Sun Safe Tips for Summer

Written by Lauren Marotta,

July marks our first official month of summer! The sun is shining brightly and our collective vitamin D levels are finally rising. We’re uplifted. We’re happier. We’re smiling.

We’re burnt.

Not to be a total buzzkill, but I feel it’s my duty to remind you: after being covered up for months, your skin is delicate and especially prone to sunburn. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself.

Your mother was right: you need to wear sunscreen. Please apply it, and reapply it when necessary, if you are exposed to the sun. You want to save your skin from sun damage, premature aging, and, you know, a little thing called cancer, right? Of course you do. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, but it’s also one of the most preventable. You know one of the easiest ways you can prevent it? You guessed it: sunscreen!

But, as cute as that Coppertone baby is, conventional sunblock is brimming with harmful chemicals that get absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. There are more natural, effective ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, while also keeping you healthy and significantly lowering your toxic load.

Before we get to the difference between conventional and natural sunscreen, let’s talk basics.

Why do we need sunscreen?

What’s The Deal With Sunscreen?

The sun emits two types of harmful ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. Overexposure to either type of solar radiation can lead to skin cancer. Skin is particularly prone to sun damage before the age of 18, so make sure you’re carefully slathering your little ones in sunblock. In addition to causing skin cancer, UVA rays cause premature aging, wrinkles, and sunspots, while overexposure to UVB rays results in sunburn. Pro tip: sunburn isn’t reserved for sunny days. Up to 40% of UVA and UVB rays reach the earth on a cloudy day.

A broad spectrum SPF protects the skin from the damaging effects of both UVA and UVB radiation. Dermatologists tend to recommend a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. No sunscreen will protect you from 100% radiation, but anything above SPF 30 is the clear choice for maximum safety and efficacy.

Another thing: putting sunscreen on once and assuming you’re covered for the day is the biggest mistake people make. All sunscreens should be applied approximately every two hours and reapplied after swimming or any profuse sweating. Reapplication is the key to real protection!

Got It. I’ll Wear Sunscreen. Now, What Do I Buy?

Conventional sunscreen products are formulated with harmful chemicals that have been linked to many health issues including allergies, cancer, infertility and birth defects. Yikes. They guard against the sun by absorbing the sun’s rays and using a chemical reaction to turn the radiation into heat, which is then dissipated from the skin. After application, they take 20-30 minutes to become effective.

Alternatively, natural sunscreens are formulated using safe minerals like non-nanoized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The minerals are not absorbed by the skin, thus creating a barrier that reflects the harmful UVA and UVB away from the skin without absorbing radiation or chemicals. They are immediately effective.

Because the skin will not absorb vitamin D after sunscreen is applied, I suggest you enjoy 20 minutes of sun exposure before applying your natural sunscreen. This will optimize your vitamin D levels, while still keeping you protected from sunburn and ray damage.

There really is no comparison: natural, mineral sunscreens are safe, effective and essential for you and your loved ones. If you transition to a natural sunscreen, you won’t be missing anything but the dangerous side effects. Major win.

What’s The Best Alternative?

I suggest you start experimenting with natural sunscreens to find the one that works best for you. There are creams, sprays and even mineral facial powders. Keep in mind: just because something is labelled ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s formulated safely. Always read the ingredients and try to buy organic products made with only non-nanoized zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients.

Here are some great alternatives to get you started:

Badger – SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen

Burt’s Bees – Baby Bee SPF 30 100% Natural Sunscreen Stick

Suntegrity – Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen

Thinkbaby – Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

Wishing you a happy, healthy, beautiful, burn-free summer!

Lauren Marotta is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), lifestyle & wellness expert, and writer obsessed with keeping it real. To learn more about Lauren, follow her on Instagram & Twitter. Visit her website, or get in touch with her by saying