Your Guide to Safe, Cruelty-Free Sunscreen
Even though it's still cold here in New York City, in about 2-3 weeks, it will warm up and we are all going to be wishing we had sunscreen. Grab some now so you are ready for when the sun is out and temps warm up. Definitely put some on if you walk or run outside alot or just spend alot of time outdoors. Sunburn can occur when you least expect it and once your skin burns, you can't reverse the effects. There are plenty of safe, effective and cruelty-free sunscreens out there; you just need to know where to look, what to get and you may need to spend a little more money than you want.
For sunscreen, I look for safe yet effective ingredients as well as cruelty-free, vegan and not tested on animals. I had skin cancer 6 years ago, a tiny freckle on my leg that ended up being melanoma so not only do you need to apply sunscreen everyday but you also need to see a dermatologist! If you are worried about your skin or have never seen a dermatologist, make an appointment today.
The Environmental Working Group website is a non-profit website that gives ratings to personal care products and also puts out the dirty dozen/clean 15 produce lists. They work to give us unbiased information about the foods and ingredients we put in and on our bodies. I'm so happy they exist! I cross checked the EWG list to the PETA list of cruelty-free sunscreens and I picked out a few brands that are super safe and vegan.
Here are the brands that are vegan and have a low toxicity rating on EWG. Their prices vary from expensive to more affordable:
Kiss My Face SPF 30
MyChelle Dermaceuticals SPF 28 Unscented
Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen
All rated a 1 on the safety scale. The scale is 1-10, with 1 being safe and low toxicity and 10 being why bother selling it.
As with food, just because something is vegan, doesn't mean it's safe. There are a few more brands on the PETA list but I listed the ones that got the lowest toxicity rating on EWG. My advice would be to browse Amazon for these brands and cross check prices at your local health stores or other websites that sell decently priced sunscreens. I don't mind paying a little more for sunscreen that is effective and cruelty-free but also check how much you are getting for the price. Homemade Betty's sunscreen was less expensive for more product than Suntegrity so I went with HB.
Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; they create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Chemical sunscreens are what you want to avoid. Don't buy sunscreens with oxybenzone or any other chemical name. Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor. Avoid vitamin A ingredients such as retinyl palmitate or retinol. Vitamin A may cause tumors or lesions to appear on the skin. Sunscreens should contain zinc or titanium oxides and other oils or natural fragrances. There is more info here about staying safe in the sun.
Practicing sun safety doesn't have to be a drag, if you are prepared and know what you're buying, it's just a matter of making the purchase. When you know you will be out in the sun for 10 minutes or more, just put some sunscreen on. Make it a habit and it will become second nature. It doesn't have to be super sunny or hot for you to get sunburned either. Bring sunscreen with you or stay in the shade if you can't reapply. I hope this post makes it easier for you to find a sunscreen that you like!