Everything You Need to Know About Safer Sunscreen

If you consistently lather up with sunscreen before spending time outdoors, you’re probably already feeling like you’re ahead of the game. And you kind of are! According to CBS News, only one-third of people apply sunscreen to all of their exposed skin (per medical recommendations). Being in a consistent routine with safer sunscreen — especially in the summertime — is absolutely a victory.

But there’s more to sunscreen than you’ve heard about from advertising… and maybe even from your dermatologist. While mainstream, readily available sun protection brands do have a pretty good track record of minimizing risk of skin cancer (for those who use it properly, of course!), they aren’t exactly doing you any other favors health-wise, and people are starting to notice.

P.S. More recently, chemical filters in sunscreens have been linked to the killing off of coral reefs. It’s why Hawaii, and recently Florida have newly passed a bill to ban these types of sunscreens from being sold in the state.

beautycounter countersunk

Everything You Need to Know About Safer Sunscreen

There’s more to it than the SPF number

Here’s a fact you’ve probably never even thought about: Many of the sunscreens you’re probably most familiar with are known as chemical sunblocks. These products actually absorb into your skin, ultimately absorbing UV rays so they can be converted into heat and released from your body. Active ingredients in these sunscreens typically include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. Think about it for a sec — if these chemical sunscreens are to work properly, those chemicals need to be fully absorbed into your body. Do you want your skin absorbing things that are known to be harmful to your health, or just anything that you can’t even pronounce? No, thanks.

If you are unsure of the ingredients in the sunscreen you thought was decent, EWG.org/skindeep is my go-to resource to search and learn about the ingredients in my products. You simply search an item, and see it’s toxicity rating based on the ingredients and can read about why those ingredients aren’t good for you. It’s pretty awesome!

Now, all of this isn’t to scare you! The good news is that you don’t have to avoid sunscreen altogether in order to avoid these chemicals, and the answer is certainly not to stop wearing sunscreen. There are alternatives! It’s a good thing, too, because I want to help you preserve your healthy skin and stay glowing and ageless forever. 

Safer Sunscreen Guide

Is mineral sunscreen better than chemical?

The best alternative for chemical sunscreen is a category of sun protection called mineral sunscreen.

Look for mineral sunscreens that feature zinc and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients, rather than the chemicals present in most conventional products. This makes your sunscreen a lot cleaner and safer. Mineral sunscreens use these active ingredients to physically block the rays from your skin — they actually reflect the suns rays. As an added bonus, many mineral sunscreens are fragrance-free, which is a win for babies, kids, and anyone with sensitive skin and can help you further streamline the dangerous chemicals being absorbed into your body. 

Ingredients you should avoid when searching for sunscreen are:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate 
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Fragrance

best mineral sunscreen

The best mineral sunscreens

My personal pick for my family is Beautycounter’s sunscreen line, Countersun.

Here’s why: Beautycounter just happens to be the market leader in safer, mineral sunscreen. I trust them for their skincare, make-up, and mission, and their triple-tested Countersun line is no different, (plus it’s reef safe)! Beautycounter’s sunscreen offers all of the benefits of sun protection without the dangers associated with many of the products you can buy at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Please, do your research when you pick up that sunscreen that looks good in CVS!

Countersun (Beautycounter’s mineral sunscreen line) has a lotion, a non-aerosol mist, and a face stick, and the line now includes tinted sunscreens — a little extra glow, anyone? — and an aftersun cooling gel, to help ease the pain of a little too much time spent catching rays. Basically, all of your bases are now officially covered… and a lot more safely! 

Here’s a handful of other miner sunscreen options that pass the test:

Beautycounter Sunscreen

Here are a few of my go-to tips for applying Beautycounter’s safer mineral sunscreen: 

Just because these products are great (which they are) doesn’t mean that they can prevent 100% of sunburns. Mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen are quite different, and user error is a real thing in the world of sun protection.

1. Re-apply! Sunscreen is not a one and done proposition. Even the best of these products needs to be re-applied on a regular basis, usually according to the instructions on the package.  Adding another layer of protection approximately every hour or two is probably a safe bet (pun intended!). Be extra careful if you’re spending a lot of time in the water. Water resistant is not the same as waterproof, so make sure to reapply after or taking a dip or sweating on a run!

