All You Need To Know About Safe Sunscreens

It's been so sunny and warm the last two weeks-- I'm in heaven! With the beloved sunshine comes sunburns. Enter sunscreen! Sadly, they are not all created equal.

Did you know sunscreen is one of the products where toxins and chemicals hide out the most?! It's true and it's a little bit scary, so I want to give you all my best tips on how to choose a safe sunscreen for you and your family + lots of facts about sunscreen (more than you'll probably ever want to know...ha!) I'm pretty passionate about using safe alternatives where you can for your house, family and beauty routine. Even with my design clients, I suggest low VOC emission paint! With sunscreen though, we're (hopefully!) all using it, so since it's typically a product that harmful toxins are hidden in, I at least want you to be educated. 

I have been using what I thought was a "safe" sunscreen for YEARS. It says "paraben, gluten, cruelty, retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone-free" on the label, so I thought I was in the clear. I didn't even read the ingredients because those terms were enough for me at the time. After switching out all my products for safe alternatives this past year or so though, I reached for my sunscreen while we were in Hawaii a month ago and was shocked to learn what I found on the label. Though it was free of a bunch of things, it still contains Octocrylene, an active ingredient which has concerns like "enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Use restrictions, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)", stated by the EWG.

Want to know the name of said sunscreen? Sun Bum. I was so disappointed! Thankfully I had Beautycounter's sunscreen with me, so that's what I used for the remainder of the trip!

With warmer days ahead, I'm giving you allll the facts then some, about sun and rays and sunscreen. Then in tomorrow's post I'm going to give you 5 tips on choosing a safe sunscreen for you this summer!

First, let's get the facts straight.

Did you know that 5 sunburns at any age increase your chance of skin cancer by 50%? That was enough to wake up this California-sun-loving-girl!

No need to get any SPF over 50, as the benefits max out. 
SPF = Sun Protection Factor SPF is the measurement for defense from UVB rays • SPF 15 = blocks 93% of UVB rays • SPF 30 = blocks 97% of UVB rays • SPF 50 = blocks 98% of UVB rays

are the rays that lead to sunburn. On average, five sunburns at any age doubles one’s risk for melanoma.* *Skin Cancer Foundation

UVA: UVA = Aging sun rays. While UVA is almost undetectable because these rays do not change the color of the skin, they do penetrate deeper into the dermis of the skin, where they can potentially cause free-radical damage that leads to skin aging. UVA rays are equally intense no matter the season, AND they penetrate clouds and glass.

BLUE LIGHT: One ray that is becoming top of mind as we spend more and more time in front of computers, 
smart phones and tablets is Blue Light. Blue Light is a trendy topic in the technology realm, but, Blue Light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. The shorter, high energy blue wavelengths that make up Blue Light, collide with the air molecules, causing blue light to scatter. This is in fact what makes the sky look blue.

EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT: Its skin-aging effects can potentially be as much of a concern as those caused by UVA & UVB. The latest research suggests it may damage skin proteins and lipids. When these are damaged, signs of age like loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are possible.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is very helpful tool to find what's safe and what's not. Their database is full of thousands upon thousands of products and they rate them from 1-10 on their safety (1 being safe and 10 being toxic). You can literally scan the barcode of a product on their app and it'll give you a rating if it's in the database. They also have this helpful chart to keep on hand when searching for sunscreen and finding out about the ingredients in what you use. Green = safe, red = harmful.

I love using the app to help!

Okay, so those are the facts, friends. I'll be back tomorrow with 5 tips on how to choose a safe sunscreen, along with a couple other fun things like a case study and favorite items to wear in the sun.

Let me know if you have any questions!

interior design website / services / portfolio

No comments

Thank you for stopping by! If you have a specific question, please email me at I always reply to emails! Have a blessed day! xoxo

Back to Top