Summer months are just around the corner, which means the explosion of outdoor activities and celebrations will soon commence. Decades ago, there was minimal knowledge of the damaging effects that UVA and UVB rays have on our bodies. People would lay in the sun slathered in iodine and baby oil to work on bronzing their bodies. Our generation has the privilege of having information at our fingertips. We know how harmful failing to protect ourselves from the sun can be thanks to numerous research groups and the saturation of information we have access to through various media outlets.
Not only has research been done to successfully prove that we need to be careful about sun exposure, but now we need to be more careful about how we protect ourselves. Many of the non-natural sunscreen brands on the market contain chemicals that are carcinogenic. Remember, your skin is the largest organ you have. So, you must be thoughtful of what you put on it because a large portion will be absorbed by your body and broken down on a cellular level.
I have elected to test and review a number of natural sunscreen brands to help assist you in your pursuit for a healthier option. Before I tell you more about these products, I want to share with you a couple of helpful resources the manufacturer of Beyond Coastal introduced me to.
The first is: The Natural Products Association
Their site contains a plethora of information. You can find federal, state, international and grass roots legislation regarding the laws and regulations governing the manufacture and distribution of natural products. They keep their legislation section updated with articles on topics currently affecting the dietary supplements and natural products industry.
The NPA has a tool called The Natural Products Buyers Guide. You can either enter a keyword related to the product type you are looking for or search by brand name to find manufacturers who have natural product certifications.
Additionally, the NPA hosts natural products training seminars, releases educational publications on the subject of natural products and has a program which certifies companies to become natural products manufacturers and distributors.
The second is: The Environmental Working Group
One of the tools that I found to be immensely helpful on their site was the Chemical Index. This section contains a list of toxic chemicals many people are regularly exposed to, defines each chemical, lists the health effects resulting from exposure and provides the top routes of exposure. We see many of these chemical names, but often don’t have adequate information about them. There is some excellent info on here!
Their health/toxics section has a variety of subjects ranging from Children’s Health to Consumer Products and Our Water. Each section contains featured articles on public health issues to expose threats and help you find solutions.
Now for the results of my exploration in natural sunscreens…
I had the opportunity to review 2 of the suncare products manufactured by Kabana Skin Care. The first was their Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted and the second was their Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen.
Let me begin by saying I LOVED their products. They protect against both UVA and UVB rays and have 9 simple ingredients! If you have ever used a natural sunscreen you will know that many of them leave behind a very noticeable white film after applying. The CEO of Kabana Skin Care was kind enough to take time out of his day and provide me with some excellent insights on sunscreen. Zinc Oxide is the active ingredient in most natural sunscreens. To avoid diluting the valuable content provided to me by the CEO I have included a portion of it to help educate you:
“Zinc oxide is a mineral pigment – as such it’s a particle vs. the clear petrochemical oils in other sunscreen products. Since it’s not soluble or miscible in the formula, it does typically go on ‘white.’ This is why I’ve developed the tinted formula; while many of the mineral sunscreens advertise they go on ‘clear’ zinc oxide is by nature a white pigment that stays on the surface of skin and doesn’t get ‘absorbed’. It’s also a major pigment used in today’s non-toxic white paint (in the past it was lead oxide, which is toxic). You really don’t want sunscreens ‘absorbing’ because of the problems of bioaccumulation – search Google for “CDC study and oxybenzone” if you want more information about bioaccumulation, and some very good reasons to use zinc oxide sunscreens.”
Kabana Skin Care’s products were long-lasting. I personally am very fair-skinned. A poolside vacation in Texas tested the strength and endurance of their products. I applied the Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted to my face and the Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen to my body every 4 hours with intermittent exposure to water and toweling. By the day’s end my skin exhibited VERY minimal evidence of sun exposure. I had light tan lines and zero burning.
The Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen leaves a slight white residue, but nothing terribly noticeable. There are days that I abandon my make-up foundation and replaced it with Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted ! I have actually noticed an improvement in the skin texture on my face since using this product. I love it and would highly recommend trying their tinted formula.
Beyond Coastal’s staff was also exceptionally helpful with regard to educating me on natural suncare.
So you know, the sun emits 3 kinds of rays: UVC (the ozone and oxygen absorb all UVC Rays), UVB (primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer), and UVA (penetrate deeply and contribute to premature aging). It is imperative that you find a broad spectrum sunscreen for your extended periods of sun exposure.
Approximately 80% of a sunscreen’s formula is made up of inactive ingredients. You should pick a product that both protects and nourishes your skin when you use it. Beyond Coastal’s products contain ingredients that not only protect and nourish, but repair and hydrate as well.
Beyond Coastal’s Natural Clear Sunscreen SPF 30+ worked famously. About 5 minutes after applying there was no visible residue. My skin is very light so I can get away with using a sunscreen that leaves a slight white film, however those of you with deeper skin tones may prefer this formula because of it’s ability to absorb without a trace. I wore this sunscreen for approximately 3 hours to a couple of outdoor events. If you anticipate excessive perspiration I would recommend reapplying more frequently. This screen protected me against burning, but I was still able to achieve a little tan after direct sun exposure for 3 hours. It is a little sticky, but that’s just an indication of how well it stays on your skin. Another benefit that I would like to mention is that this sunscreen is very moisturizing! I have naturally dry skin and it can be challenging to get an even application of sunscreen with some of the other brands that are not as moisture rich. So, if you have dry skin this is a good one for you to pick up!
Beyond Coastal’s Natural Lip & Face Screen SPF 30+ was also great. It comes in a convenient little tin that can be thrown into any bag or purse without fear of it being squished and making a mess all over everything. This sunscreen is also very moisturizing. I apply it in lieu of a moisturizer prior to putting on my make-up foundation. On a typical day I only apply this product once in the morning to protect me from occasional sun exposure throughout the day. I love the way my skin looks when I use this product. There is something about it that gives me a very youthful, natural glow.
I will be very blunt about this one….I am not a fan. I had the opportunity to review their Badger SPF 30+ Lightly Scented Lavender Sunscreen and first of all the smell made me a little nauseous. They advertise a lavender scent, however it was not properly achieved. The formula is VERY greasy. As I said, I have dry skin, but even this formula was too heavy for my skin type. Bees wax is listed as one of the inactive ingredients and I believe it may be responsible for the heavy residue left on your skin after application. It is difficult to rub in so expect a whitish-purple tint to your skin. The one nice thing I can say about their product…it stays put. After over 4 hours of swimming, toweling and direct sun exposure there was no immediate need to reapply. It stayed on like a champ and protected well against burning.
Bella B is a brand that was created with expecting and new mothers in mind. Their products are crafted with natural ingredients that are gentle enough for both babies and mommies.
I was sent their Sunny Bee SPF 40+ Natural Sunscreen. I used the product on both myself and my 4 year old son. He is the world’s biggest fan of playing at the park. With hours of playtime and sun exposure under our belts, Bella B gets 2 thumbs up from me and kido! Not all ingredients in Sunny Bee are organic, but they are all natural. It is a broad spectrum sunscreen so you’ll be safe from both UVA and UVB rays for hours on end. It leaves a white film, but I see this as a benefit because it is easier to keep an eye on when I need to reapply it to my little one. This sunscreen is very gentle. So, whether you have kids or just sensitive skin you can rely on Sunny Bee to deliver excellent results!
I will be following this article up with an additional batch of reviews on a few other natural sunscreens. In the mean time, grab one of my recommended products and go enjoy the outdoors!