Safe, Effective, Non-toxic Sunscreens Protect Against Sunburn & Skin Cancer

avoid sun burn

Sunburn season officially kicked off Memorial Day weekend. Are you prepared? After all, you don’t want to get skin cancer like me, do you?


To be protected, you need to reduce your exposure to two kinds of sun rays:

1) UVA, which causes wrinkling and ageing, and

2) UVB, which can cause basal cell (what I got) and squamos cell carcinoma.

Most people rely on some kind of sunscreen or sun block to keep them safe. But according to the EWG Sunscreen Guide compiled by Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research institute that analyses sunscreens and sun block every year right before summer begins, only about 25% of the 1800 products analyzed deliver great protection from the sun without using dangerous chemicals you probably don’t want to apply to your skin.

I’ve linked to some of the sunscreens that pass muster for safety and effectiveness below. In case you can’t remember brand names, here are the ingredients you should look for when you shop:


* Read the label of any product you’re considering carefully. Choose a sunscreen that contains the active ingredient of zinc oxide (NOTE: EWG also recommends titanium dioxide or 3 percent avobenzone, but Marie Veronique Organics, one of EWG’s highest rated sunscreen manufacturers, makes a convincing case here for sticking with zinc oxide-based products).

• Avoid oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor,  and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or retinol), which may actually increase the risk of skin cancer or other skin problems.

• Use creams or lotions, not sunscreen sprays or powders.

• Use an SPF of at least 30, and apply it at least 20 minutes before you need protection.

• Buy sunscreens that do NOT contain bug spray. Apply bug repellant separately if needed.

EWG says “the major choice in the U.S. is between “chemical” sunscreens, which break down in the heat and sun, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone systems, and “mineral” sunscreens (like zinc), which often contain micronized- or nanoscale particles of those minerals.”

After reviewing the evidence, EWG determined that mineral sunscreens offer the safest choice currently. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. Plus, they protect against UVA, a leading contributor to skin cancer. If you don’t like mineral products, EWG recommends you use a sunscreen containing 3 percent avobenzone and without oxybenzone, but scientists recommend parents avoid using oxybenzone on children due to penetration and toxicity concerns


Among the best sunscreens EWG recommends are the following, which you can find online, in our own Amazon store, or possibly in your local drugstore or supermarket. All of those listed below have an SPF of at least 30.

Marie Veronique Organics  – Moisturizing Face Screen SPF 30

Badger – Lighlty Scented Lavender Sunscreen and Baby Sunscreen with Chamomile and Calendula

Blue Lizard – Australian Sunscreen, Face

Burt’s Bees – Baby Bee Sunscreen Stick

California Baby – Everyday/Year-Round Sunscreen Stick and No Fragrance Sunscreen Stick

Seventh Generation – Baby Sunscreen

(Here is the complete list of EWG’s Sunscreen recommendations)


Even before you buy sunscreen, think about ways you can protect yourself from the sun.Why? Because people who use sunblock alone may be more likely to get skin cancer, since they actually spend more time out in the sun than those who don’t use sunscreen. If at all possible, avoid direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is most intense.

That doesn’t mean you need to stay inside! It’s summer, after all, and a great time to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re at the beach, take shelter under a shady umbrella when you’re not in the water. If you’re out gardening, biking, walking, or picnicking, wear long-sleeved cover-ups and capris to protect your arms and legs. If you’re strolling about, don a hat and sunglasses to protect your face, neck and eyes.


Here’s are some clothes that are cool and sheer but still effectively prevent powerful sun rays from damaging your skin.


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4 Responses to Safe, Effective, Non-toxic Sunscreens Protect Against Sunburn & Skin Cancer

  1. Olivia Haddad June 6, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Thank you for this post, Diane. It is unsettling that some sun screens actually disrupt hormones and may in fact increase the risk of skin cancer! I will definitely use this information to pick out my sun screen during these hot summer months.

  2. efrugalliving99 June 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    Frugal Living is living better using less financial resources.EfrugalLiving teaches you how to create a budget, save money, reduceyour debt, earn extra cash and live simply.

  3. Bookkeepers Caloundra October 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Thank you for the very informative and life saving post. My family is really the outdoorsy type and sometimes we just neglect to take care of our skin. Thank you also for the list of reliable brands of sunscreen to purchase. I hope all goes well with you.

  4. CTCA philadelphia March 20, 2013 at 4:34 am #

    Good one, informative and deep interesting , seriously the negligence is more when there is sunscreen but after reading the article , i got some ideas how i can overcome one such things. thanks for sharing.

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