Sun exposure is a good thing. That’s how our body’s receive Vitamin D which is super important to our overall health (see my earlier post for more info). However, too much of a good thing can be bad and sun exposure is no exception. I generally recommend 15 minutes of sunshine a day, but if you’re going to be outside for longer than this, the old Aussie adage “Slip, Slop, Slap” is a must.
My most recent job required me to spend every second day outside on a boat. Because I worked on water, I doubled my sun exposure from the reflection of UV off the water. When I was at work I was always in full PPE (think long pants and long sleeve shirts). But I would also wear sunglasses, a hat and natural, zinc-based sunscreen. I don’t take any chances!
As such, I’ve tried A LOT of different brands of zinc-based sunscreens and now know a thing or two about what’s best. Did I also mention I’m pasty white and have zero natural sun protection? I’m a pretty good test subject for sunscreens!
These are my favourites (and some I won’t buy again)
Note: It is important to apply your sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun. This allows the sunscreen to reach each layer of the skin and provides maximum protection. Sunscreen should be applied evenly and liberally to ensure all exposed areas are protected.
For the face
Their body sunscreen and face sunscreen are both great.
This is a silky, non greasy, hypoallergenic and non comedogenic lotion that wont clog pores. It’s got a really light texture,unlike other brands, that feels almost water based.It feels more like a light moisturiser, and has been specifically created to wear daily under your make-up. I use the face sunscreen most days under my foundation and have not had any problems with make-up sliding off.
Loaded with antioxidants to help reduce the aging effects of the skin, eco face supports cellular renewal and circulation to help keep your skin youthful and elastic.
Generally I’ll apply it after moisturizing, then leave it for 10 minutes or so while I have breakfast, to allow it to settle properly before applying make-up. This ensures I have long lasting sunscreen and make-up all day.
Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Isoamyl Laurate, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*. Active: Zinc Oxide 20% .
* Certified Organic.
Bonus: they also have sunscreens for the Body (which is awesome) and Baby (which I can’t say I’ve tried).
For the Body
Being oil-based, it will nourish your skin and provide extra hydration your skin needs when out in the sun. Some people don’t like the oily feeling, but I’m not one of them!
It has a light, natural fragrance indicative of its ingredients rather than any added chemicals.
Ingredients: grapeseed oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, candellila wax, beeswax, carnauba wax, shea butter, gmo-free vitamin e, purified water, aloe vera*, naticide. Active: zinc oxide (250mg/g)
And the not so good
Felt nice to apply, has a lovely texture and smooth consistency which just glides on without being too oily. The tint rubs on slightly pink when applied, but at least no ghosting!
It has a powdery texture despite the natural oils. It also has a mild coconut scent that I quite like.
So why do I dislike it?
Because it’s tinted with a natural, skin colour hue, it doesn’t ghost when applied and looks quite nice on. HOWEVER, this is a big however, because it is tinted and oily it stains like a mo-fo. You can’t get this stuff off. Think sunscreen marks on your bikini and on your clothes. And when you think you’ve been super careful in your application, it rubs off onto your clothes anyway. And FYI, not even bleach gets it off.
Also, I’m not 100% confident it works too well. I wore it and still ended up a little burnt. I thought it may have been my application, but I’ve read a couple of other reviews that said the same thing.
NOTE: They do now make an untinted version which I have tested on my arm below. It does ghost a bit (arm on the left) which probably explains why they tinted it! I love the texture though and it smells quite pleasant. If I wasn’t so white to begin with I might like it more.
This was the first natural, zinc-based sunscreen I tried. So me with my high hopes and idealistic views was incredibly crushed when I used this sunscreen. First problem, it’s thick. Now I mean cramping hands thick trying to squeeze this stuff out. When the product is warm (i.e. left in a hot car all day) it softens up a lot and is almost ok to squeeze out and apply. However every other time I tried, spending a good 5 minutes teasing this goop out, I would then spend similar amounts of time desperately trying to spread it out.
Even after you have diligently applied this stuff, you finally feel good to go, then look down and realise you now resemble a beached whale as you’ve turned your skin a glistening shade of white.
Does it work? Yes. Is it nourishing on the skin? Yes. Is this product easy to apply? It’s probably easier just to let yourself burn.
What makes natural sunscreens work?
Natural sunscreens use Zinc Oxide which reflects UV-A and UV-B rays rather than chemical actives which absorb these rays.
Standard sunscreens use chemical UV-absorbers which are absorbed very easily into the body and into the bloodstream. International medical research articles have shown some chemical UV-absorbers have the potential to cause health problems. Chemical sunscreens also have the potential to cause allergic dermatitis and also photo-allergic dermatitis. (Photo-allergic dermatitis differs from allergic dermatitis, as the irritation occurs only after the skin comes into direct exposure with the combination of the allergic substance and sunlight.) Physical sunscreens like zinc oxide do not cause this problem.
What’s the deal on nano-particles?
Sunscreens that contain particles of metal oxides (i.e. zinc oxide) appear milky or white when applied to skin. To counter this, metal oxides are ground into super fine particles (nanoparticles) to make them appear transparent when applied onto your skin. Which is wonderful in theory: non-ghosting zinc sunscreen.
But there is a fair bit of debate about whether they are safe or not. General scientific consensus says they are, but there are also many on the other side of the debate saying they’re not.
Friends of the Earth’s Safe Sunscreen Guide states “Studies have shown that nanoparticles can produce free radicals and DNA damage, especially when exposted to UV light. These studies suggest that rather than offering us sun protection, if nano-sunscreens are absorbed into our skin, they could result in serious damage.”
My preferred option when in doubt, is to avoid. The sunscreens above do not use nano-particle technology.