Because we know how dangerous the UV rays of the sun can be, they seem like something that we need to use if we want to be safe. But if you check out the labels of most mainstream sunscreens, there are lots of strange chemicals included. And since we have to absorb the lotion into our body for it to work, there’s the potential for all sorts of bad things to happen – allergic reactions, hormone imbalances, bioaccumulation of these unnecessary chemicals, and even the development of cancer.
Pretty frightening, no? Of course, those are the worst case scenarios – most likely none of that will happen to the vast majority of people. But do you really want to risk it? How does that risk stack up against the risk of not wearing sunscreen at all?
Fortunately, there’s another alternative: natural sunscreens. Not only are some companies starting to realize that there’s a market for these safer alternatives to chemical sunscreens and making them more available, it’s even possible to make your own natural sunscreen. Why would you go to the trouble? Well, because natural sunscreens tend to be expensive. And besides, some people just feel better if they can directly control what’s going into their bodies.
Below we’ll describe both paths and provide you with a few options.
Natural Commercial Sunscreens
Because these can be quite expensive, we’re only listing a few of the ones that are both inexpensive (comparably) and highly rated.
MexiTan. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave MexiTan strong ratings for UVA and UVB protection as well as using ingredients that received a “low hazard” determination. Even better, they make the cheapest natural sunscreen on the market –SPF 30 is $2.19 per ounce or $17.50 for an eight ounce bottle.
Nature’s Gate Mineral Sportblock. Sometimes it’s tough to know if a “natural” sunscreen really is natural, but this one is on EWG’s “best” list. And just like MexiTan, it’s fairly cheap for a natural sunscreen, coming in at $9.35 for four ounces of SPF 20.
Alba Botanical Mineral Sunscreen. Water resistant, fragrance-free, and all-natural, you can get two four-ounce tubes for around $20 and rest easy knowing that you’re not putting any dangerous chemicals into your body.
DIY Natural Sunscreen
There are actually a fairly large number of natural ingredients with helpful sun-resistant qualities:
Zinc oxide. Many people know about this one. Zinc oxide has natural properties that allow it to deflect the sun’s harmful UV rays simply by applying it to your skin. The negative that turns many people off is that it is an actual block that sits on top of your skin in a thick coat that many people don’t find appealing.
All kinds of oils.Okay, not all kinds, but quite a few. Peanut oil, avocado oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil all have SPF levels between 4 and 10. Shea butter has an SPF level of 6-10. Wheat germ oil is not only SPF 20, but also nourishes your skin. Carrot seed oil rates at SPF 30. And the delicious-sounding raspberry seed oil has an SPF rating of somewhere between 30 and 50 – the highest rating of any natural ingredient.
Michael Klein has been writing articles about skin care for companies like Skinfo Skincare, and their nutrient-based skincare, for more than a decade. When not writing, Michael loves spending time with his family or shopping around the wonderful City of Chicago.