The days are heating up in many areas of the United States, and it’s time to start thinking more about sun protection for you and your family. But if you’ve read much about sunscreens, you know that not all of them are all that safe for your skin. Wouldn’t you prefer to find the safest natural sunscreen possible?
Now, natural is a pretty iffy term. There really isn’t a standardized meaning for it. What most people mean, of course, is that they want the sunscreen that doesn’t have synthetic chemicals in it. The idea is to avoid the more hazardous chemicals found in other products.
The Best Sun Protection
When you have the option, the best sun protection isn’t a sunscreen you spread on your skin, natural or otherwise. The best sun protection is to cover your skin. Buy a wide brimmed hat for yourself and for each of your kids. Wear it when you’re going to be out in the sun for a while.
Long sleeves and pants in breathable fabrics are also great for sun protection. When the weather gets really hot, you’re probably going to prefer short sleeves, but do consider the protection a physical barrier can provide your skin.
The Safest Sunscreens
There’s certainly debate about what makes a sunscreen safe to use. One obvious criteria is that it actually works. No point in slathering anything on as protection if it doesn’t actually protect your skin.
I really like the Environmental Working Group’s Safest Sunscreen list. They’ve tested a wide range of sunscreens, and so you’re sure to find one you like. Here are just a few of the brands which tested well, generally 1 or 2 on the scale EWG uses, which is what they consider to be the safe range. Exact ratings do vary on the products within each line of sunscreens.
You can also look up the brands you’ve been using, and see if there’s anything you feel a need to be concerned about. Not everyone agrees on what makes a chemical hazardous or even what is sufficient testing to know for certain. Either way, it pays to know what you can about what you’re putting on your skin so you’re making at least something of an educated decision.
As for me, 30-50 SPF and well reviewed for preventing sunburn is the biggest thing I look for. I always say I’m either a ghost or a lobster, as my skin doesn’t significantly tan. Great motivation for being consistent with my sunscreen those times I spend much time outdoors.
All this said, do remember that a limited amount of time out in the sun without sunscreen is a good thing for vitamin D production, but that’s just 5-30 minutes twice a week. Most times you really are better off remembering to put your sunscreen on and reapply regularly if you’re going to be out for a while, going swimming or doing anything that might rub the sunscreen off.