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  • Writer's pictureErica Larson

Natural Suncreens + SPF Guide

The warmest days of summer are upon us, and now given the current circumstances, a lot of us might be spending more time than usual outdoors. Vitamin D is much needed, but do not forget to protect your skin accordingly!

As a refresher, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor which is your protection from the sun's rays. Broad spectrum means the product protects from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) sun rays. There are two types of sunscreens, chemical sunscreen, which absorbs and disperses sun rays, and natural mineral sunscreen, which shields and reflects the sun's rays. Mineral sunscreen is better for both your body and the environment since it does not contain chemical UV filters that can have potential negative hormonal impacts on the body, and harm marine life.

The best part about mineral sunscreen is that they include botanicals and moisturizing oils that soothe the skin, have anti-aging properties, and ensure sufficient skin hydration when you are under the sun. Mineral sunscreen is often made with 'Zinc Oxide', from the naturally occurring mineral 'Zincite,' which is why it is also considered "physical sunscreen".

It is important to apply SPF everyday. From lights in your office, to sun coming through the window while driving, the rays can impact your skin even when you don't expect it. If you are spending the day outdoors, be sure to apply roughly a shot glass full of sunscreen to your body, and don't forget to reapply! Your lips need protection too! I always have a lip balm on hand with SPF 15.

Chemical sunscreen can create heat stress on your skin as it absorbs the rays, which increases skin sensitivity and can lead to contact dermatitis, acne, etc. If you have sensitive skin, opt for a sunscreen with more emollients like shea butter, hyaluronic acid, etc. to soothe and hydrate the skin. There are so many different skin types including dry, mature, sensitive, blemish-prone, combination, etc., so what works for one person might not work for the next.

I personally opt for a Zinc Oxide mineral sunscreen usually SPF 30-40 for my every day use. Although, if I am spending the day by the pool, at the beach, or out for a run or hike, I will apply SPF 50! Studies have shown that SPF 30 blocks 97% of rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98% of rays, so there is a 1% difference, but anything beyond SPF 50 might not make much of a difference for your skin, and have harsh ingredients.

The great thing now that clean beauty has evolved so much is that the majority of clean makeup products also contain SPF. Some key ingredients I look for include algae, aloe vera, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, Vitamins C& E, omegas, and zinc. All of these ingredients are very moisturizing and hydrating for the skin, and can double as skincare.

For environmental purposes, it is best to look for 'Reef Safe' sunscreen because chemical sunscreen has been found to bleach the reefs and possibly kill them. Harmful chemicals you might want to avoid include oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene. Starting in 2021 Hawaii will be banning sales of sunscreens with these harsh chemicals!

I have included some of my favorite sun protection products below! As always, any type of skin care varies from person to person, so do your research and try a few products or brands to see what works best for your body :)

For sensitive skin:

For SPF and makeup 2 in 1:

For body:

For lips:

Post-sun skin nourishment:



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