YGL Natural Sunscreens Guide

Post image for YGL Natural Sunscreens Guide

by Yoli Ouiya on June 27, 2013

“If I had to offer one “cure all” tip for skin care that spans across every age, it would be “WEAR SUNSCREEN”,” says Eden Di Bianco, Natural Skincare Expert on Yes, You Need Sunscreen :: 8 Tips for Protecting Your Skin. And I concur, especially if you live in polluted, urban environment. I’ve been working on reviewing natural sunscreens and felt perhaps to avoid any bias, perhaps testing on another person would be ideal.

Then behold as last week my friend Leah posted on my Facebook wall asking for recommendations of natural sunscreens. The universe always provides. With Leah and I, not only were we able to vet sunscreens for everyone, but particularly for people with more melanin then others. The last thing you want to look like is an ashy ghost.

As for sunscreens, opt for those free of parabens and always avoid oxybenzone. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) believes that it is linked to hormone disruption and possibly to cell damage, which can lead to cancer.

Sun Facts and Care

From the Sun Saftey Alliance:

UV, or ultraviolet, rays are the sun’s “invisible” burning rays. They can cause sunburns, and in some cases skin cancer.

There are three types of UV rays:

UVA: Are more constant year-round and penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers; UVA rays are also harmful and contribute to burning, premature aging of the skin, and the development of certain forms of skin cancer.

UVB: Are the primary cause of sun burning, premature aging of the skin and the development of skin cancer.

UVC: Are blocked by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth’s surface.

The more intense the sun, the greater your exposure to UV rays. The amount of UV that will reach you depends on the following:

Time of Day — UV is greatest when the sun is at its highest in the sky (between 10 am and 4 pm) and less in the early morning and late afternoo n.

Season — While UV exposure is the greatest in the summer (May—August) in the United States, it is important to remember that UV rays reach Earth every day and you should be sun safe year-round—including wintertime! Snow can reflect 85% to 90% of the sun’s UV rays!

Altitude — The air is cleaner and thinner at higher altitudes, so UV exposure is greater in the mountains than in the valleys. (For example, you can still get sunburned while skiing in the winter!)

Location — UV is strongest at the equator and gets weaker as you move towards the poles. Going tropical? Be prepared and take your sunscreen with you on family vacations.

Exposure Time — The longer you are out in the sun, the more UV rays you receive. Remember, you are exposed whenever you’re out: picnics, Saturday yard chores, long drives, spectator/sports events, and more!

Sun Protection Factor (SPF)?

SPF only protects you from UVB rays. If you notice that you

Apply a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher whenever you’re outdoors. To achieve adequate UV protection you should use products that provide broad spectrum protection, which means protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

So with out any further delay, here is my guide to some tried and true natural sunscreens.

Sunscreens for Body

sunscreens-bodySupergoop, Lafes, True Natural, Eminence, Coola, Sunology.

coola-bodyCoola Sport Citrus Mimosa SPF 35
Available on Amazon :: 26.25

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen) 5.25%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 3.0%
Reactions: Goes on smooth and absorbs into skin fairly easily. Does not leave a white residue. Sheer and immediate coverage.

Coola’s organic sunscreen provides 80 minutes of SPF 35 water resistant protection using nourishing ingredients like: organic coconut oil, omega 3 and 6 rich organic Hawaiian Kukui, Safflower, Linseed, Arnica Extract (reduced inflammation), and Peppermint oil. With 70% certified organic inactive ingredients and being 98% natural (also paraben free), this natural sunscreen is a great option.

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sunology-bodySunology Lotion SPF 50
Available on Sunology.com :: Currently on Sale $11.99. Also, available at Duane READE!

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5%
Reactions: Really requires you to aggressively rub in because of the high amount of zinc (which usually results in the white residue). For those with darker complexions, this may not be the best option. Otherwise, it is has some good ingredients at a great price.

Sunology’s SPF 50 contains their proprietary blends called VitaOleféra™ containing moringa oil which is rich in Vitamins A, C & E, Antioxidants, and Omega 6 and Omega 9 oils. It is water resistant up to 80 minutes.

The only ingredient to consider when opting for this brand is the Paba which has a fair rating from EWG. The sunscreen does not contain harmful ingredients like Oxybenzone, Avobezone, Octisalate, or Homosalate.

Did you know Zinc Oxide is the only FDA approved ingredient for children under six months of age? Well now you do!

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eminence-bodyÉminence Tropical Vanilla Body SPF 32
Available on Amazon :: $48.00

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 5%, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 6%
Reactions: Excellent absorption and requires more time to rub in. The scent is wonderful. Works for people with darker complexions.

With ingredients like shea butter and vanilla, aloe, vitamin, c and e, Eminence works as a moisturizer that happens to be a sunscreen. We feel in love with the smell and it didn’t require using an alternate moisturizer before applying. With a higher price point then some of the other sunscreens, it is a treat worth having as a little big goes a long way.

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lafes-body
Lafes Natural Body Care Sunscreen SPF 20

Available on Amazon :: $12.03

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 25%
Reactions: Great for people with sensitive skin and for children.
Not recommended for people with dark complexions as it will leave a white residue due to Zinc Oxide being the first and most dominant ingredient at 25%.

With over 80% organic ingredients, this sunscreen is water resistant, fragrance free, provides broad spectrum protection, and has healthy oil ingredients such as olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin e, and shea butter (not an oil but healthy none the less). It contains only 8 ingredients which makes this an optimal choice for those with sensitive skin.

