Natural Sunscreens to Beat the Heat

Anyone who lives in Texas knows of its infamous, scorchingly hot summer days…and most of us have been burned once or twice by its fierce heat. But while your first instinct to battle the summer sun is to reach for your trusty sunscreen, consider the chemicals and synthetics injected into the product. Many sunscreen labels that boast the best protection actually cause unseen damage to your skin– which is why we at the Purple Fig want to showcase options for natural sunscreens that are all organic and 100% harmless!

What’s the Deal with Sunscreen?

According to the Environmental Working Group, 56% of major brand sunscreens contain the ingredient oxybenzone, which is designed to absorb ultraviolet light. This chemical, however, has been shown in several studies to also be absorbed into the skin, potentially causing hormone disruption and skin cell mutation. Retinyl palmitate, a chemical derivative of vitamin A, is another ingredient in sunscreen that has been questioned in terms of skin safety and usefulness in sunscreen formulas. A list of toxic ingredients and their side effects can be found with quick research, and the FDA’s stance on the sunscreen debate is a wobbly one.

Studies have been published that both support and deride the claims made by EWG, and for those of you who are fair-skinned and prone to sunburn, the thought of ditching sunscreen altogether is a tricky one. While health is ultimately a personal choice, we at the Purple Fig believe that providing a 100% natural alternative for any chemical-based product– especially one that comes in contact with your skin -is another step towards the healthiest, purest version of you!

Natural & Organic Sunscreen Recipes

1. Wellness Mama’s organic sunscreen recipe is relatively simple, with an estimated SPF of 15. Ingredients include coconut oil, beeswax, pure (non-nano) zinc oxide, and almond oil.

2. Scratch Mommy divulged her best-selling natural sunscreen recipe, carefully mixing coconut oil, organic essential oils, shea butter, beeswax, and vitamin E for an SPF of 20.

3. For a recipe packed with natural oils and butters (and aloe vera gel!), The Mountain Rose Blog provides a surprisingly simple list of ingredients that both protect and moisturize your skin.

All natural sunscreen recipes are recommended to be used within 6 months, and- just like any chemical sunscreen -must be re-applied every hour for maximum efficacy.

Trusted Sunscreen Brands

Love the idea of going natural, but don’t have the time to cook up the DIY recipe? Check out the EWG’s compiled archive of best pre-made sunscreens on the market here!

Good Old-Fashioned Advice

The tug-of-war between natural and chemical-based sunscreen seems to be a matter of convenience. While chemically engineered sunscreen lasts longer on the skin, is more waterproof, and comes in handy spray bottles, it is also under the scrutiny of the public in regards to its potential health hazards. Natural sunscreen has no toxicity level whatsoever, but must be re-applied diligently to avoid sunburn.

If you decide to keep your chemical-based sunscreen, the FDA recommends that it be your last resort while in the sun. Here are the FDA guidelines for fun in the summer sun:

  • Don’t over-do your time outdoors
  • Dress accordingly, wearing clothes that protect your body (ex: sun hat and long sleeves)
  • Check product labels to detect false claims (don’t purchase anything above SPF 50)

The EWG also recommends:

  • Plan your day around the sun, and do activities in low light hours
  • Find (or make) shade
  • Check the UV index before heading out
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation

The bottom line is this: vitamin D is good for you! Exposure to the life-giving sun is only harmful in excess; so long as you take the necessary precautions, your skin will thank you for years to come!

**On July 11th, 2015 Natural Grocers is hosting the lecture “Protect Your Skin from the Inside Out: Why Sunscreen Is Not Enough” for FREE. 12 pm – 1 pm. 3901 Guadalupe St., (512) 323-5100.**