5 Things to Remember When Choosing Sunscreen

Yesterday I shared a ton of facts about sunscreen (more than you'll ever probably want to know, but hey-- educating yourself is so important!) You can read that here. Today I'm giving you 5 things to consider when shopping for your sunscreen this year. Especially if you have babies or kids, this will hopefully be really helpful for you. Knowledge is power, friends!

1. CHOOSE MINERAL SUNSCREEN. Opt for products whose main ingredients are either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens are more popular because one of the complaints many people have regarding mineral (also known as "physical") sunscreens is the white, chalky-like residue they can and often do leave on the skin. However, Beautycounter's mineral sunscreens are formulated to blend easily onto skin with hardly any white residue. This is why I love Beautycounter.

Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the surface of the skin and physically bounce or reflect sun’s rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin as well as babies and kids.

2. BROAD SPECTRUM PROTECTION. Opt for sunscreens that protect against UVA (the rays that age) and UVB (the rays that burn).  Beautycounter's newly reformulated mineral sunscreens protect against UVA, UVB and Blue Light, all things we want to avoid to keep healthy skin.

BONUS! Countersun is formulated with California Poppy, which is antioxidant-rich. It provides an effective shield from skin-aging rays (always a plus!) while being gentle and pleasant feeling on the skin. Smooth, nourishing formula blends evenly onto skin with limited white residue.

3. NO RETINYL PALMITATE. Some sunscreens contain Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate (as many facial moisturizers with SPF often do). Studies have shown that this vitamin A derivative may trigger the development of skin tumors and lesions when used on the skin in the presence of sunlight. Yikes! It's best to avoid this ingredient! It is never found in any Beautycounter products as it's one of many products on The Never List.

4.  NON-AEROSOL SPRAY. If you prefer the ease of a sunscreen spray choose a non-aerosol option, as the propellant chemicals of aerosol cans can be harmful. Beautycounter's new sunscreen spray is air-powered, delivering convenience without harsh chemicals. (They really do think of everything!)
5.  AVOID FRAGRANCES. Synthetic fragrances can have any number of harmful chemicals because they are considered "trade secrets" and they aren't legally obligated to report their ingredients. Isn't that crazy?! This is one of my favorite things about Beautycounter. All the ingredients are listed and everything has such a wonderful scent, usually made up of essential oils.


My friend Carmel went into a grocery store to do a little investigation, so I had to share it with you. On any given rack of over 30 sunscreens to choose from at your local grocery store (or Target, let's be honest), there are usually one or two that might be actually safe for your skin, despite how good their marketing makes the product look. Take a look below...

Take this Neutrogena brand, for example. Looks nice, tells you it'll protect you from the sun, but flip it over to reveal the ingredients. It has multiple ingredients very high up on EWG's harmful sunscreen ingredient list (scroll up to see it again). The worst offender is probably Oxybenzone. This "acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals; associated with endometriosis in women. "WHAT?! We're putting this on our bodies?! Not me! It also contributes to destroying our coral reef, which is another reason BC doesn't put this in any products.

Now look at this kid sunscreen (so maddening!) "Paraben-free" doesn't mean it's still a safe product for your skin (just like a "gluten-free" donut still isn't necessarily healthy for you!), so be sure to check the ingredients! This one contains some of the worst offenders, yet again. 

Sometimes there a couple good of good options at the store like Honest Company, Alba Botanicals, and Goddess Garden. I've never used any of them, but reviews suggest since they are mineral sunscreens, the biggest complaint is that they don't rub in well. If you have a safe sunscreen you love, let me know! 

I did go into Trader Joe's the other day and checked out their sunscreen. I was shocked! Only 1 of 3 sunscreens they offer is safe. The safe one is this sunscreen stick. The other two lotions both have ingredients in the red zone from the EWG graphic above.

This might seem overwhelming (and I get it, it's a lot of information about sunscreen...ha!) but hopefully, it'll at least stop and make you look at your ingredient labels. Of course, there are also other ways to protect against the sun! A fun floppy hat, rash guards, and coverups all help. Here are some favorites below, along with the best (in my opinion) sunscreen choices

I'm wearing my Cabana Life Cover Up Rash Guard above on our honeymoon in Maui. I loved it!

sunscreen spray sunscreen / sunscreen stick Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with SPF20 /floppy hat / talk to the sand hat out and about striped hat / striped rash guard / white eyelet cover-up rash guard front tie cover-up / sunglasses / beach towels / 

Let me know if you have any questions about any of this or other safe beauty and skincare questions! I'm here to help. If you like this type of information, be sure to sign up for my Safer Beauty Newsletter here, where once a month I share information about safer beauty and skincare options, Beautycounter sales and giveaways. 
Here's to healthy skin and soaking up the sunshine! 
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  1. My kids have very sensitive skin, so years ago we had to convert to mineral based sunscreens. Babyganics Lotion has been one we have used lately, and it's been pretty good as far as not leaving a white film over them. We've used the Aveeno Baby, Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby, and California Baby Calendula, and they were just okay. I was shocked to see that Banana Boat Kids scored a 2 on the EWG site, but I haven't used it. I would think that option would be budget-friendly

    What score does that Beautycounter spray sunscreen get? I do like the convenience of a spray when we are out at the pool? We just tried the Alba Bontanica spray... no rashes yet on the kids.

    1. Wow, that's great to hear all those brands! I'll have to check the ingredients to see!

      So since BC's spray is brand new, it's not on the EWG app yet, but I'm guessing it'll be a 1 or 2 like the other sunscreens are, especially since it's not an aerosol can. I'm so glad you've found some things that don't break out the kids skin.


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