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The Best Non-Toxic Face Sunscreen Guide

Non-toxic face sunscreen. A photo of a girl whose face is covered with a sunflower.You are about to learn how you can quickly know which face sunscreen is effective.  It means it should protect you from short and long wave ultraviolet light.  I will also share my top non-toxic face sunscreen options.

 

 

According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.  Studies have shown that the majority of melanomas (the most dangerous skin cancer) are caused by sun radiation.  Yikes!

 

 

That’s why it is important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis.  And of course, it helps to slow down the appearance of wrinkles.  In addition, it is critical to choose a non-toxic sunscreen that protects from both short wave ultraviolet rays (UVB) and long wave ultraviolet rays (UVA) radiation.  Recent studies have shown that UVA rays damage skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal (deepest) layer of the epidermis.  This is where most skin cancers occur (source).

 

 

The best non-toxic face sunscreen UV filters

 

 

All active ingredients of sunscreens – UV filters – can be divided into two groups: chemical and mineral.  Chemical UV filters include the following chemicals: oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone.  According to Environmental Working Group research, these ingredients are linked to adverse health effects, including endocrine disruption and allergy.  In addition, they do not protect from UVA rays well.

 

 

The best UV filter in terms of safety and effectiveness is non-nano zinc oxide.  I use sunscreens only with non-nano zinc oxide on my family and me.

 

 

Non-nano zinc oxide

 

 

“Nano” means one-billionth of a meter (1 meter = 3.28 feet).  So, it is used to denote something very, very small.  The reason we want non-nanoparticled zinc oxide is that some nanoparticles are so small that they can be absorbed through the skin.   And we do not fully know the ramifications of that.

 

 

The cosmetic downside is that non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens leave some whitening effect.  The reason mineral sunscreens make you look like a ghost is that their particles are bigger (non-nanoparticles), and they sit on top of the skin.  The thicker layer you have sitting on your skin, the more protection you have from UVA.  Manufacturers of non-nanoparticled safe sunscreens work hard on their formulations to minimize the whitening effect.

 

 

In this non-toxic face sunscreen guide, you’ll find face sunscreen options that I deemed the safest.  The listed names came out of many sunscreens which my blog readers have asked me about.  They are all made with non-nano zinc oxide and their inactive ingredients do not pose health concerns. You’ll learn my opinion about them based on my personal experience.

 

 

Blissoma Photonic – Light Shifting Solution SPF 25 Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen, 28 ml, $39

 

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active12.5% micronized (non-nano) zinc oxide

Inactive: Infusion of Camellia sinensis* (black tea) leaf, Euphrasia officinalis* (eyebright), Centella asiatica (gotu kola) leaf and stem*, Vinca minor (periwinkle) leaf*, Hydrangea arborescens root*, Viola tricolor (violet) leaf, and Silybum marianum (milk thistle) seed*, Aloe barbadensis Juice*, Micronized zinc oxide (12.5%), Leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, Sesamum indicum (sesame) Seed Oil*, Niacinamide, Argania spinosa (argan) Oil*, Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glycosides, Rubus ideaus (red raspberry) Seed Oil*, Squalane, Extracts of Olea europaea* (olive) leaf, Symphytum officinale* (comfrey) leaf and root, and Echinacea purpurea* root, Oenothera biennis (evening primrose) Oil*, Rubus fruticosus (blackberry) Seed Oil*, Calophyllum tacamahaca (tamanu) Oil*, Gluconolactone, Grain Alcohol*+, Xanthan Gum (and) Lecithin (and) Sclerotium Gum (and) Pullulan, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Populus tremuloides (aspen) bark extract, Astaxanthin, Bergamot FCF essential oil, Citric Acid.

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

As you can see, this mineral face sunscreen has a lot of beneficial botanical ingredients.  Even the preservatives, populus tremuloides (aspen) bark extract and leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, are botanical.  I do not see any ingredients that raise health concerns.  Of course, some people can have a reaction to even natural and botanical ingredients.  That’s why I encourage you to look at the ingredients.

 

 

I love the fact that niacinamide (vitamin B3) is used.  Studies show that it helps protect from UV light damage, improves skin elasticity, and reduces blemishes and inflammation (source).  On a rare occasion, when I have a few breakouts, I use Blissoma Smooth A+ – Correcting Serum that contains 4% niacinamide.  This is probably the main reason it takes care of my breakouts right away.

 

 

Effect

 

 

Blissoma non-toxic face sunscreen has practically no whitening effect.  The reason for that is that Blissoma uses a low percentage of non-nanoparticled zinc oxide (only 12.5%).  In addition, zinc oxide is micronized.  It means that it is smaller than your typical non-nano zinc oxide, yet bigger than nanoparticled zinc oxide.  Furthermore, a relatively high SPF of 25 is achieved due to the herbs and oils in it that have natural SPF properties.

