Best Sunscreen Lotion
Protects & Moisturizes with SAFER ingredients

The best sunscreen lotion is one that offers safe ingredients while protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.  At the beach extra sun protection care is needed because the sun bounces up off the sand and water, so UV exposure is not just from the sky.

Choosing a sunscreen can be confusing since there are so many options. Did you know that most of the ingredients in your sunscreen have never been tested for safety and that many of the ingredients contain chemicals that are hormone disrupters?

Sunscreen Active Ingredients

Just as it is important to know what you are putting in your body, knowing what you are putting on your body is just as critical.  Chemicals from sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and can act as hormone disrupters affecting the delicate balance of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones. 

1.  Lotion Sunscreens

best sunscreen lotion with safer ingredients

Let's look at some of the most common sunscreen active ingredients.  The chemicals that are most concerning according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit watchdog organization that evaluates skin care products, include:




Retinyl palmitate

"EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens and other skin and lip products containing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, and retinoic acid."  This ingredient may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to sun exposed skin. 

The best sunscreen lotion for those who are concerned about harmful chemicals do not contain any of these ingredients.

Best Sunscreen with Safer Ingredients

2. Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens work by reflecting UV radiation so that the rays don't penetrate your skin.  The two main minerals used for this type of sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  

Recently sunscreen companies have been using nano zinc oxide as a mineral sun blocker which has caused some health concerns.  

Nanoparticles make the sunscreen easier to apply but can also be absorbed by the skin, enter the bloodstream and have side effects.  Look for non-nano zinc oxide. 

3.  Spray on Sunscreens

We have been a fan of spray on sunscreens while at the beach.
best sunscreen for kids

They are easy to apply and prevent your hands from getting all greasy.  However, there are some downsides to aerosol sprays.  The nanoparticles can be dangerous when inhaled. 

Use a spray bottle rather than an aerosol one.  If you do use a spray, to protect yourself and your family from inhaling these toxic chemicals, don't spray it on or near your face or kids' faces.   This 30 SPF non-aerosol spray by Beautycounter has a rating of 3 in the Skin Deep database and is a non-greasy lotion that offers water resistant protection. 

Reef Safe Mineral Sunscreen Spray by Beautycounter

Understand Your Sunscreen Label

The two pieces of important information on your sunscreen label is the SPF rating and the list of ingredients.

What does SPF mean and is higher better? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.   Standard sunscreens are usually in the 20-30 SPF range.  An SPF of at least 15 is recommended by the American Cancer Society and an SPF of 30 is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. 

The Environmental Working group offers this advice:

"Avoid sunscreens with SPF numbers higher than 50. More important than seeking out ultra-high SPF products is that you apply your sunscreen generously -- most people put on only a 1/4 to 2/3rds enough sunscreen to actually reach the product's SPF rating."

Often a lotion with a higher SPF number will give people a false sense of security, especially for the face, and result in less frequent application, or the use of a wide brimmed hat or visor or other shade protection.

Sunscreen and Breast Cancer

sunscreen and breast cancer

It is important that you become educated on what are considered harmful ingredients that can be hiding in your sunscreen - especially since it's a lotion that's applied all over the body, sometimes several times a day if you want maximum protection.  The chemicals in your sunscreen are being absorbed into your bloodstream and may disrupt hormones, cause allergies and yes, contribute to cancer.  Here is what the research at Breast Cancer Fund has found...

"Research has found that many sunscreens contain chemicals that are estrogenic, disrupt the endocrine system and can play a significant role in breast cancer development. For example, octyl-methoxycinnamate, which is estrogenic and has thyroid hormone-disrupting effects, is found in over 800 sunscreens."

Protect yourself and your family by making safer choices.  

Read the full article by this non-profit whose goal is "to expose and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer:"

Breast Cancer and Sunscreens

How to Put On Sunscreen

As with any sunscreen it's best to follow these tips for the best protection:

1.  Apply liberally

how to put on sunscreen

Be sure to use a liberal amount of sunscreen.  Most people do not use enough and get poor coverage.

2.  Apply 15"- 20" before sun exposure

3.  Apply often

Ideally, sunscreens need to be re-applied every 2 hours.  The ingredients break down and become weaker over time meaning they become less effective the longer they've been on the skin and exposed to heat, sun, sweat, water or rubbing against towels or beach cover-ups.  There is no sunscreen that offers all day protection. 

