that these chemicals can soak into the skin and be absorbed in the bloodstream. These chemicals can reach dangerous or even toxic levels after a single day of use.

5 Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

It seems like a bit of a catch-22 — you need to protect yourself from the sun to prevent skin cancer, but most of the sunscreen brands you'll find at your local drugstore contain these chemicals that can become toxic very quickly. With that in mind, here are some alternatives — natural mineral sunscreens — that can protect your skin without all the artificial ingredients.

1. Badger Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

When you think of zinc sunscreens, you probably picture lifeguards with a thick white paste smeared over their noses, but that's not the case anymore. Badger Clear Zinc Sunscreen uses uncoated clear zinc oxide to provide the maximum protection without those white smears. It's a little harder to rub in, thanks to the beeswax included in its ingredients, but it's water-resistant for 40 minutes, making it perfect for trips to the beach.

2. Juice Beauty Sport Organic Sunscreen SPF 30

Juice Beauty combines 20% zinc oxide with aloe, coconut and jojoba oils to create a water-resistant sunscreen that has no harsh chemicals and moisturizes your skin. It's water-resistant for 80 minutes, making it comparable to most chemical sunscreens.

3. Nurture My Body Unscented Organic Sunscreen SPF 32

Everyone's skin is created differently, and some people don't react well to fragrances or essential oils — even natural ones. Finding a sunscreen without some sort of scent can be challenging and expensive. Nurture My Body's Unscented Organic Sunscreen uses 25% non-nano zinc oxide and other non-irritating ingredients, making it ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. However, it does have a white tint due to the zinc oxide.

4. All Good Zinc Oxide Sport Sunscreen SPF 30

If you're looking for a sunscreen that gives you plenty of protection without feeling gross and greasy, then All Good Zinc Oxide Sport Sunscreen is a great option. Its formula, which includes green tea, buriti oil and rose hips, can allegedly help to repair damaged skin while protecting you from harsh UV rays while you're enjoying your summer activities.

5. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunscreen SPF 50

Adults aren't the only ones who need protection from the sun. Aveeno Baby's Continuous Protection Sunscreen is designed for babies and children with sensitive skin. Like the other mineral sunscreens on our list, its active ingredient is zinc oxide. It also contains oats, like many other Aveeno products, which helps to soothe sensitive skin.


Choose Your Sunscreen Wisely and Reapply Often

This is just a small sample of the natural sunscreens available on the market today. Regardless of which one you choose, remember to follow the instructions and reapply often. It won't do you a whole lot of good if you only put it on once in the morning and spend the entire day outdoors. Set an alarm as a reminder if you're worried about forgetting — and take all the steps necessary to protect your skin from the sun's harsh rays.