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supergoop-body
supergoop2Supergoop Antioxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 & 50
Available on Supergoop.com SPF 30 & SPF 50 :: $19.00

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%
Reactions: Love at first spray. Easy application. Sheen and Sheer. Goes on like coconut butta.

Supergoop’s mineral suncreen mist is water resistant for 80 minutes and contains 35% less alcohol then conventional spray sunscreens on the market (so less drying). It is paraben, fragrance, and oxybenzone-free. This vitamin c rich formula uses lime, orange, and grapefruit oils to prevent free radicals. Another attractive aspect is in it’s design as the top is a leak-proof travel twist lock.

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true-body
True Natural Broad Spectrum Caribbean Coconut SPF 30
Available on TrueNatural.com :: $19.99

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.0%, Zinc Oxide 6.0%
Reactions: At first application, it leaves a slight white residue but with a few more strokes, absorbs into the skin. Good for all skin colors and types.

This vegan, alcohol and gluten free formula is 100% mineral based and touts ingredients such as shea butter, green tea extract, coconut, eucalyptus, jojoba, and sunflower oils. is 100% mineral based, biodegradable and the perfect everyday option to keep you protected from UVA and UVB rays!

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin-E), Xanthan Gum

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Sunscreens for Face

sunscreen-face

Éminence Bright Skin Moisturizer
Available on Amazon.com :: $50

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen) 5.25%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 3.0%
Reactions: We actually loved this face moisturizing sunscreen. It goes on smooth, absorbs well, and leaves no residue.

We were temporarily alarmed by the claims of “reduction of melanin by 51% over 3 months” but after reaching out to the company to explain further, we were happy with their answer. I’ve reached out to the company for more information on how this claim effects people of color:
“The 51% reduction in melanin refers to excess melanin production. The Bright Skin products are targeted for hyperpigmented skin types where the skin is producing excess melanin that results in dark spots. It will also reduce existing dark spots and prevent future hyperpigmentation leaving the skin brighter and more even with continued use. It will not lighten your overall complexion so it’s suitable for all skin tones…it reduces excess melanin that causes hyperpigmentation. Totally safe for you to use it!”

*Insert my sigh of relief*

The Eminence bright skin moisturizer touts itself as ideal for normal to dry skin, and skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation Normal to dry skin, especially uneven complexion, prone to hyperpigmentation. Key ingredients such as licorice root, natural hydroquinone (a natural brightening agent made with African potato and tara tree for a smooth, radiant complexion), Biocomplex (booster of antioxidants, vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid), and GigaWhite™ (antioxidant; a powerful blend to restore luminosity to the skin) make this such a decadent treat for your skin. It truly is a pleasure using it (at least until we get an update on the melanin reduction claim).

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mineralfusion-face
Mineral Fusion Facial Moisturizer SPF 40
Available on MineralFusion.com :: 24.99
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide – 7.5%, Zinc Oxide – 5.0%
Reactions: Slightly white residue upon initial application but evens out. For people of a darker, richer hue, this would be best used with a bronzer to help even out the tone.

Sea Kelp and Vitamin E pack a power punch of antioxidant protection along with aloe, jojoba oil, shea butter, polive leaf, echinacea, cucumber extract, calendula, and gingko biloba. The combination of those ingredients provide moisture, anti-inflammation, and an overall calming effect on the skin.

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coola-faceCoola Cucumber Matte Finish SPF30
Available on Amazon.com :: $26.49

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen) 3.2%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 1.8%
Reactions: We are in Love. Has an excellent matte finish so perfect to wear with makeup. Almost acts as a matte primer. The tint in neutral and works on all skin tones. While it is slated to be ideal for normal to oily skin, we found it was a pleasure to wear (I personally have more combination skin leaning towards dry).

Rose hip oil, organic evening primrose, and flax seed oils deliver healthy unsaturated fats and anti-oxidant protection that is suitable for any goddess. “Organic Shea Butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector Plankton Extract rejuvenates skin.” It is water resistant up to 40 minutes.

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desertessence-face
Desert Essence Organics Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35
Available on Amazon.com :: $10.98

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (15%)
Reactions: Requires more rubbing in for absorption and would work well for darker skin.

Vitamin E, Organic Pomegranate, Organic Aloe Vera, olive and sunflower ouls, shea butter, and chamomile provides a healthy skin food and rich moisturizing formula for the skin. With broad-spectrum protection, the chamomile acts as an calming agent for the skin.

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This post was written by...

– who has written 337 posts on Yoli's Green Living.

Yoli Ouiya is a Green & Healthy Living Expert, Green Chef, Publisher and Editor in Chief of YolisGreenLiving.com. She is noted as the “Queen of Green” by Black Enterprise Magazine, and currently operates a boutique eco-lifestyle outfit Yoli’s Green Living Group. Black Enterprise included Yoli in its “Top 20 National Bloggers” of 2012, was named ‘Best in Green Living” by AllParenting.com, and listed as “Top 17 Black Woman Bloggers to Watch in 2013″ bu ForHarriet.com. With a certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell, she offers workshops, lectures, and organizes a variety of eco-chic green themed events in New York. She is currently on the board of directors for The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, a health and nutrition specialist for Harlem Children’s Zone, and co-authoring a book slated for completion Spring 2014.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deborah Davis July 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

Perfect timing, Yoli! I was just going to go shopping for a safe, non-toxic, ecofriendly and skin-friendly sunscreen–a daunting process to say the least.
Your timely sunscreen guide is just what I needed to weed through the best options. Thanks a lot.

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