Test Ribbon

Sharing the full EWG Sunscreen picks list with you! I get asked a lot about sunscreens and specifically what are EWG approved sunscreens.  I thought what better time share about natural sunscreens than at the start of the spring and summer season.  Also, in case you are wondering, the sun care market isn't going anywhere!  

The U.S. sun care market size was estimated at USD 1.95 billion in 2016 (1).

Suzi(Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

For those who don't know what EWG is allow me to introduce you.  The EWG is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 1993. They specialize in research, and advocacy when it comes to toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, corporate accountability, and agricultural subsidies.  It's an organization that exists to help empower people with knowledge to make an informed decision when it comes to the food they're consuming and the products they use in their home and on themselves. I couldn't love what they stand for anymore!  They really are challenging the status quo and helping the consumer to think twice about conventional products and methods.

Every year the EWG sunscreen picks guide comes out where they vet and share safe sunscreen options.  They list them in categories, ranging from beach and sport sunscreens, kid's options, best tinted moisturizers with SPF, and best lip balms with SPF.  This is a great resource to help see what sunscreens are safe and which are not.  The Sunscreen guide for 2021 has yet to be released.

After a 34-year process of reviewing sunscreen safety and efficacy, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet finalized rules on sunscreen ingredient safety and product effectiveness(2).

If you're not familiar with EWG, they have a category on their website called Skin Deep.  It rates products on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. You can enter in a product name and it will calculate if it's safe or not based on certain criteria.  They also list why it might get a higher score.  For example, you can type in a certain brand of sunscreen and get scoring on it, seeing why it might rank higher or lower depending upon ingredients.  This is really helpful in learning more about which ingredients are harmful and which are safe.

I want to explain how the EWG rates their sunscreens and the criteria it goes off of.  I get a lot of questions asking about their specific scoring, so I thought I would break it down for you. They first rate it on a scale of 1-10.  Again, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. It then rates each sunscreen based on 5 categories.  

  • Health Hazards
  • UVB Protection
  • UVA Protection
  • The ratio of UVA absorbance to SPF
  • How long lasting the sunscreen is

 

I applaud the EWG for all the work it's done in creating a system of checks and balances that the consumer can use.  I do think the EWG is a reliable source for vetting products.  It helps to inform and educate consumers on what ingredients are and common ones to avoid.  It's obviously not a fail proof system, but overall I think it's a great place to start when you are searching for the safety of a particular product.  

I'm going to share some EWG sunscreens picks that have been approved by them and what some of the healthiest sunscreens are in 2021.  I'll also be sharing the best kid's water sunscreens, and what the sunscreens rate on the EWG.  Plus, sharing my top 5 sunscreens that are safe and effective and even some that are budget friendly!  But before I spill all the details on my favorites I need to share what the benefits of clean sunscreens are.

Sunscreen Tip: Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin that clothing will not cover. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body (3).

Can’t you just feel it in the air…spring and summer are so close!  With summer comes lots of time spent outside, which equals lots of sun exposure.  I love the sun, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the importance of what a good sunscreen can do.  Not only for blocking harmful rays, but also for anti-aging benefits.  Since a lot of people don’t know the difference between chemical sunscreens and natural ones, I’m going to break it down.  Check yourself into sunscreen school…

In order to share the benefits of clean sunscreen, we first have to dive into the harmful affects of chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens contain these big long words.  They can have one or a combination of these six ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.  Instead of blocking the suns rays, like natural sunscreens do, they absorb the rays, and turn them into heat, which are then transferred from skin to the air.  These chemicals are known hormone disruptors (4).  The scary fact about these chemicals is the high absorption rate, compared to other ingredients(5).  Hormone disruptors with high absorption rates is not something you want coupled together.  Chemical sunscreens can also produce free radicals, which cause skin damage, irritation and aging.  Can you say NO THANK YOU!  Plus, they damage the sea and all it's creatures and plants(6).

Coral bleaching (i.e., the release of coral symbiotic zooxanthellae) has negative impacts on biodiversity and functioning of reef ecosystems and their production of goods and services (8).

