Last updated: September 26, 2020

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There is no doubt that sunscreen performs a very important role in our lives, especially during summertime. These days, more and more people are looking for a way to protect themselves from the sun’s rays in a more natural way. If you are concerned about toxic chemicals and their potentially harmful effects, then you should definitely consider switching to a sunscreen made from all-natural products.

There is a growing trend towards healthier options in all areas of our lives, from the food we eat, to the beauty or skin care products we use. Natural sunscreens are made with ingredients that are safe for even the most sensitive skin. The main advantage of this type of product is that it will not irritate your skin and can be used by people with allergies. In this guide we tell you everything you need to know about this amazing alternative to conventional sunscreen.

Key Facts

  • Most natural sunscreens use physical filters, most commonly comprised of minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Products with physical filters do not penetrate the skin and are not absorbed by the body in the way chemical-based sunscreens are.
  • Natural sunscreen is effective from the moment it is put on the skin. This means that it does not have to be applied in advance like conventional sunscreen.

Our Selection: The Best Natural Sunscreen on the U.S. Market

The sun is an vital source of vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure can cause sunburn, so you need to be careful. This is why the use of sunscreen is so essential. However, if you do not like harmful chemicals and nasty additives and you are looking for a natural alternative, you can’t go wrong with one of these fantastic products.

The Best Natural Sunscreen with SPF 30

This a an all-natural, biodegradable sunscreen from Two Peas Organics. If you want something that is environmentally friendly and free of any nasty compounds like oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, avobenzone or other harmful chemicals, you should have a look at this fantastic product. It offers zinc oxide 20% broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, and will leave your skin feeling smooth and protected!

This is an amazing product, and has great reviews to prove it. Users love how well it protects against sunburn, meaning you don’t need to expose your body to nasty chemicals to get adequate protection. This product is especially popular with people suffering from allergies and skin conditions such as eczema.

The Best Vegetarian Natural Sunscreen With SPF 45

Moisturize and protect your skin with Alba Botanica Green Tea Hawaiian SPF 45 Sunscreen. This lightweight sunscreen is made with antioxidant-rich green tea and soothing aloe vera for broad spectrum protection and a smooth, soothing finish. This formula is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

This is a top-selling product with very positive reviews from happy buyers. It is very thick, but easy to apply and smooth over your skin, without leaving a residue. This reef-friendly formula is made with 100% vegetarian ingredients, and it does not contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten or synthetic fragrances. It’s also biodegradable and not tested on animals.

The Best Natural Sunscreen for Babies

This SPF 50+ formula provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and glides on smooth for effortless application using the spray. Non-allergenic and tear free, so it can go on whatever part of your baby that is going to be exposed to the sun. It is also a natural insect repellent, which is a great extra.

The power of essential aromatic oils (Citronella, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lemongrass & Geranium) is great for use around babies. While the plant and essential oils formula keep mosquitoes away, smells great and is good for whole family. This product is very popular with parents, who say it does not irritate their baby, and the insect repellent works great.

The Best Tear-Free Natural Sunscreen

Banana Boat Simply Protect Kids sunscreen offers the same durable protection you’ve come to expect from Banana Boat, with 25% fewer ingredients. The milder, tear-free formula goes on quickly and easily (without the tears) so your kids can get straight to the fun. Banana Boat Simply Protect provides worry-free sun protection that stays on through 7 conditions: sun, pool water, ocean water, wind, sweat, sand and even 100-degree heat. Simply Protect by Banana Boat is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation to protect against the sun’s harmful rays.

Users love that they can get great sun protection, from an all natural product that is also mild enough fro their kids. It stays on for up to 8 hours, even when used in the water, and applies so smoothly and evenly that it even works under makeup.

The Best Reef-Safe Suncream

Reef Repair reef safe sunscreen is a revolution in eco-friendly sun protection and one of the safest sun creams for sensitive skin that you will find anywhere in the world. All Reef Repair sun care products are 100% oxybenzone free, octinoxate free, titanium dioxide free and best of all, made from all natural, organic and biodegradable ingredients for a healthier ocean and vibrant coral reefs.

This SPF 30+ sunscreen provides protection against sun burn, skin cancer, wrinkles, premature aging and cellular DNA damage caused by harmful UV radiation from our sun. This broad spectrum formula is 100% reef safe and non toxic to aquatic plants and animals, including coral reefs. Can be used in Hawaii, Mexico, The Caribbean, Maldives and other national parks where sunscreen has been restricted or banned. Apply prior to sun exposure for instant protection.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Natural Sunscreen

If you are someone who prefers to avoid personal care products with chemicals, you may want to know more about natural sunscreen. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions people have about this healthy alternative product. It is important that you have a little background information about natural sunscreen, so you can choose the option that best suits your needs.

One of the benefits of using natural sunscreens is that they minimize the risk of allergies.
(Source: Maridav: 13093410/ 123rf.com)

What is the difference between natural and conventional sunscreen?

