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Posts Tagged ‘best sunscreen’

 

It may be that you already traveled to some sunny, exotic locale during the winter holidays, or for “spring break” if you have kids. So yes, I should probably post my sunscreen picks a bit earlier in the year. But as they say, better late than never!

As I wrote up the post on our April trip to Tulum, Mexico I realized I hadn’t shared my sun protection product recommendations. I’m a big fan of applying suncreen every single day of the year–rain or shine, at least to the face. When you consider that the backs of the hands and decolletage are the first places to show signs of aging, those of us in age denial would be wise to cover those areas with sunblock as well.

I recently tried a mineral powder based product with an SPF 30+. I figured that at my age, it probably looks more youthful to cover any sun damage and have the skin looking flawless and age/sun spot-free. However, I thought the heavy layer of powder, despite being natural, made me feel too made up, which in turn made me feel older. So I switched back to my tinted sunscreens. They’re light, moisturizing and the sheerness makes me feel like I’m not trying to cover up anything (although if I could find a natural way to get rid of my age spots, I’d do it in a heartbeat).

I think Andalou Naturals and Juice Beauty make the best, reasonably-priced, all-natural tinted sunscreens available. Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Color + Correct and Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream continue to be my top picks for everyday sunscreen for my face. They’re both SPF 30+ zinc based–for the broadest spectrum of sun protection available, non nano particle, free of all the nasties (parabens, glycols, butenes, chemical sunblocks, etc.), and they both smell nice–something I’m very partial to seeing as I’m very scent-sensitive. Andalou offers a better price point, but Juice Beauty has a wider range of colors to choose from.

For my kids’ faces and for all of our bodies, I continue to love Burnout Sunscreen. It, too, is zinc-based, non-nano and moisturizing. Burnout offers several different formulations, but I usually get the Kids Physical SPF 35 or the Ocean Tested SPF 30. Burnout products are “reef safe” which is becoming a bigger deal in many parts of the world that still have viable coral reefs and/or reef fish populations. The faint white sheen it has when you first apply it sinks in about 10-20 minutes after application, which is perfect timing given that experts recommend applying mineral sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Another bonus: It doesn’t make you break out! There are no pore-clogging or other irritating ingredients, but if you’re prone to breakouts, always apply your sunscreen (or anything going on your fact) using clean hands. (But Burnout offers a Lightweight Oil-Free version if you’re extra sensitive.)

Of course, the best sun protection is no sun, or a long-sleeve shirt and broad-brimmed hat. (I love this inexpensive one featured above by Hinge at Nordstrom.) I don’t have a photo to share of her, but my 77-year-old aunt who grew up in Hawaii–but has always covered up, has an incredibly smooth, cream colored complexion. It’s too late to reverse some of the sun-worshipping naughtiness of my youth, but at least I make a point of putting on sunscreen everyday–rain or shine.

Happy summer and safe sunning!

 

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summer1

 

I suspect that no matter where you live, you can already sense summer’s approach. For those living in more northern climes, it may have been an unusually warm day, or lighter, skimpier clothing displayed in department store windows. Here in northern California, we’ve had some bizarrely warm days–warm enough for shorts.

I relish preparations for summer. OK, I admit, I use the change of season as an excuse to buy a few new pieces for the wardrobe–you know, something to make me anticipate sand between my toes, the clear cool of a lake, or an travel adventure in a foreign land. I also like to fully prepare my arsenal for protecting my skin against stronger sun rays, and longer times spent in the sun. But in all honesty, these products are ones I use year-round… I just like to stock up before summer.

 

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This year’s sun protection favorites include:

Burnout Sunscreen, $17.99 for 3oz – This continues to remain my favorite.* Reasonably priced, and all natural, this non-nano-particle zinc oxide-based cream goes on easily, doesn’t give you the white “Casper” look, provides true SPF 30 protection and doesn’t sting the eyes.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream, $39 for 1.7oz – I still find this all-natural, tinted “BB” cream superior to any other natural BB creams available. The moisturizing formula goes on beautifully, provides SPF 30 using a non-nano zinc base, and comes in several natural shades. I use it every day–religiously. When I want a little extra coverage, I simply brush a bit of mineral-based powder over my face after I’ve applied the CC Cream.

BrushOnBlock, $32 for .12oz – I really like this mineral-based SPF 30 powder for touching up during the day and for when I want extra coverage over my tinted face cream/block. It’s the perfect size for carrying in a tote bag or even a small clutch. It controls oily afternoon shine–if you’re prone to that, and makes reapplying sunscreen easy.

La Natura Botanicals Green Tea Hand Cream, $16 for 3oz- I only recently discovered this product, but I became an instant fan. The formulation feels rich, but absorbs quickly thanks to a little rice and cornstarch in the ingredients. It also has a nice, light herbal scent, which I’m always on the lookout for since I’m so scent-sensitive. As I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten increasingly drier–a trend that’s amplified on my hands, and made worse by all the dishwashing and gardening I do.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm, $6.99 for .15oz – I think I own every color this product comes in! The six subtly-colored shades provide long-lasting moisture, and the easy to use, “Chapstick”-style tube make this product a go-to for purse, beach bag, etc.

Most importantly, remember the basics:

  1. Apply sunscreen every day–rain or shine, and reapply often if you’re going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time or you’re swimming.
  2. Avoid chemical formulations, and look for mineral, zinc oxide formulations with an SPF of 30.
  3. The sun’s rays are typically at their strongest between the hours of 10am and 3pm.
  4. Make use of hats, cover-ups and rash guards. All three are available in so many great styles, and many can provide sun protection superior to any cream or lotion (and without the hassle of reapplying).

Summer here we come!