2. Application must be visible. Mineral sunscreen can only do their job if you can actually see where they’ve been applied on your skin. Before you start the process of rubbing in your sunscreen, make sure that the sheer-white formula (or the new tinted formula!) is visible on your body. We’re not talking about a clear mist here!

3. Zinc does not expire. Zinc is one of the active ingredients in mineral sunscreen, and as if its ability to fight the sun’s dangerous rays wasn’t enough to sell you on it, it also never expires as a protective agent! This means that it will be effective for years after purchase. All sun protection products are required by law to list an expiration date, but if you’re using a mineral sunscreen, time isn’t of the essence. If your safer sunscreen stash lasts longer than expected, it will keep working! 

4. Shake before use. Zinc can settle in the sunscreen’s packaging, so wake it up a bit before applying with a little shake! Doing this will ensure that zinc — AKA your sun protective agent — is distributed evenly every time you lather up, keeping your glow even and your whole body safe. 


Generally speaking, I encourage you to never underestimate the sun. It is so powerful, and even the best of sunscreens won’t help if you’re not sure to use them properly. Be careful, be safe, and have fun in the sun!

Safer Sunscreen

P.S. Want some other reads? This article from NY Post is really informative and this one from CNN is as well.


Disclosure: There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use on my own body. Thank you for supporting Lexi’s Clean Kitchen when you shop.

Beyond the Kitchen

Life Lately:

We had this AMAZING Thai brunch in Boston at Banyan. I’m still dreaming of this gluten-free sandwich on scallion pancakes.

brunch

Earlier this week I took a few days to go on our annual spa trip with very special friends. We had the best time relaxing, laughing, and enjoying Norwich Spa and Mohegan Sun!

Norwich Spa & Mohegan Sun

We stayed at The Spa at Norwich Inn, then took quick 5 minute taxis to Mohegan each night. We ate at Tuscany and Bar American, and visited our favorite, Vista Lounge, both nights!

CSA

Does it get any better than this? I can’t wait to cook through this week’s CSA haul!

CSA SHARE

Now I’m back to work, work, work and WEDDING PLANNING! We are one month away!


Blog Posts I’m Loving:

The most gorgeous Summer Fruit Plate ever.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Vegan Fudge? Sign me up!

I want this Skillet Fish with tomatoes this weekend!

The perfect way to use avocados and my tomatoes and cucumbers is this salad.

Grilling a Delmonico Steak just got easier!


 Quote of the Week:

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…” ― Marcus Aurelius


What’s HOT on Pinterest This Week:

Caribbean Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Recipe | Pin It 

Hosting the Perfect Brunch: How To | Pin it

Easy Blueberry Jam: Recipe | Pin It

Loaded Paleo Nachos: Recipe | Pin It


Current Must-Haves: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Edition

This off the shoulder top.

These booties.

This casual T.

This awesome structured bag.

My favorite everyday bra.


What You May Have Missed:

This Easy Beet Slaw.

My Thai Curry Soup with ALL THE VEGGIES! 


Better Beauty & Safer Skincare

I’ve been talking a lot more about what products I’m using to create a non-toxic home and I can’t say enough amazing things about what I’ve been using lately.

skin-beauty-withLCK

Here’s a look inside my medicine cabinet!

inside-my-bathroomcabinet

Hair: I love Oi oil by Davines.

Teeth: I brush with Dessert Essence Toothpaste in this flavor, and find it at Whole Foods Market or on Amazon. We love it.

Deodorant: Primally Pure in Lemongrass. It’s fabulous!

Pre-cleanser: I like this pre-cleanser oil to remove dirt and make-up before washing.

Face Cleansers: I use this cleansing bar in the shower, and this face wash for AM & PM.

Face Exfoliators: Here’s my light exfoliator. Here’s my go-to heavier exfoliator (my favorite).

Face Moisturizers: I love this serum oil, this moisturizer for AM, and this for PM! I also still have this serum that I like.

Face Mist & Toner: I really like this complexion mist, and I use this clarifying toner from Norwich Spa.

Lip Treatment: I love love love this lip conditioner

Eye Cream: I love this rejuvenating eye cream.

Face Masks: I love this charcoal face mask and this camphor mask from Norwich spa.

Shampoo: This is my favorite, and a little goes a long way.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me!


 Enjoy the weekend, loves! Thanks for reading!