Natural sunscreens, as the name suggests, have a formula comprised of all-natural ingredients. This means that they do not contain chemicals or toxic substances that are potentially harmful to the skin, as found in conventional sunscreens. These chemical compounds can irritate the skin and are also harmful to the environment.

Another issue with conventional sunscreens, is that they inhibit the absorption of vitamin D normally obtained from exposure to the rays of the sun. Also, the chemicals they contain can adversely affect the body in a harmful way. Conversely, natural sunscreens only act on the surface of the skin and do not harm the body, while still allowing the proper absorption of vitamin D.

Who can use natural sunscreen?

Thanks to the safe ingredients used in natural sunscreens, they are products that anyone can use. They are especially suitable for people who are most vulnerable to the potentially negative effects of conventional sun creams. These demographics include children, the elderly, pregnant women and people who have sensitive skin.

As they are formulated with organic and natural ingredients, they are 100% safe and therefore suitable for anyone. If you want to be sure that a product is all natural, you just have to check that the filter it contains is physical instead of chemical. Chemical filters act like a mirror, in that they reflect any solar radiation that comes into contact with the skin.

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Natural sunscreen contains beneficial minerals that act as a barrier to harmful UV rays. It does not contain any chemicals or parabens that are harmful to our skin.

What are the benefits of natural sunscreen?

As you are most likely already aware, sunscreen is designed to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. It prevents not only redness, burns and irritation due to solar exposure, but also other long-term consequences such as spots, wrinkled skin and cancer.

In the specific case of natural sunscreens, the benefits they offer are multiplied. Not only do they work like conventional products, they also minimize the risk of any allergies caused by toxic chemicals. Also, these all-natural products simultaneously provide extra skin care, because they contain ingredients such as aloe vera or essential oils.

What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

Although these terms are often used interchangeably, sunscreen and sunblock are not the same. Sunscreen reduces the amount of radiation that penetrates the skin, while sunblock completely blocks the absorption of UV rays. These two different products also have different textures. Sunblock is usually much thicker, and is more difficult to apply to the skin than sunscreen.

Sunblock offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays, while sunscreen generally only protects against UVB radiation and not against all UVA rays.

Choose a natural sunscreen product according to your skin type.
(Source: Ekaterina Pokrovsky: 29322766/ 123rf.com)

When and how should I apply natural sunscreen?

In general, manufacturers of conventional sunscreen recommend that it should be applied at least 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. This is the amount of time that it needs to be adequately absorbed by the skin to ensure optimal skin protection. This is not necessary if you are using a natural sunscreen, as it will begin to work as soon as it is applied.

This means that you don’t have to worry about planning your day in advance, since they work immediately thanks to the ingredients they contain. Another advantage is that they will work for as long as they remain present on the skin without constantly needing to be reapplied. Water resistant products are effective for varied amounts of time which must be taken into account. They are usually good for up to 60 minutes of immersion in water.

Here are some tips for how to get a tan safely:

What to do What not to do
Gradually increase the amount of time you are exposed to the sun Sunbathe in the middle of the day (12pm-3pm)
Follow the instructions regarding frequency of application Disregard your skin type when choosing SPF
Use a water-resistant sunscreen Choose a product that does not protect against UVA

Can natural sunscreen be applied to any part of the body?

Natural sunscreens are suitable to be applied to both the body and the face, just like conventional ones. However, there are products on the market specifically designed for each part of the body and even for your hair. These different types of sunscreens use different ingredients depending on how they are to designed to be used.

For example, facial sunscreen is usually manufactured containing ingredients that do not cause stains. These products are usually packaged in smaller containers, so you can take them with you wherever you go, and there are different ones available for different skin types. As they contain moisturizing ingredients, they help to keep your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.

What is zinc oxide and why is it present in most natural sunscreens?

The first thing you need to understand about natural sunscreens, is that they contain chemical-free, physical filters. Physical filters by definition are not absorbed by the skin, and remain on its surface. One of the most commonly used physical filters is zinc oxide, and also titanium dioxide. Both are natural minerals and are harmless to the body and environmentally friendly.

Zinc is a mineral with lots of beneficial properties for skin. It prevents wrinkles, while also providing complete protection against UVA and UVB rays. It is important to check that the zinc oxide used in a product you are thinking about buying, does not contain any nanoparticles – which are very harmful to the environment.

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Did you know that one of the advantages of using natural sunscreens is that they are not absorbed by the body, since they only remain on the surface of the skin?

What is sun protection factor (SPF)?

There is a huge amount of different types of sunscreen on the market, however the packaging always displays the acronym SPF. This indicates the sun protection factor offered by the sunscreen, and is given as a value ranging from 5 to over 50. It is an index that measures the amount of protection that is provided against ultraviolet rays.

