Delicious Living Blog

The best and worst sunscreens to choose this summer

by Jessica Rubino
May 27, 2015

Confused about which sunscreen to choose this summer? Don't sweat it! Here's a great resource to help you find the safest, most effective options around.

A lot can happen in nine years. And while the sun care market has no doubt evolved over the past decade, and consumers are waking up not only to the importance of using sunscreen daily but also choosing safer options made with minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, we still need to raise a lot more awareness to move the needle. That's why the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens, which is now in its ninth year, is such a great resource. This online guide highlights what some companies are doing to clean up the sun care industry—and the areas that need to make progress. 

Confused about sunscreens? Yeah, most people are. I use this guide as a resource, both in the work I do at Delicious Living and for my own choices when I’m shopping; I think the EWG does an excellent job of demystifying an absolutely critical product category. We all need to wear sunscreen … but which one do we choose?

What to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen

Look for companies that have earned a 0 or 1 ranking from the EWG. This means that they are the safest, most effective options around. Also read up on these 8 little known facts about sunscreen to get more info that will help you stay safe in the sun! 

It's also time to look critically at some of the companies you've perhaps used for years. While many great brands are offering safer solutions, it's quite possible that you've been using a chemical-laden product. Brace yourself; the EWG reported that 80 percent of the products it tested contained potentially dangerous sun care ingredients such as ozybenzone—a chemical that has been shown to mimic estrogen and is linked to endometriosis and allergies—and vitamin A, which may speed the development of cancer when used on skin in sunlight (note: it can be a good anti-aging ingredient, but you should avoid it in your sun care). The report calls out Neutrogena for bogus marketing, outlandish SPF numbers, and the excessive use of oxybenzone.

Definitely read more about the no-no products that the EWG points out. But, I know I only have you for a minute or two, so I want to give a shout out to a few of my favorite brands that meet and exceed the EWG’s criteria, meaning that they offer superior sun protection with safe ingredients. Whether you end up settling on these products or others, just be sure you look for sunscreens that use minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect from UV rays (rather than oxybenzome), plus offer added plant-based ingredients that soothe and nourish the skin. (If you have more questions about mineral vs. chemical sunscreens, I recently wrote a piece that tackles the issue. Check it out.)         

Kudos to Badger, Goddess Garden, All Terrain, Coola, Raw Elements and MyChelle! I’m a big fan of these companies' commitment to innovation in natural sun care, and look forward to seeing what they, and the other awesome brands recognized in this year’s report, accomplish in the next nine years. Find your own favorite by choosing products that have earned a 0 or 1 ranking.

(And P.S. just because you were buying Neutrogena nearly a decade ago, doesn’t mean you should today … sorry Neutrogena, but no.)  

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on May 29, 2015

When we went to ROATAN I bought one made from cactus. I found it to be very good. They also make an insect repellent. All natural.

on May 29, 2015

Such great info!! I wish there were more sport and spray versions of these 'natural' sunscreens - they are so hard to find where I live!

on Aug 27, 2015

There are sunscreens that provide you with a 75 factor. That, of course, is complete nonsense since the maximum protection could only be 50.

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