natural sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen: Does It Actually Work? (Truth Bombs Inbound)

Are you curious if natural sunscreen truly delivers? Let’s drop some truth bombs!

Spotlight on Minerals: The only FDA-approved UV blockers[1] for safe & effective use are mineral zinc oxide and titanium dioxide . Their superpower? Blocking UV rays while mineral zinc is a skin-soothing, inflammation-reducing ingredient that improves skin health rather than degrading… Especially for sensitive skin (Great for kids)

So… in short, the answer is hell yes , let’s just cut the crap of the whole skincare industry. 

Many medical professionals are hanging onto the idea that chemical-based sunscreens aren’t in high enough concentration to seriously damage our health.

Yeah, but we want to use it every day, so get over the embarrassment of promoting these products for your whole career, and let’s get on with it!

Natural sunscreen isn’t only a more reliable protection but I actually feel good applying it every day as part of a healthy skincare routine.

Article at a Glance:

What is Natural Sunscreen & Does it Work?

What to Look For When Shopping For Natural & Organic Sunscreen

What Ingredients to Check For on Natural Sunscreen Labels

Other natural Alternatives To Improve Your Suncare Game

What is Natural Sunscreen?

Natural sunscreen is at the forefront of a sun care revolution, offering a protective solution that’s both kind to our bodies and gentle on the planet. Zinc oxide is at the heart of this movement, a mineral lauded for its dual role as a safe and effective UV blocker and a boon for skin health.

The FDA recognizes zinc oxide as one of the few ingredients safe for human use and harmless to marine ecosystems. However, it stands out not for its myriad skin benefits.

This mineral provides a physical barrier against harmful UV rays, avoiding the absorption and potential systemic effects associated with chemical sunscreens.

Beyond its sun-protective qualities, zinc oxide is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly beneficial for sensitive or acne-prone skin. It can help soothe irritation, reduce redness, and improve the skin’s overall appearance.

With the backing of health authorities and its proven track record for safety and efficacy, zinc oxide-based natural sunscreens offer a holistic approach to sun care. By embracing this method, we protect our skin from the sun’s damaging effects while nurturing its health and ensuring our environmental footprint is as light as possible.

Reasons You Need to Know About Natural & Organic Sunscreen Alternatives

As we navigate through an era where health and wellness take center stage, the sunscreen you choose plays a pivotal role in skin protection and overall well-being. Recent studies have shed light on the concerning effects of chemical-based sunscreens, highlighting the urgent need for safer, more natural alternatives. These findings aren’t just whispers in the wellness community; they’re loud calls for a shift towards sunscreens that nurture our bodies and the environment in equal measure.

  1. Hormonal Impact: Research has linked certain chemicals in conventional sunscreens, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, to potential hormonal disruptions, affecting everything from estrogen to testosterone levels.
  2. Bloodstream Absorption: Studies have shown that some chemical UV filters can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, raising concerns about their long-term effects on our health.
  3. Environmental Harm: In addition to harming human health, these chemicals have been found to harm marine life and coral reefs, contributing to the urgent need for reef-safe sunscreen options.
  4. Questionable Effectiveness: Chemical sunscreens have been found to degrade in the sun, losing effectiveness over time and requiring frequent reapplication. Even then, they don’t offer the same broad-spectrum protection as natural physical sunscreen.

The case for natural and organic sunscreen alternatives becomes compelling and essential in light of these revelations. Our approach to sun care reimagines protection by harnessing the power of nature. We advocate for sunscreens that use minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which sit on the skin’s surface to physically block UV rays, avoiding the pitfalls of their chemical counterparts. By choosing these alternatives, you’re not just protecting your skin; you’re embracing a holistic approach to health that respects your body and the planet. Let’s journey together towards a sun care solution you can trust that promises safety, efficacy, and peace of mind.

What to Look For When Shopping Natural Sunscreens

When diving into the world of natural sunscreens, the sea of options can be overwhelming. But fear not! We’ve distilled the process into a simple guide to help you confidently navigate the shelves and pick the perfect sun shield.

Considerations When Shopping for Natural Sunscreens

  1. Check the Active Ingredients List
  2. Choose a Natural & Organic Base
  3. Look for Added Antioxidants & Powerful Botanicals
  4. Check the SPF Rating & 
  5. Check For Reef Friendly & Cruelty Free Labels

As we dive deeper into each step, you’ll gain the insight needed to make informed choices that benefit your skin and the environment.

Shopping for natural sunscreens

Active Ingredients (Natural Mineral Sunscreen UV Blockers)

The core of every natural sunscreen lies in its active ingredients—zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals create a physical barrier, deflecting harmful UV rays without seeping into your skin, which makes them safer than chemical filters.

When shopping, prioritise products that only feature these ingredients (not mixed in with chemical UV blockers). 

Also, go for ” non nano ” versions, non nano zinc oxide means that the mineral particles are larger and less likely to be absorbed by your skin, further enhancing safety and effectiveness.