To choose the SPF that is best for you, you need to take a couple of factors into account, including your skin type. The higher the value of SPF, the greater protection it offers. People with very fair skin require an SPF 50 or more, while people with darker skin can maybe opt for an SPF of 20-30. However, you also need to consider how much sun exposure you will be getting, and if it will be intense sunlight or more moderate.

What should I keep in mind when using a natural waterproof sunscreen?

Most natural sunscreen products are waterproof, so they will continue to work if you are sweating or immersed in water. This is especially useful for people who like sunbathing at the beach or by the pool. Trying to remember to reapply sunscreen every time you go for a swim is a hassle, and if you forget you will end up getting burned.

However, it is still important to check the manufacturer’s instructions when using sunscreen in the water. Depending on the product and formula it contains, it will only remain effective for a certain amount of time. There are some that continue to work for up to 40 minutes in the water, others for up to an hour, and even some that will last for up to 80 minutes without losing effectiveness.

Natural sunscreens are friendly to the environment.
(Source: Wavebreak Media Ltd: 78412662/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

With the arrival of summer and sunny weather, it is essential that you have effective protection from the sun. If you want an all-natural alternative, but are maybe a little lost, here are the most important criteria you need to keep in mind to make sure you get the product that is best for you. These are the five most important factors you should consider:

Ingredients

To make sure that you are actually buying an all-natural sunscreen, you need to check the ingredients listed on the packaging. If the labeling is not clear, you should assume that the product does contain chemical compounds and is not 100% all natural. Thanks to its moisturizing properties, aloe vera is one of the most commonly used ingredients in sunscreen.

But it is far from the only one. As the products aim for as many benefits as possible, they contain all types of exotic ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil and rosehip. Antioxidant compounds like green tea or vitamin C are also added, as are essential oils which infuse the skin with sweet and pleasant aromas.

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Did you know that using sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer? It is recommended to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more to protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

Quality Seal

Due to their formula based on all-natural ingredients, natural sunscreen products are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. To be absolutely sure that this is the case with a product you are thinking about purchasing, you should check for a seal guaranteeing that the product is a certified natural cosmetic. Normally, it is clearly visible on the packaging.

There are many different seals of certification, that will vary depending on the country where the product was manufactured. For products manufactured for sale on the US market, the most common seals are the NSF certification and the USDA organic seal.

Protection

The amount of protection provided by a product is another important factor that should be considered. You should ideally opt for a sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA radiation. The level of protection offered by a product is given by the SPF (sun protection factor), and is indicated by a value ranging from 5 to 100. To choose the best SPF for you, you need to take into account your skin type and the amount of time you will spend exposed to the sun.

Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays do not cause sunburn, although that doesn’t mean they are harmless. They do still have other adverse effects, such as skin spots and rashes. This is why it is best to choose a sunscreen that also offers protection from ultraviolet radiation, which is so powerful it is even potentially capable of penetrating through your clothes.

Packaging

Apart from checking that the package contains the amount of product you require, it is recommended that you chose a sunscreen that is easy to apply. These products usually come as either a spray, a lotion or as a cream. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The spray format is appealing because it is so easy to use, especially for areas that are hard to reach. When using a spray, it is important to make sure that you rub it evenly over your skin. Lotion has a light texture, which is rapidly absorbed. Cream is the most common type of sunscreen, and can sometimes require a little more effort to rub over your body, until it is completely absorbed.

UV Filter

Lastly, you need to check what type of UV filter the sunscreen contains. There are two different types: chemical and physical. A chemical filter has the advantage of being able to be absorbed quickly, but it is not natural. It is manufactured with chemical components such as avobenzone, oxybenzone or oxinoxate, which can clog the pores of your skin.

Physical filters are safer to use, as they consist of larger particles that cannot be absorbed through the skin.

Physical filters work on the surface of the skin, without penetrating it. Also check that the product is described as Non-Nano, which means that it does not use nanotechnology, and will therefore not contain microscopic particles that are harmful to the environment.

Summary

Natural sunscreen is not only beneficial for your skin, but is also environmentally friendly. It is perfect for taking to the beach, using when sunbathing by the pool, or whenever you are going to be out in the sun. Manufactured from all-natural ingredients, they protect your skin without causing irritation or allergic reactions.

Technology is advancing more and more these days and natural sunscreens are becoming more absorbent, with better water resistance. The best thing about them is that they are free of chemicals, toxins and other artificial components that can adversely affect your body. An all-natural product is always a safer and healthier option for you and your family.

We hope you like our shopping guide, and that it helped make your decision easier. Please leave us comment, and be sure to share it with your friends and family, so they can learn all about the amazing benefits of natural sunscreen.

(Source of featured image: Dolgachov: 38818513/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Charlotte Steward Beauty Expert & Cosmetologist
Charlotte became interested in the subject of beauty at an early age. It is her passion to improve the beauty industry. She now has her own small beauty salon and many regular customers who appreciate Charlotte's expertise.