 

*I used the Honest Company’s sunscreen last year, but while I liked the non-whitening, super-moisturizing formulation, I agreed with a lot of the media that it didn’t provide the SPF 30 it claimed to. I don’t know if they reformulated the product, but once I hear they have, I will give it another try.

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legs2

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago my constant battle with “spots,” otherwise known as melasma, liver spot, sun spots, hyperpigmentation. I may have become  a sunscreen convert in my 20s with regards to my face, but I have always allowed the rest of my body to soak in the sun with little to no precaution taken.

Well those spots haven’t just taken up residency on my face. The decades of sun exposure now tell their tales across my legs, arms and hands. And while my chest isn’t freckly or spotty like you see with many fair-haired women, I can see the damage wrought by the sun when I shrug my shoulders and a dozen lines appear across my chest –proof that the skin has lost its elasticity.

Now I recall the years I laid in the sun, slathered not with Johnson’s Baby Oil, but with some equally insufficient oil or lotion, with an SPF of 4 and the luscious smell of coconuts. In fact, recently, while looking through old photos, my husband asked, “Who’s this girl on the beach with your cousins?” “It’s me!” I promptly replied. “What? It can’t be… She looks Black,” was my husband’s response. When I recalled that the production of melanin is your body’s natural response to injury, I could only respond with a heavy sigh.

It’s not just vanity that is causing my spot obsession… I want to set a good example for my children who are still young enough to influence, and who are exposed daily to the intensity of our Californian sun. I hope to instill in them great respect for the power of the sun (think solar as well as radiation), and get them to think of applying sunscreen the same way they view brushing their teeth or getting dressed.

2015 sunscreen

 

I’m only recommending one sunscreen this year, although I still like Burn Out (Ocean Safe and Sensitive formulas), and Kinesys Earth Kind Sunscreen Ointment if you’re going to be in the water for an extended period of time, due to its water-proof quality. However, Honest Co.’s Honest Sunscreen Lotion is my all-around favorite this year. It’s formulation (which, like all my recommendations relies on non-nano zinc oxide) is more elegant than Burn Out which means it goes on easier and is absorbed into the skin better. It’s also much more moisturizing–so much so that it feels like you’re just using a regular face or body lotion. (While not an issue for my family, I know others have found the Burn Out to be somewhat drying.) And I love the price–just $13.95 for a 3 oz tube or if you have access to a Costco, $19.95 for two 2 oz tubes.

A final comment about sun safety… While many people now understand the damaging effects of the sun’s rays, and use sunscreen daily as a result, most of us don’t take the next essential step: reapplication. People often think you only need to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been swimming or sweating, because both can wash off the sunscreen. However, most sunscreens also begin losing their effectiveness after just a few hours. To stay adequately protected throughout the day, reapply sunscreen every 3-4 hours.

Safe sunning!

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OK, for starters let’s admit I’m someone obsessed with sun protection. Perhaps it’s a genetic or cultural thing—after all, I am part Japanese (picture umbrellas on sunny days)—or maybe it’s just vanity. I tanned incredibly easily and frequently as a teenager and would get so dark I am unrecognizable in old pictures. Now due to a fear of cancer and premature aging, I lube up the kids before they step foot outside, and for more than a decade I’ve worn SPF 30 on my face every day, rain or sun.

But as you know, finding a safe and effective sunscreen can be a daunting task. Last year, after an extensive review of more than 1,700 sunscreens, the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) determined that 85 percent of sunscreens on the market either inadequately protect against damaging ultraviolet rays and/or contain ingredients that are known or suspected to be toxic.

Below are my top picks for natural sunscreen products for kids based on personal experience as well as the detailed reviews of the EWG.

1. Badger Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($14 for 2.9 oz tube)
This non-nano* zinc oxide cream is my top pick because EWG gives it a very high rating, the price is good and it really protects. The consistency is thick and it does have a high “casper” factor (white cast), but most of it absorbs in, and quite frankly, I’m not concerned about the beauty factor with my kids.
2. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30 ($32)
This nano-zinc oxide product protects well, leaves no white cast—because it has nano particles*–and comes in an easy to use “stick” form (similar to a deodorant stick). However, it’s a tad pricey.
3. Soleo Organics Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($17 for 2.6 oz)
I really liked this non-nano zinc oxide product. It has no casper effect and moisturizes well. That said, the company is relatively new and may have some quality control issues because the user reviews on Amazon are terrible (although it ranks high with the EWG). Another drawback, it seems as though the tube doesn’t last more than a few weeks during peak summer usage.
4. UV Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($34 for 5.3 oz)
I haven’t used this nano-zinc oxide product for a year, but I thought it protected well and again, there is no casper effect because it uses nano technology. It was a tad greasy, but also moisturized well so I didn’t mind.

(Please note: All prices are approximate and may vary slightly by retailer.)

Several people encouraged me to include California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance SPF 30+. I know many parents who love this product. However, I haven’t used it on my children for several years because it relies on titanium dioxide, which according to the EWG doesn’t provide full protection from UVA rays.

There are three more products I have yet to try, but I will do a follow-up to this article as soon as I do. All three are in the EWG’s top 10 from their 2009 study. They include:

  • Heiko 40 SPF Kids ($36 for 6.7 oz)
  • Loving Naturals SPF 30+ ($19.95 for 4 oz)
  • Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 30+ ($16.90 for 4 oz)

If you have tried one of these three products, I would love to share your feedback with others.

Now go out and soak up the sun!

*Nano technology is controversial, and from what I understand, the jury is still out on whether we should fear them. Stay tuned for a separate article capturing the latest information and opinions. For now, I’m paranoid enough that I use only non-nano formulations on myself and my children.

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