By Ang­harad Evans

thermWant the advan­tages of sun­screen, with­out putting arti­fi­cial sub­stances on your skin or into the water? There are a vari­ety of top nat­ur­al sun­screens now avail­able that give you great sun pro­tec­tion with­out the guilt. But not all “nat­ur­al” brands offer the same ben­e­fits. Here is what to expect from the best nat­ur­al sunscreens:

1. An all-nat­ur­al for­mu­la­tion – The top nat­ur­al sun­screens use min­er­als to pro­vide a pro­tec­tive lay­er over the skin, and are com­plete­ly free of parabens and chem­i­cals that could irri­tate the skin or harm the environment.

2. Broad spec­trum pro­tec­tion – Most peo­ple know that it is the ultra­vi­o­let (UV) light in the sun’s light that you need to pro­tect your skin against, but few real­ize that there are actu­al­ly mul­ti­ple kinds of UV light—and that not all sun­screens pro­tect against both kinds of UV. The UV spec­trum is divid­ed into UVA and UVB. UVA light is what caus­es most sun­burn, and is all that some nat­ur­al sun­screens pro­tect against. But UVB caus­es prob­lems of its own: dam­age and pre­ma­ture aging to the skin, as well as a risk of skin can­cer. Imag­ine going to the beach all day and get­ting no sun­burn, but notic­ing that your face looks old­er after­ward! This is why “broad spec­trum” sun­screen, which pro­tects against both kinds of UV light, is so much more valu­able. The top nat­ur­al sun­screens offer broad spec­trum protection.

3. Mois­tur­iz­ing and nour­ish­ing prop­er­ties – Just because sun­screen is designed to pro­tect against the sun doesn’t mean it can’t do much more than that, too. A good sun­screen of any kind will help nour­ish, heal, and mois­tur­ize the skin. Nat­ur­al sun­screens achieve this with any of sev­er­al ingre­di­ents: aloe vera, coconut oil, shea but­ter or olive oil, among oth­ers. Vit­a­min E or var­i­ous nat­ur­al oils rich in antiox­i­dants can also be added.

4. Ade­quate water resis­tance – Most of the time when you put on sun­screen, it means you’re at the beach or the pool, which means swim­ming. Any­where else and there’s a good chance you’ll be sweat­ing in the heat. Either way, your sun­screen will be inun­dat­ed with water and only the best sun­screens will stay on and remain effec­tive. The best nat­ur­al sun­screens are designed to be water resis­tant and, like con­ven­tion­al water resis­tant sun­screens, they remain effec­tive for up to 40 min­utes of immer­sion in the water.

5. A wide range of SPF pro­tec­tion – Remem­ber, most peo­ple need SPF 50+ to pro­vide ade­quate pro­tec­tion in direct sun. High SPFs are good for long hours of expo­sure with­out shade, and low­er are use­ful main­ly for peo­ple who already have a tan and are doing con­trolled expo­sure with reg­u­lar breaks. The top nat­ur­al sun­screens are avail­able in a range of SPFs to fit everyone’s needs.

Not every nat­ur­al sun­screen will live up to these stan­dards. Make sure you’re using one that does!

Read More …