After being in the water, sunscreen needs to be re-applied.  Set a reminder on your cell phone because it is easy to forget when everyone is having fun and enjoying their time together.

Best Sunscreen Lotion with Safer Ingredients

best sunscreen lotion with safer ingredients

We have made the switch to what we think is the best sunscreen lotion with tested and safe ingredients. Beauty Counter's Protect Sunscreen is a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30.  It's water resistant which means added protection for those who like to be in the water.

Ingredients like non-nano zinc oxide means it gets a #1 rating for safety in the Skin Deep database (1 being the safest and 10 the most toxic.)

It is lightweight and blends easily into the skin without leaving any white streaks.  Unlike sunscreens that use Vitamin A which actually makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, Beauty Counter uses antioxidants like green tea, aloe and orange extracts which hydrate the skin and act to fight free radical damage.

Get the protection you need and feel good about what you are putting on your skin all day at the beach with Beauty Counter's ...

Best Sunscreen Lotion with Safer Ingredients

Travel Size Sunscreen

We take this travel size sunscreen stick with us on every beach trip.  It's so easy to apply on your face - nose, cheeks, forehead and the tops of your ears.  I also apply it to the top of my hands.  

travel size sunscreen

This sunscreen stick using safer ingredients absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy feeling and because it's a stick it doesn't get your hands all messy.  You can't tell by the picture - but it's small and fits in the palm of your hand which makes it good for traveling or just for keeping in your purse.  

Travel Size Sunscreen by Beautycounter

Best Sunscreen Lotion for Your Face

The best sunscreen lotion for your face protects, moisturizes and has safer ingredients. 

tinted face moisturizer with SPF

The best facial sunscreen that I have found is the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer by Beauty Counter.  It goes on really smooth and I love that it's a pump dispenser. Your face will benefit from this product by being protected and hydrated at the same time.  This is what Dew Skin will do for your skin:

Protects with an SPF of 20

Hydrates and moisturizes with Vitamin C, peony flower root extract and black currant

Firms and smooths out your complexion thanks to hyaluronic acid

Safe ingredients with an EWG Skin Deep Rating of 2 (1-2 is low hazard)

This foundation is so lightweight and sheer you can wear it everyday, not just at the beach, and feel good about what is being absorbed into your skin. 

This facial sunscreen comes in 5 different tints for all skin types. 

Best Sunscreen for Face - Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

Zinc Oxide Lip Balm

Lips age too from UV rays, so it's important to use chapsticks or sunscreen lipsticks to protect this part of our skin as well as our face. 

Are you looking for a zinc oxide lip balm?  

I love this one by Badger that benefits your lips by moisturizing with shea butter, coconut oil and ace fruit oil while protecting from dryness and aging from the sun with non-nano zinc oxide.

The best moisturizing lip balm with SPF 15 is made by Badger.  Committed to only using safe ingredients you can feel confident about applying this moisturizing balm to your lips without worrying that you are absorbing or ingesting any harmful ingredients because the ingredients include organic base of extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, and shea and cocoa butters.

Unlike petroleum products that sit on your lips without moisturizing - kind of like Saran Wrap on food - this petroleum free lip balm hydrates and moisturizes.  

With a  #1 rating on the Skin Deep database (with 1-2 being the safest), you can feel good about what you are putting on your lips. It glides on smoothly and hydrates and protects at the same time. 

Badger Balm Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lip Balm Stick - SPF 15

UV Eye Protection

uv eye protection

Eyes age from the sun and need to be protected from the UV light as well.  The sensitive skin around the eyes is vulnerable to sun damage leading to extra wrinkles and fine lines.  Unprotected eyes can lead to the development of cataracts and age related macular degeneration. 

Wrap around sunglasses are the best way to protect the skin around your eyes as well as your vision.

Most sunscreen lotions that are applied to close to the eyes will lead to watering and irritated eyes.  

Sunscreen Allergy

sunscreen allergy

There are people who have a sunscreen allergy to one or more of the ingredients.

If you are one of these people you can experiment and try different sunscreens with different ingredients, but you can get lots of protection by sitting under a large beach umbrella or tent, wear rash guards or UV protection clothing, sunglasses and a large brimmed hat or visor. 

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