 

 

It is non-greasy and light, and is likely to work well for oily or normal skin.  I tested it on a recent trip to the beach.  Before going to the beach or swimming pool, I applied it to my face, and it protected my skin well.  I did not get any burn or even tanned.

 

 

Lastly, I love the fact that it is packaged in glass – less environmental pollution.

 

 

In conclusion, this was my favorite mineral non-toxic face sunscreen of 2018.

 

 

To buy

 

 

You can buy this product on Blissoma website.

 

 

Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28, 30 ml, $48

  

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: 17% non-nano zinc oxide

Inactive: non-gmo rubus ideaus (red raspberry seed) oil, non-gmo prunus domestica (french plum seed) oil, organic macadamia ternifolia (macadamia nut seed) oil, non-gmo aleurites moluccana (kukui seed) oil, organic persea gratissima (avocado) oil, organic simmondsia chinensis (jojoba seed) , oil, organic beeswax, tocopherol (non-gmo vitamin e from sunflower).

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

This sunscreen contains a number of nourishing and healing plant oils.  There is only one emulsifier (substance that binds water and oils), organic beeswax, which means that it may separate.  Accordingly, you will have to shake it well before applying, especially when you first open it.  Emulsifiers may be a source of irritation for sensitive skin.  Hence, their absence makes this mineral non-toxic face sunscreen perfect for people with sensitive skin.

 

 

This product is made without water, so no need for preservatives which can be another source of concern.  All in all, I think this is a perfect face sunscreen for sensitive skin.

 

 

Effect

 

 

The whitening effect is minimum.  Due to the absence of water and emulsifiers, the consistency of this mineral face sunscreen is close to facial oils.  When my skin was on the dry side, it was good for me, and I didn’t have to use a moisturizer first.  If your skin is oily, you might find it greasy, though.  I believe that it will work great for somebody with dry skin.

 

 

Lastly, I love the fact that it is packaged in glass which is good for environment.

 

 

To buy

 

 

This sunscreen is available on Kari Gran website (I do not get any credit for your purchases there), Credo Beauty (a retailer selling safer skin care and cosmetic products), and Amazon.

 

 

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer Sheer, 2 oz, $32

  

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: 20% non-nano zinc oxide

Inactive:  Pyrus malus (organic apple juice)*, cocos nucifera (organic coconut oil)*, vitis vinifera (organic white grape juice)*, aloe barbadensis (organic aloe leaf juice)*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbitan stearate, ricinus communis (castor seed oil), polyglyceryl-10 laurate, magnesium sulfate, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil)*, simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba seed oil)*, tocopherol (Vitamin E), sodium hyaluronate (vegetable hyaluronic acid), phenethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, citrus reticulata (mandarin) & citrus aurantium (petitgrain) pure essential oils *certified organic ingredient

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

I like how light and non-greasy this face sunscreen is.  Because of water and typical emulsifiers, it has the texture of a typical lotion.  It goes on very white at first, but then dissipates quickly.

 

 

This non-toxic face sunscreen has water, so antibacterial preservatives must be used.  I am so glad that the company honestly lists them (not every company does that, unfortunately).  The preservatives used in this mineral face sunscreen are phenethyl alcohol and ethylhexylglycerin.

 

 

Phenethyl alcohol

 

 

This preservative is rated 1 out of 10 (10 being the most toxic) in the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database.  Phenethyl alcohol occurs naturally in the environment.  It is produced by microorganisms, plants, and animals.  The World Health Organization listed no health concerns using phenethyl alcohol as a food flavoring (source).

 

 

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel found it to be neither an irritant nor a sensitizer in human studies.  The Environmental Working Group rates it only 1, but marks ‘irritation’ as a high concern.  I looked into that and this is what I found.

 

 

In animal and human studies, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel found it to be a mild irritant in undiluted form.  In addition, it is not a sensitizer at a concentration of 50%.  I do not have information about the amount used in the Juice Beauty sunscreen.  However, according to my knowledge of how skin care products are made, it should be way lower than that.

 

 

Ethylhexylglycerin

 

 

Medical literature describes a few cases of allergic reaction to ethylhexylglycerin.  In some of those cases people had unhealthy and sensitive skin to begin with.  Because of its popularity, there have been more reported cases of allergic contact dermatitis.  As a result, in 2017, the American Society of Contact Dermatitis added it to its core allergen series (along with sodium benzoate and lavender) at concentrations of 5%.

 

 

I have studied the vast majority of preservatives available to skincare product formulators.  Moreover, I have consulted with product formulators on preservatives (learn more about super bad preservatives here).  Based on my knowledge of other choices for preservatives, I added ethylhexylglycerin to my approved list of preservatives.

