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3 Reasons to Never Use Chemical Sunscreen (And the Best Alternatives That Work)

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The reputations of many sunscreen brands have taken a hit in recent years — and for good reasons. Not only was it discovered that 40% of the top-selling sunscreens don’t meet guidelines, they are loaded with dangerous chemicals that are readily absorbed by the skin. So, besides trying to eat your way to better protection from UV rays, what’s the healthy alternative that’s also effective? One woman and her family set out to answer this very question.

In 2010, Katie Kimball and her family started by testing 28 of the 40 sunscreens approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They have since tested upwards of 80 natural mineral-based sunscreen options, reviewing each for efficacy, ability to stay on in water and safety. She posts the reviews on her website KitchenStewardship.com.

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In the video below, she explains why — when it comes to safe and healthy sun protection — mineral sunscreens are the only way to go. She outlines three primary reasons for this:

1. Mineral-Based Sunscreens are Long Lasting


Conventional chemical sunscreens break down when they come into contact with UV rays — this is actually how they work to prevent UV absorption, and it’s the reason they need to be reapplied every 2-3 hours. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, do not break down. One application lasts all day.

2. Convention Sunscreens Breakdown, Causing Free Radical Damage

Chances are you’re using sunscreen to protect your skin and reduce cancer risk. But, upon breakdown, chemical-based sunscreens actually produce one of the very things we’re trying to avoid: Free radicals. Free radicals threaten the health of every cell in the body and have been linked to health complications ranging from inflammation to cancer.

3. Conventional Sunscreens Contain Some Seriously Dangerous Chemicals

It takes just one application of chemical-based sunscreens to spell hormonal disaster. Between oxybenzone, octy-methoxycinnamate and homosalate, to name a few, most sunscreens contain enough hormone altering chemicals to equal daily hormonal therapy for menopausal women.

Worried About Mineral Sunscreens Being Too White?

Not to worry. These days, many manufacturers of mineral sunscreen have mastered the art of creating a formula that rubs in well. Mrs. Kimball indicates that brands like Badger, Butterbean and Kabana are excellent options, but she gave great reviews to many others as well so be sure to check them out. You can even find naturally tinted versions.

Feeling ambitious? Rumor has it this homemade sunscreen is an excellent (and effective!) alternative as well. Using ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil and zinc oxide do just the trick. (Confession: I didn’t even know one could buy zinc oxide for homemade sunscreen right on Amazon. I can’t wait to try it.)

We thank you for the tips and laborious testing, Katie Kimball. You’re such a life saver — and perhaps, literally!

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