Sunbathing on the beach and enjoying the sun’s rays – it’s hard to resist the warm weather once summer rolls around. But the truth is, over-exposure to the sun can result in serious skin damage, so it’s vitally important to make sure you’re protecting your skin with SPF!
Sun damage and why you should protect your skin
The sun emits UV rays known as UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays have shorter wavelengths penetrating the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) whereas UVA rays have a longer wavelength and reach deeper into the skin. Overexposure to these UV rays can cause sunburn, premature ageing, wrinkles, and in extreme cases – skin cancer.
When the skin is over-exposed to the sun’s rays, it responds by producing more melanin in order to protect itself. This is what makes you tan, which is really just your skin protecting itself from the sun’s radiation. If too much time is spent in the sun, photoaging can occur as the UV rays damage the collagen fibres in your skin leading to wrinkles, sunspots and a loss in skin elasticity.
Although it’s vital to protect your skin from sun damage, it’s also important to ensure your body is producing enough Vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth and muscles! Our main source of vitamin D is from direct sunlight. The NHS website advises that “being out in the sun daily for short periods without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11am to 3pm” is enough for our bodies to produce adequate Vitamin D. During Winter months it is advised to use certain foods and supplements in order to get enough Vitamin D.
How to pick a sunscreen
There are many factors that go into picking a good sunscreen. With the abundance of SPF products on the market, it can be difficult to discern which products and ingredients are best for protecting your skin.
As Lizzie Loves mentions in her post, thankfully it is “simpler than it looks”! Sunscreens typically have two ways in which they may work, through chemical filtering or physical (mineral) filtering.
Sunscreens with chemical filters work like a sponge by absorbing the UV rays produced by the sun and converting them into heat, which is why many people may experience irritation and itching with these creams. Mineral filter systems work as a physical block and reflect the UV rays away using minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide. As Lizzie Loves mentions, some sunscreens use a combination of these ingredients, which oftentimes can be harmful to your skin.
Chemical vs Mineral
Due to the absorption method used in chemical sunscreens, your skin absorbs many chemicals which may be harmful to your body. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, protect your skin from the sun without the absorption of unwanted, harmful chemicals. Because of this, mineral sunscreen is considered much safer and much gentler for the skin.
Not only this but oxybenzone – one of the most common ingredients in chemical sunscreens – contributes to coral reef bleaching and harms marine life when washed into the ocean!
So which ingredients should you choose?
Zinc oxide is the better of the two mineral sunscreen ingredients mentioned, as it is a broad-spectrum sun blocker. A key tip to remember is to look for sunscreens that have a “broad spectrum” as this means that it’ll protect you from both UVA and UVB rays!
Nano vs non-nano particles
Zinc oxide can be broken down into nanoparticles, which allows the sunscreen to remain clear and prevents the unwanted white cast. However, nanoparticles are much small than non-nano particles. Due to this, although it remains a grey area, there is a concern that nanoparticles may be small enough to be absorbed into the skin and therefore cause damage. This poses another potential threat to your body, so probably isn’t worth the risk! Therefore, sunscreens with non-nano particles are recommended as the safest way to protect against skin damage.
So, which SPF products are best?
We understand the importance of protecting your skin from both sun damage and harmful chemicals. So, we’ve compiled the best, NATURAL sunscreens that are sure to keep you and your loved ones safe from the sun.
Who should wear sun protection?
Every single one of us! No one should be without it. It doesn't matter what your skin tone by birth, and it doesn't matter how old you are. We all need to protect our skin. Just because you cannot see your skin burning, does not mean it's not being damaged. Regardless of race, regardless of age. We all need to shield, nurture and protect our skin, no matter what.
For extra sensitive skin
Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and antioxidizing. Babo Botanical’s Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen has an SPF of 40 while using non-nano zinc oxide and Babo's Organic Nutri-Soothe™ Complex to protect your skin. Environmentally friendly and cast-free.
For skin protection with a natural glow
A rich moisturiser, an effective natural sunblock and light makeup all in one. Josh Rosebrook’s Tinted Nutrient Day Cream is perfect for those who want protection from the sun with a little bit of coverage and glow. The cream reps an SPF of 30 and contains anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and non-nano zinc oxide to provide your skin with the best care.
For oily skin
All-natural and lightweight, The Body Deli’s Solar Defence Day Cream is perfect for people with oily skin who want to skip the heavy and gunky feel of traditional sunscreens, but still protect their skin. With an SPF of 15 and clinical active antioxidants, this cream protects your skin while simultaneously improving its health and vitality.
For the whole family
Babo Botanicals’ Unscented Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion is perfect for children, babies and adults! Unscented, hypoallergenic and containing non-nano zinc oxide, this lightweight and sheer cream with an SPF of 30 is perfect for sensitive skin.
For extra protection and ocean lovers
Salt & Stone’s SPF 50 Sun Lotion is perfect for those who want the most protection, with the safest ingredients. This hydrating and nourishing mineral sunscreen contains non-nano zinc oxide and hyaluronic acid to provide your skin with ultimate protection and nourishment. Water-resistant for 80 minutes, this lotion is perfect for surfers or anyone who spends hours at the seaside.
Lips are often neglected in the skin-care world, but when it comes to sun protection we can’t afford to forget about them! The Body Deli Sun Stick hydrates, nourishes and protects the lips using organic nourishing moisturisers and an SPF of 30. 100% natural ingredients and safe for the whole family.
It’s important to take care of your skin after it’s been exposed to the sun. Babo Botanicals’ After Sun Soothing Gel contains Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Witch hazel and Eucalyptus Oil to do just that! Hydrating and non-sticky; use this to leave skin feeling nourished and rejuvenated after a hot day in the sun.