 

 

In conclusion, I decided to include this sunscreen in this non-toxic face sunscreen guide.  I have not had any problems with it and like the way it feels on my skin.  It has a bit of an odd scent, though.

 

 

To buy

 

 

You can purchase this sunscreen on  Juice Beauty (make sure to choose ‘sheer’ option), Credo Beauty (a retailer selling safer skin care and cosmetic products), and Amazon.

 

 

Annmarie Sun Love – Natural Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20, 2 oz, $39.95

 

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: 15% non-nano zinc oxide

Inactive: *Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Zinc oxide (15%), *Cera alba (beeswax), *Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, *Cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, *Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Mineral oxides [Titanium dioxide, Mica, Iron oxide, Yellow iron oxide, Brown iron oxide, Zinc oxide], CO2 extract [Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn berry)], *Mauritia flexuosa (buriti) fruit oil, Essential oils [*Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Theobroma cacao (cacao absolute)]. *Organically grown or wildcrafted

*Organic or wildcrafted

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

To deal with the whitening effect, they added mineral pigments such as mica, iron oxide, yellow iron oxide, and brown iron oxide to create a tint.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I am concerned about possible heavy metal contamination in mineral pigments.  However, I believe the topical application of pigments with trace amounts of heavy metals within the FDA guidelines is okay.

 

 

My concern is more about a possible inadvertent disproportionately high heavy metals contamination.  Companies can avoid this risk if they buy their pigments from a trusted US or European supplier.  Or better yet, if the company sends the pigments they buy to an independent lab for testing.  However, to test every batch might be cost prohibitive for small businesses.  So far, I have not found a company that tests its products on a regular basis and would be willing to back up its claims of pigment testing with test reports.

 

 

With this said, Annmarie claims to buy their pigments from a trusted US supplier.  They even showed me their supplier documentation reflecting that heavy metals are within the FDA guidelines.

 

 

Effect

 

 

I tried the old formula of the non-toxic face sunscreen with water in it and, consequently, a preservative.  It worked okay for me.  There was a whitening effect, and the tint blended with my skin tone well enough, but not perfectly.  It is hard to say whether you will like the tint for your skin tone.  But the good news is that you can purchase a sample for $5 with no shipping charge, which comes with a $5 coupon.  Good deal, huh?

 

 

To buy

 

 

The sunscreen is available on Annmarie website.

 

 

Badger Balm Tinted Sunscreen – SPF30 Unscented Cream, 2.9 oz, $15.99

 

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%

Inactive: *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Fruit Extract, Iron Oxides (C.I. 77492, C.I. 77499) (and) Jojoba Esters.

*=Certified Organic

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

As you can see, the ingredients are very simple, botanical, and good for your skin.  This non-toxic face sunscreen may be a good option for people with very sensitive skin.

 

 

I tried it on vacation where I needed something more protective from both UVA and UVB rays.  The tint was lighter than my skin tone, so my face looked like I’d chosen a bad foundation.  But it was still a much better option than the un-tinted Badger sunscreen.

 

 

There are lots of Amazon reviews you can read through to figure out if it is worth a try.  Like the majority of companies, they do not test their pigments for heavy metals.  However, they buy them from trusted European suppliers, which is a big plus.

 

 

To buy

 

 

You can but this non-toxic face sunscreen on Badger Balm website or Amazon.

 

 

Hana Organic Skincare Everyday Crème (with 15 SPF), 15 ml, $38

 

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: 12% non-nano zinc oxide

Inactive: *rose, *calendula & *lavender-infused *apricot oil; *jojoba & *rosehip seed oils; *cocoa butter; aloe vera gel; *rose hydrosol; pure filtered beeswax; non-nano zinc oxide; *vegetable glycerin; vitamin E; Leucidal liquid SF ECOCERT; *geranium & *lavender essential oils 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

The sunscreen is very moisturizing, and the whitening effect dissipates after a few minutes.  The texture is like that of a traditional crème which I know many of you like.  I think it would be perfect for anybody with normal or dry skin.  The common difficulty with traditional crèmes is that they must contain water and preservatives.

 

 

Preservative

 

 

The preservatives are often a source of skin irritation or even endocrine disruption.  I love Karen’s (the owner and formulator) choice of a preservative.  It is Leucidal Liquid which consists of isolated peptides secreted by bacteria during the fermentation process of radishes with Leuconostoc kimchi.  Leucidal® Liquid is accepted by Ecocert as an ingredient in certified organic cosmetics.  Nevertheless, when I’m going to stay in the sun for more than 2 hours, I additionally wear a hat, because the sunscreen’s SPF is only 15.

