Want the advantages of sunscreen, without putting artificial substances on your skin or into the water? There are a variety of top natural sunscreens now available that give you great sun protection without the guilt. But not all “natural” brands offer the same benefits. Here is what to expect from the best natural sunscreens:
1. An all-natural formulation – The top natural sunscreens use minerals to provide a protective layer over the skin, and are completely free of parabens and chemicals that could irritate the skin or harm the environment.
2. Broad spectrum protection – Most people know that it is the ultraviolet (UV) light in the sun’s light that you need to protect your skin against, but few realize that there are actually multiple kinds of UV light—and that not all sunscreens protect against both kinds of UV. The UV spectrum is divided into UVA and UVB. UVA light is what causes most sunburn, and is all that some natural sunscreens protect against. But UVB causes problems of its own: damage and premature aging to the skin, as well as a risk of skin cancer. Imagine going to the beach all day and getting no sunburn, but noticing that your face looks older afterward! This is why “broad spectrum” sunscreen, which protects against both kinds of UV light, is so much more valuable. The top natural sunscreens offer broad spectrum protection.
3. Moisturizing and nourishing properties – Just because sunscreen is designed to protect against the sun doesn’t mean it can’t do much more than that, too. A good sunscreen of any kind will help nourish, heal, and moisturize the skin. Natural sunscreens achieve this with any of several ingredients: aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter or olive oil, among others. Vitamin E or various natural oils rich in antioxidants can also be added.
4. Adequate water resistance – Most of the time when you put on sunscreen, it means you’re at the beach or the pool, which means swimming. Anywhere else and there’s a good chance you’ll be sweating in the heat. Either way, your sunscreen will be inundated with water and only the best sunscreens will stay on and remain effective. The best natural sunscreens are designed to be water resistant and, like conventional water resistant sunscreens, they remain effective for up to 40 minutes of immersion in the water.
5. A wide range of SPF protection – Remember, most people need SPF 50+ to provide adequate protection in direct sun. High SPFs are good for long hours of exposure without shade, and lower are useful mainly for people who already have a tan and are doing controlled exposure with regular breaks. The top natural sunscreens are available in a range of SPFs to fit everyone’s needs.
Not every natural sunscreen will live up to these standards. Make sure you’re using one that does!