Natural & Organic Sunscreen Base

good natural sunscreen uses a base that’s as clean as the minerals it carries. Sunscreens with natural bases like coconut oil, shea butter, bees wax or sunflower seed oil. These ingredients support the sunscreen’s UV-blocking capabilities and nourish and hydrate your skin.

One of the main reasons to use natural sunscreen is to reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals, so it makes sense to ensure it is also an organic skin care product.

Antioxidants & Botanicals For Skin Health & Resilience

Antioxidants can enhance sunscreen by protecting against free radical damage and soothing the skin. These additions help improve skin resilience against the sun’s broader spectrum of effects, such as premature ageing and the risk of skin cancers. Look for vitamin C, vitamin E, or botanicals that are known to be extremely high in these antioxidants. My favourites are the powerful  Australian botanicals  such as;

  • Kakadu Plum – Highest levels of vitamin C of any known natural source in the world and skin-soothing anti-fungal properties
  • Lilly Pilly – Promote smoother skin, and is a gentle source of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids)
  • Quandong – Second only to the Kakadu plum in terms of its high vitamin C concentration!
  • Finger Lime – Finger limes are nicknamed ‘caviar limes’ for their pearls bursting with antioxidants.
  • Davidson’s Plum  – Also packed with vitamin C! 

SPF Rating & Use Case

The SPF rating indicates the level of sun protection offered. Choose an SPF suitable for your activity level and exposure time. Remember, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%, offering a slight increase for longer outdoor activities.

Reef Safe & Cruelty Free

Lastly, ensure your sunscreen is reef-safe and cruelty-free. Sunscreens free from chemical UV blockers like oxybenzone and octinoxate are less likely to harm marine life, and cruelty-free certifications ensure no animals were harmed in the making of the product.

Check Labels – What Ingredients to Avoid for Babies, Pregnant Women & Sensitive Skin

When it comes to protecting the most sensitive among us—babies, pregnant women, and those with sensitive skin—choosing the right sunscreen is crucial. The ingredients list on your sunscreen can tell you a lot about whether it suits delicate skin or conditions. But with so many terms and chemicals, what should you steer clear of?

Avoid Oxybenzone and Octinoxate: These chemicals are notorious for their potential to disrupt hormone levels. They are found in many conventional sunscreens and can pose risks to babies, pregnant women, and those with sensitive skin due to their endocrine-disrupting capabilities. Moreover, they’ve been implicated in coral bleaching and other adverse effects on marine ecosystems.

Steer Clear of Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene: These UV filters are common in sunscreens for their ability to absorb UV light, but they also carry concerns about hormone disruption. Their accumulation in the body over time and potential environmental impact make them less desirable for those seeking safe sun protection options.

Skip the Avobenzone: Although avobenzone is a popular UVA blocker that provides broad-spectrum sun protection, it can degrade quickly in sunlight and, in some cases, cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. It’s also been scrutinized for potential health risks due to its ability to absorb into the skin.

Hard Pass on Parabens and Fragrances: Parabens, used as preservatives, and synthetic fragrances can irritate sensitive skin and cause allergic reactions. For the gentlest care, look for sunscreens that are paraben-free and fragrance-free.

Watch Out for High SPF Myths: While it might seem like a higher SPF offers better protection, SPF values above 50 provide a negligible increase in UV protection but can contain higher concentrations of chemicals. For sensitive skin, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 is often a safer, effective choice.

In your quest for the perfect sunscreen, checking the labels can make all the difference. Opt for products that are mindful of sensitive skin and health, ensuring you and your loved ones are protected without compromise.

How to Improve Your Suncare Game Beyond Natural Sunscreen

Enhancing your sun protection routine involves more than just slathering on sunscreen. Embracing a holistic approach can significantly boost your skin’s defense against the sun’s harmful rays. Here’s how to complement your natural sunscreen regimen with lifestyle and skincare choices that offer robust protection and repair.

Incorporate Bakuchiol Serum: Known as a natural alternative to retinol, bakuchiol does wonders for the skin without the photosensitivity associated with retinol use. Applying a bakuchiol serum both in the morning and at night can help improve skin’s firmness, reduce fine lines, and enhance overall sun resilience. Its antioxidant properties aid in repairing UV damage and bolstering skin health, making it a powerful ally in your daily skincare routine.

Adopt an Antioxidant-Rich Diet: Your diet is crucial in how well your skin can fend off UV damage. Foods loaded with antioxidants—vibrant berries, dark leafy greens, and nuts—are essential for skin health. These nutrients combat free radicals and can reduce the impact of UV exposure on the skin. By eating a diet rich in vitamins C and E, selenium, and other antioxidants, you’re providing your skin with the tools it needs to resist and recover from sun damage.

Wear Sun Protective Clothing: Physical barriers provide an additional defense against UV rays. Incorporating sun-protective clothing into your wardrobe, such as long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection, can significantly reduce your skin’s exposure to harmful rays. Appropriate clothing is especially important during peak sun hours or when spending extended periods outdoors to protect yourself safely.