So what’s the alternative??  Clean sunscreens!  These sunscreens are also known as physical or mineral sunscreens.  These sunscreens either use titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or a combination of both.  They are natural minerals that are ground up.  The main benefits of clean sunscreens are the minerals reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorb them, and they offer broad spectrum protection.  Not only that, but they start working the moment you apply them to your skin, unlike chemical sunscreens where you have to wait 20 minutes.  Who wants to wait anyways?!  Plus, these aren’t going to irritate your skin compared to chemical sunscreens and they won't hurt the ocean or reef like chemical sunscreens.

Now that you know all the details on what makes clean sunscreen better compared to chemical sunscreen, let's dive into my top picks for healthiest sunscreen options that are also EWG sunscreen picks as well!

Here are a couple terms to look for when searching for natural mineral sunscreens and what they mean:

  • UVB/UVA- There are many rays present in sunlight but the most harmful are UV rays- ultraviolet rays. The two rays that reach the earth's surface are, UVB and UVA.  UVB rays are the rays that cause sunburn and can cause skin cancer. UVA rays also can contribute to skin cancer and penetrate the skin even further causing skin aging.  There are many more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB.  It's important to block both UVB and UVA rays.  Chemical sunscreen typically only block UVB, while mineral sunscreen blocks UVB and UVA.  When a sunscreen blocks both UVB and UVA it is called broad spectrum.
  • Broad Spectrum- This indicates that a sunscreen blocks both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide- These are what you want to look for when searching for a natural mineral based sunscreen, versus a chemical sunscreen.  These both are naturally occurring minerals.  When they are used in sunscreen, they block the sun's rays from being absorbed into your skin. The UV rays bounce off of your skin when you have either mineral applied.
  • Water Resistant- When you see the words water resistant on a label it means that the sunscreen is effective for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes depending on what the label states.  That means you will need to reapply the sunscreen after the 40 or 80 minutes to make sure it is still effective.  Look for this label if you're going to be in the water or excessively sweating(9).
  • SPF- It is recommended to use an SPF of 30 at minimum.  SPF 15 blocks 93% of rays studies show, while SPF 30 blocks 97% of rays.  You can go up in SPF after 30 however and reach the maximum benefit of sun blocking.  Studies have shown the higher SPF you use the greater overall skin protection you will have (6).
  • Rubs in Clear- If you don't see “rubs in clear” on a label of mineral sunscreen, be mindful that the product will be a white hue on your skin.  However, if you do want it to rub in clear, make sure and get a sunscreen that says rubs in clear. 
  • Non-nano- This term has been popping up all over on sunscreen labels.  When a product is nano-sized it means that they have formulated it so small that it can easily be rubbed into the skin and not be seen.  Since the issue often with mineral sunscreens is the white hue it casts on the skin more companies have been creating nano-sized particles so it absorbs clear.  Some concern has risen that nano-sized particles can seep past the skin and into the bloodstream.  Although research has not confirmed it.  The biggest concern is the harm they're causing to marine life(10).

 

My EWG Sunscreen Picks:

 

Beautycounter

Formula- You can either get the sunscreen in a spray form or in a tube.  I prefer the tube overall.  The spray sunscreen I've noticed didn't offer as great of coverage- especially when in direct sunlight or at the pool.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 30 using non-nano zinc to block the sun's rays.  

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it does rub in clear. You have to rub it in pretty good to get a completely clear application.

Longevity- It lasted for a good hour when in the water.  I felt like I needed to reapply after that or I would get burned. The formula feels a lot lighter than some mineral sunscreens.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes, 40 minutes.

EWG Score- 2- for the lotion and a 3 for the spray. Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  This mineral based sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide and antioxidant-rich California Poppy.  California Poppy is antioxidant rich and great at helping the skin against oxidation that leads to fine lines and wrinkles.  What's cool about this formula is that it shields you from not only UVA and UVB but also Blue Light rays- something that most sunscreens don't.  We are learning so much about Blue Light rays and I'm so excited to see Beautycounter pioneering the movement to block them.  The propellant is also powered by air so no harmful chemicals are being released as you spray too.  They offer this in a travel size too!  Oh and if you're not into sprays no worries, they also have a lotion an stick form.  Check them out here!

All Good-

Formula- This sunscreen comes in a spray form, stick, lotion, lip balm- you name it they carry it!  They also have kid's specific formulas and tinted versions too.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 30 using non-nano zinc oxide in their lotions, and sprays, but in their stick and tin formulations you can get up to SPF 50.

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it does rub in clear, and doesn't feel chalky.  Really hydrates the skin well. 

Longevity- The longevity on this sunscreen is my fave!  I can go a full 80 minutes in the water and not have to reapply.  

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes- 80 minutes!

EWG Score- 2- for the lotion and a 6 for the spray.  Check it out here. The 6 may sound alarming however, the only 6 in the formula is the zinc oxide and the reason for that is because EWG has assessed the spray has being harmful to the lungs and breathing it in.  This is obviously subjective.  Having used the spray you can easily spray it on and not breathe it right in.  It's all in how you do it.  Another reason to look at labels ourselves instead of just going off of a computer system.  

Overall Experience- I've been using All Good sunscreens for several years and it's definitely my favorite non-toxic sunscreen!  Everything about it, from ease of application, to great sun protection- it checks all the boxes and then some.  Plus, the ingredients are clean!  Often it's easy to hit two of the boxes but not all of them.  Not with All Good sunscreen!  Not only is it organic, but non-gmo, gluten free, vegan and coral reef friendly.  It uses the mineral zinc oxide that's non-nano to block the suns rays.  It's also water and sweat resistant up to 80 min. too.  But the real kicker- it comes in a clean spray! Yes, you heard me right.  There is a spray sunscreen that is clean.  Instead of using toxic chemicals for the propellant like most spray sunscreens they use a combination of jojoba and nitrogen(something that is already in the atmosphere).  The ease of use with a spray can't be beat- it's amazing!  The sprays come in a kid's version that has an spf of 30 and adult version with spf 30.  I've used them both and can say they work so well.  If you've been searching for a clean, effective sunscreen- this is it.  It takes the cake in every area!  Check out All Good sunscreen here!

Raw Elements-

Formula- This sunscreen comes in a tin form, lotion, stick, lip balm, tinted sunscreen and facial sunscreen. The overall formula is very thick and heavier when it comes to their tins and lotion formulas.  Their daily moisturizer sunscreen definitely rubs in more clear and doesn't feel as heavy.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 30 using non-nano zinc oxide in all their lotions.

Rubs in Clear- No, it doesn't.  I definitely have a white hue when I use it.

Longevity- The longevity is awesome.  It really does stay on so well!  I can go 80 minutes in water and not have to reapply.  It also doesn't sting eyes.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes- 80 minutes!

EWG Score- 1- all of their products are squeaky clean! Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  They're the cleanest sunscreen I've found to date.  Made with only a handful of ingredients, all of which I can pronounce easily.  It's also organic, non-gmo, Leaping Bunny Certified and Natural Products Association Certified.  They are safe for all ages, water resistant and never run or sting the eyes.  They're also reef safe- I mean does it get any better when it comes to sunscreens? The biggest thing that stands out about Raw Elements is how eco-friendly they are.  From their packaging to being conscious of how they're affecting marine life.  Especially great for babies and kids, as the ingredients are so simple and it really does protect so well. Had to include Raw Elements in my EWG Sunscreen picks.  Get them here!

Suntegrity

Formula- I love this formula!  It feels hydrating, yet not greasy.  It absorbs so well. The specific one I love is their unscented sunscreen.  It works great for babies and kids too- so you only have to bring one sunscreen.  It comes in a tube as I mentioned, they do offer tinted facial sunscreens as well that are so great.  I wear their tinted facial sunscreen a lot in the summer. Check them out here.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 30 using non-nano zinc oxide in all their lotions.

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it is clear!  Rubs in well. 

Longevity- This lasts me about 40 minutes in water but 80 minutes if I'm just sitting out in the sun.  It's not as thick as other sunscreens, so you need to re-apply more often.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- No, it does not say it is on their tube, however for me it's water resistant for 40 minutes.  

EWG Score- 1 or 2- Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  I love this formula.  It really doesn't feel like you're wearing a heavy sunscreen like a lot of formulas which I love.  It's also nice that it works for babies and kids too.  The unscented formula works well for sensitive skin types too.  I think this is a great everyday sunscreen option but maybe not the one I grab when I'm going to be in heavy water all day.  Check out all their options here!

Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen

Formula- This is a smooth formula that blends in easy.  It comes in a tube.  

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 50 using non-nano zinc oxide in all their lotions.

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it is clear!  Rubs in well. 

Longevity- The longevity on this is amazing.  It lasts for 80 minutes.  I don't feel like I need to reapply that often.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes, up to 80 minutes.

EWG Score-  2- Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  This is just a really great overall sunscreen that offers some of the highest SPF protection available.  It was also the first sunscreen to see the Whole Foods Premium Requirements.  It's clean and effective and can work for the whole family. I also love that it's very accessible!  You can find it at Target, Walmart, CVS and other drugstores.  Definitely a great sunscreen for those long days at the beach!  Check it out here. 

Badger Clear Sport Sunscreen SPF 40 Unscented

Formula- This is a heavier formula.  It comes in a tube.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 40 using non-nano zinc oxide in all their lotions.

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it is clear!  Rubs in well. 

Longevity- The longevity on this is amazing.  It lasts for 80 minutes.  I don't feel like I need to reapply that often.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes, up to 80 minutes.

EWG Score-  1- Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  I love that this is unscented and with only 4 simple ingredients.  It's great for the whole family.  It's also easy to find.  You can find the Badger brand at Walmart, Target, and Walgreens.  Great for the beach as it has a high water resistant time of 80.  I found that I could lather this on and not burn for several hours.  A great EWG sunscreen pick. Check it out here!

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen 

Formula- This is a great smooth formula, hydrating but doesn't feel greasy. Comes in a tube.

SPF/Mineral- They use an SPF of 30 in this formula. They use non-nano zinc oxide in all their lotions.

Rubs in Clear- Yes, it is clear!  Rubs in well. 

Longevity- The longevity on this is great!  I have used this on my kids and it really lasts so well, even in direct sun.

UVB/UVA- Yes, it offers both UVB and UVA.

Water Resistant- Yes, up to 80 minutes.

EWG Score- 2- Check it out here.

Overall Experience-  I found this sunscreen before at Target!  I was so excited to find a budget friendly option when it came to mineral sunscreen that I didn't have to order online.  You can also find Babo Botanicals at Walmart!  You can get this for $10 and it hits all the marks of a great EWG Sunscreen.  I love how it's unscented too, making it great for delicate baby skin and even sensitive adult skin.  Get it here! 

I hoped that helped you when choosing a safe EWG sunscreen picks for yourself and your family!  Do you have a favorite mineral sunscreen that you use?

Be sure to check out my favorite mineral based facial sunscreens and tinted moisturizers video here!  

 

If you liked this post on the best natural mineral sunscreens, check out past posts below:

 

Sharing my favorite EWG approved sunscreens on the blog.

 

Sources:

  1. 2018, Grand View Research. U.S. Sun Care Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report. 1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/us-sun-care-market
  2. 2020, EWG. Sunscreen: How it works and what it means. 1. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/faqs-your-sunscreen-questions-our-answers/
  3. American Academy Of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs. 1. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/sunscreen-patients/sunscreenfaqs#:~:text=Apply%20enough%20sunscreen%20to%20cover%20all%20skin%20that,your%20ears%20and%20the%20top%20of%20your%20head.
  4. 2018 Feb 17, J Cosmet Dermatol. Pubmed.gov. Dermatological and environmental toxicological impact of the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone/benzophenone-3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29086472/
  5. 2020, Jan 21, Murali K. Matta, PhD, JAMAEffect of Sunscreen Application on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active IngredientsA Randomized Clinical Trial. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2759002?guestAccessKey=81a4a1e1-66d2-4f85-8d80-8d4d1aa1c56e&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=012120
  6. 2020 June 11, Capritto Amanda. CNet.com. Mineral Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen: Which is safer? https://www.cnet.com/health/mineral-vs-chemical-sunscreens-safety/
  7. 2008 Jan 3, R. Danovaro, Department of Marine Sciences, Faculty of Science, Polytechnic University of the Marche. Environmental Health Perspectives. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018/
  8. 2008 Jan 3, Department of Marine Sciences 2 Institute of Biochemistry and 3 Department of Chemical Sciences and Technologies, Faculty of Science, Polytechnic University of the Marche, Ancona, Italy. Sunscreens Cause Coral Bleaching by Promoting Viral Infections. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018
  9. 2011, June 9, Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. Best sunscreen: Understand sunscreen options. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/best-sunscreen/art-20045110
  10. 2019, Nov, Khan Ibrahim, Science Direct. Nanoparticles: Properties, applications, and toxicities https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535217300990

 

 

 

 

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Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

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