Pregnancy and special skin needs go hand and hand. Whether it be more sensitive skin or having to avoid your normal products due to not being pregnancy safe. I have an entire post dedicated to Pregnancy Safe Skincare, but today I am going to dive into the specifics of what pregnancy safe sunscreen looks like. I am sharing my favorites as well as exactly what you need to avoid for ingredients when pregnant.
*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company. I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly. If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product.
*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.
*Just a reminder I am not a doctor. These are simply recommendations and things that have worked for me during pregnancy. Use at your own risk and please always seek the help of a medical professional.
How To Choose A Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen
To know what type of sunscreen you should be looking for you first need to know that there are two types. There are chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens.
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 sun’s 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. The scary fact about these chemicals is the high absorption rate, compared to other ingredients. Hormone disruptors with high absorption rates are not something you want coupled together – especially in pregnancy! 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 its creatures and plants.
There are studies showing that some of these chemical sunscreen ingredients (octinoxate is one) are being found in the majority of breast milk samples and a potential link between oxybenzone and shorter pregnancy and disrupted birth weights.
While the research isn’t completely conclusive, if there are safer options out there, that’s what I would opt for for myself, whether during pregnancy or not.
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 that the minerals reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing 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 you won’t have to worry about hormone disruptors.
Take away: Always look for a sunscreen that is a mineral sunscreen. You will want to check the active ingredients to know for sure what ingredients are being used. Even if it says it’s a mineral sunscreen, check that it doesn’t also have chemical active ingredient.
Ingredients to Avoid In Sunscreens While Pregnant
Avoiding the below ingredients can also ensure you’re going to be avoiding a host of other harmful chemicals too!
Homosalate- Hormone disruptor. It also increases the skin’s ability to absorb other chemicals even more.
Oxybenzone- Allergen, hormone disruption, cellular damage. Found in chemical sunscreens.
Octocrylene- Quickly absorbs into the skin and trace amounts can be found in the bloodstream. It causes free radical damage, which then attacks the DNA in the cells and causes cellular damage from cellular death to cell mutation.
Avobenzone- Endocrine Disruptor(hormone disruptor). It also absorbs into the skin quickly and has been found in the bloodstream, urine and breast milk.
PEG’s/Propylene Glycol- Has been found to be contaminated with 1, 4 dioxane, which is cancer causing. Can cause acne, skin irritant.
Fragrance- Can cause photo-toxic reactions and can be photo-allergic. Skin irritants, and has been known as a neurotoxin.
Petroleum or Mineral Oil- Reports they are cancer-causing.
Retinyl Palmitate- Reproductive toxin.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)- Carcinogen, liver damage.
Cyclopentasiloxane- It is known to bioaccumulate over time in the body.
Parabens– Pretty common in most skincare products. Hormone disruptor also known as endocrine disruptor. Has been found in breast cancer tumors, may cause male infertility and early puberty.
Aluminum- Neurotoxin and has been found in breast tissue. Anti-Perspirants, makeup, skincare.
UVA vs. UVB Rays: How To Protect From Both
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 blocks UVB, while mineral sunscreen blocks UVB and UVA.
When a sunscreen blocks both UVB and UVA it is called broad spectrum.
Tips to Protect Your Skin Beyond Sunscreen
Sunscreen should be the last line of defense to protect your skin from the sun. So, here are a few tips to minimize damage to your skin by too much sun exposure:
- Plan your outdoor time around the sun. UV rays are strongest in the middle of the day – typically 10am to 4pm. Spend more time outdoors in the morning and the evening hours. You can even play it safe by checking the UV index in your area.
- Cover up. This can include hats, shirts, shorts, pants, swim shirts, etc to protect your skin.
- Utilize shade. Whether it be in the shade of a tree or creating your own shade with an umbrella this will protect your skin from the sun’s rays and keep you cooler.
- Wear sunglasses. This will protect your eyes from those same UV rays that can be so damaging.
16 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreens
Earth Mama Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 40– This lotion is literally made with pregnant mamas in mind! The ingredients are excellent and great for even the most sensitive skin.
Coola Mineral Body Sunscreen SPF 30(fragrance free)– Coola is a brand that is easy to find often at stores and is also great for sensitive skin.
Suntegrity Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen(fragrance free)– This is a fragrance free sunscreen that really feels lightweight and not heavy like many mineral sunscreens.
Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion SPF 18– This sunscreen is great for when you want an everyday facial sunscreen or something lighter.
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30– Beautycounter’s Mineral Sunscreen doesn’t feel heavy and blends in so well.
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-FREE Moisturizer– This is great for anyone who has oilier skin and can tend to get breakouts from sunscreen.
Badger Clear Zinc Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30– This rubs in clear and has ingredients you can recognize right away from the label. You can also find Badger at most health food stores.
All Good Spray Sunscreen- This spray uses compressed air and not an aerosol to spray the product. Great for quickly getting the product on kids too!
Adorable Baby Sunscreen- This was one of the first clean sunscreens I tried years ago. Since they’ve reformulated and it’s better than ever! Great for everyone in the family.
Pipette Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50- This is a new product I’ve tried and love! It’s a baby safe mineral sunscreen that blends in so nice and is free of fragrance. Safe for the whole family!
Suntegrity Mineral Sunstick SPF 30- This is so convenient especially for travel when you don’t want to risk your sunscreen spilling out on everything. A stick is so easy to use, even on kiddos.
Honua Malu SPF 30- This is one of my favorite facial sunscreens. It blends in so well and is a great primer before makeup.
Beautycounter Sheer Defense Daily Sunscreen SPF 25– This is another great daily facial sunscreen. It moisturizes while also providing some SPF protection.
Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen- This is another safe sunscreen for the whole family, even baby and mama. It offers great coverage but blends in clear. This also can be found at most health food stores.
Sun Bum Baby Bum SPF 50- I found this one on a recent vacation when I was in a pinch and needed a mineral sunscreen. This was literally the best option I had! If you’re just at a grocery store search for this one!
Thinkbaby SPF 50- This is a high SPF Mineral sunscreen that really delivers on protection. It doesn’t blend in but does give that white cast, but I’ve found for long days in the summer at the beach or pool that’s almost needed to really protect the skin. It also is a good indicator of when you need to reapply.
What’s been your favorite pregnancy safe sunscreen?
If you liked this post, check out these past posts:
- Holistic Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Acne: All You Need To Know!
- Is Glycolic Acid Safe To Use During Pregnancy?