By integrating bakuchiol serum into your skincare regime, nourishing your body with antioxidant-rich foods, and dressing with sun safety in mind, you’re adopting a comprehensive approach to sun care. This strategy enhances the effectiveness of your natural sunscreen and promotes long-term skin health and resilience against environmental stressors.

Alternatives to Natural Vegan Sunscreen (Animal Based Sunscreen)

While natural vegan sunscreens are a fantastic choice for eco-conscious consumers, there are also noteworthy alternatives that include animal-derived ingredients. These options cater to a broader range of preferences, offering unique benefits alongside effective sun protection.

Lanolin-Based Sunscreens: Extracted from sheep’s wool, lanolin is a natural oil that’s highly moisturizing. Sunscreens based on lanolin form a protective barrier on the skin, making them perfect for those seeking extra hydration and protection, especially in dry or windy environments.

Beeswax Sunscreens: Known for its water-resistant and soothing properties, beeswax is another popular choice in non-vegan sunscreens. Ideal for swimmers, athletes, or anyone with sensitive skin, beeswax-based sunscreens provide durable protection without irritating.

Tallow Sunscreens: Tallow, derived from the fatty tissues of animals, is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are beneficial for skin health. Sunscreens that include tallow offer deep moisturization and help to repair and rejuvenate the skin, making them a nourishing choice for all skin types.

Whether you’re drawn to the hydrating benefits of lanolin, the water resistance of beeswax, or the nourishing properties of tallow, these animal-based sunscreen alternatives present effective options for those who don’t exclusively use vegan products. Each ingredient offers unique advantages, ensuring your sun protection is as comprehensive as it is gentle on your skin.

Wrapping Up and My Experience With Natural Sunscreen

Understanding the power of zinc and the FDA’s nod towards its benefits helps to simplify and provide clarity when navigating the maze of sunscreen ingredients!

Hopefully this has helped highlight what’s safe and effective vs whats not… especially for the most vulnerable among us. We also explored how to choose the right natural sunscreen and gave you tips on boosting your skin’s natural defence against those UV rays.

After spending a decade under the sun as a roofer and door-to-door salesman, I learned the hard way how important it is to protect your skin properly. That experience sparked the creation of our organic suncare brand, aimed at offering sun protection that’s both skin and earth-friendly.

Thanks for joining us on this enlightening journey. Our goal has always been to arm you with the knowledge and products I wish I had during those long, sunny days. Here’s to enjoying the sunshine, knowing you’re well protected with nature’s best.

Catch you in the sunshine!

FAQ

What is homemade sunscreen?

While the internet is a rich source of DIY solutions, including recipes for homemade sunscreens featuring common ingredients like coconut oil, essential oils, and shea butter, it’s crucial to approach these solutions with caution. The expertise behind these recipes often varies, with many lacking formal health or dermatological qualifications. It’s advisable to prioritize products that have been rigorously tested and approved by reputable health organizations.

What natural thing can I use as sunscreen?

For brief sun exposure, natural oils and butters like peanut, hemp seed, alfalfa, jojoba oil, shea butter, olive, avocado, sea buckthorn, and macadamia oil can offer minimal sun protection (SPF 2-8). However, they are not substitutes for commercial sunscreens, which provide broad-spectrum UV protection essential for preventing sunburn and long-term skin damage. For best protection, seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use approved high-SPF sunscreens.

Which is best natural sunscreen?

Zinc oxide is the premier choice for natural sunscreen, providing broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays by creating a protective barrier on the skin. Beyond sun protection, zinc oxide offers significant added benefits for skin health, including anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritation and reduce the severity of acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Does natural sunscreen work as well?

Mineral sunscreens, recognized for their superior protection, physically block UVA and UVB rays by creating a barrier on the skin’s surface. Traditionally known for their distinctive chalky, white residue, advancements in sunscreen technology have led to the development of clear and tinted formulations of zinc-based sunscreens. These innovations eliminate the white cast, making them more aesthetically pleasing without compromising their protective efficacy. The physical barrier not only offers a high level of sun protection but also acts as a visual cue for reapplication, enhancing overall sun safety practices. With these advancements, mineral sunscreens now combine the best of both worlds: unparalleled protection and user-friendly aesthetics.

Mick Wadley

Mick Wadley – Founder of Skorcha

After a decade in the scorching sun as a roofer and going door-to-door in sales – I was forced to take my skin health seriously following a skin cancer scare before the age of 30.

So began my passion for suncare, which is both effective and natural. Crafted for adventure and endurance sports, Skorcha formulas are non-greasy, have no eye sting and absolutely no bullshit (100% Organic).

My goal is to share what I’ve learned about skin health and safe ingredients, inspiring happier, healthier lives through adventure, organic goodness and conservation!

Help us plant a mangrove tree with every Skorcha product sold to protect fragile marine ecosystems and support underprivileged communities around the world.


Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is the responsibility of you and your healthcare providers to make all decisions regarding your health. Skorcha recommends that you consult with your healthcare providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition.