With so many sunscreens on the market claiming to be the perfect sunscreen, how do you decide which one is safe and effective? Here are 5 things to look for to help you with the selection process:
Mechanism of Action
Sunscreens either use a physical or a chemical barrier. Physical barriers deflect the Ultra Violet A (UVA) and Ultra Violet B (UVB) rays, whereas, chemical based sunscreens are absorbed into the skin where they filter the harmful rays. The problem with the latter is that the chemicals typically used (Avobenzone or Oxybenzone) mimic your own hormones, thereby disrupting your endocrine system. As an example, Oxybenzone has been linked to altered sperm production¹. Therefore, always look for a mineral based sunscreen.
Natural sunscreens use the physical barrier method, the main ingredient typically being Zinc Oxide. But how clean is the inactive ingredient list? Look for inactives sourced organically where possible, and ensure there are no parabens, no artificial colours or scents.
Full Spectrum Protection
A good sunscreen must provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA, which ages skin faster, and UVB, which can burn the skin. Most will mention this on the package
Since you will perspire outside, water resistant sunscreens will offer more coverage against sweat and water sports. Most natural sunscreens require a reapplication every 2 hours.
Environmental Working Group
Check for your sunscreen’s listing on The Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen guide for 2015: EWG Sunscreen Guide. The lower the rating, the less toxic the sunscreen.
Goji Berry Health Foods carries Belly Button Babies, one of the few Canadian brands that made it to the EWG Sunscreen Guide with a score of 1. You can also find the Badger brand in store, also rated 1; and Green Beaver, although not on EWG list, it is certified organic by Ecocert and made in Canada.
¹Environmental Working Group