Whether you’re sitting in the sweltering summer sun at the beach or getting refracted rays off snowy slopes—you still have to watch out for UV rays! No matter how you’re playing in the sunshine, one thing is vital: protecting your skin. Having a natural sunscreen you can count on means more fun outdoors without worrying about sunburn, premature aging, putting synthetic ingredients on your skin, or letting those ingredients potentially pollute the water.
How does sunscreen work?
In the most basic terms, sunscreen protects your skin by blocking UV (ultraviolet) rays. Watch this video for a complete breakdown and check out our simplified explanation below.
Many synthetic sunscreens contain avobenzone, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, PABA and 1, 4-dioxane, UV chemical absorbers, artificial colors, and synthetic fragrances. These work by chemically absorbing UV light, but they may also find their way into your system via your skin.
The FDA recently ran an exploratory maximal usage trial measuring just how much of topical sunscreen products our bodies absorb when following correct usage instructions. Words like avobenzone, oxybenzone, ecamsule, and octocrylene are probably pretty unfamiliar to most people; and reading them on a sunscreen label does little to explain what they actually do.
Ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide create a barrier to block UV rays rather than absorbing them. However, in attempts to make these more appealing to the consumer, many so-called “natural sunscreens” end up using nanoparticle-sized zinc oxide in their formulas, which means they contain particles so small that they can enter your bloodstream.