 

 

To buy

 

 

This non-toxic face sunscreen is sold on Hana Organic Skincare website.

 

 

Crunchi Sunlight Facial Sunscreen – SPF 30

 

 

The non-toxic face sunscreen ingredients

 

 

Active: Zinc Oxide 15% (non-nano)

Inactive: Water (Aqua), Glycerin*, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil*, Propanediol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Jojoba Esters, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglyceryl-2 Isostearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil*, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Pulp Powder*, Lycium Chinense (Goji) Fruit*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Powder*, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin. *Certified Organic Ingredients

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

This is the sunscreen I use now.   I believe that there are no ingredients of concern.  This sunscreen has very similar ingredients used in the Crunchi Daylight Cream that are described here, including emulsifiers and preservatives.  By the way, Crunchi also uses the ethylhelglycerin preservative that we talked about above.

 

 

I have something to add regarding the concern that the American Society for Contact Dermatitis added ethylhelglycerin to the list of allergens.  The good news is that ethylhelglycerin is usually used well below 5% concentration at which there might be an allergic reaction.  Crunchi uses it below 1%.

 

 

Effect

 

 

The Crunchi non-toxic face sunscreen leaves some whitening effect, and it is absolutely non-greasy.  In fact, it is not very moisturizing, which I believe is a good thing because it re-assures me that it stays on my face, forming a barrier that protects me from UVA sun rays.

 

 

Along with Juice Beauty face sunscreen and Badger tinted sunscreen, it offers the most powerful protection from UVA and UVB.  That’s why I like to use this product – it gives me peace of mind.

 

 

Crunchi sunlight facial sunscreen is my favorite face sunscreen of 2019.

 

 

To buy

 

 

To buy this product, visit Crunchi website.

 

 

So, what is next?

 

 

All in all, finding a perfect non-toxic face sunscreen is a bit tricky.  A physical barrier is still important even if you wear a mineral face sunscreen.  I am glad that I’ve found these options for you.

 

 

If you’ve used any of these zinc oxide sunscreens, please share your experience, so we can help each other out.

 

 

If you’ve found a face sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide that you like, please let us know about it in the comments.  Or simply tell us which out of these sunscreens you would like to try.  Don’t be a stranger!  Remember, your input makes a huge difference!

 

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48 thoughts on “The Best Non-Toxic Face Sunscreen Guide”

  1. Hi, Irina, I am so glad you reviewed sunscreens. I’ve been looking for a good, physical sunscreen without titanium dioxide for a while. I liked the texture of SkinCeuticals but it contains titanium dioxide 🙁 I tried Marie Veronique and loved the concept and REALLY wanted to love it but it didn’t apply well. It dried off way too fast for an even application and it had a yellowish tint. The one that I found and currently use and like is called Suntegrity SPF 30 without parabens, nano-particles and other nasties.They have tinted versions and a non-tinted. The tinted version was too yellowish for my skin tone so I got the non-tinted. It is a face sunscreen and a primer. It still has a slight whitish cast right after the application but it goes away after 10 min. Check out that brand and see what you think about it.

  2. Great post. Our whole family uses ABC sunscreen from Arbonne ( toxic chemical free)and we do love how well it works on our fair skin… it does take some good rubbing in…but I don’t mind. I was actually wondering about other sunscreens that have ” bug repellent” in them. Are they just adding essential oils to help ward off pests and does it work?

  3. Why did this not come out 2 days earlier?? 🙂 I just placed an order to try Juice Beauty CC Cream. It’s SPF 30, non-nano Zinc Oxide 20%. I was going to get the tinted moisturizer (BB cream), but decided to add the anti-aging. 🙂
    Will definitely try Hana (Badger is just so hard to blend) depending how Juice Beauty performs or if the ingredients aren’t the best. EWG has it as an overall 1, with all ingredients a 1 or 2 and only 2 with no data (polyglyceryl-10 laurate and petitgrain oil).

    Thanks again for all you do!

    Active Ingredient:
    Zinc Oxide 20%
    Inactive Ingredients:
    Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice)*,
    cocos nucifera (organic coconut oil)*,
    pyrus malus (organic apple juice)*,
    vitis vinifera (organic white grape juice)*,
    caprylic/capric triglyceride†,
    sorbitan stearate,
    ricinus communis (castor seed oil),
    polyglyceryl-10 laurate,
    magnesium sulfate,
    helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil)*,
    simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba seed oil)*,
    tocopherol (Vitamin E),
    magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C),
    sodium hyaluronate†,
    malus domestica (apple fruit cell culture extract),
    vitis vinifera (grape fruit cell extract),
    citrus medica limonum (lemon leaf cell extract),
    iron oxides,
    phenethyl alcohol,
    ethylhexylglycerin†,
    citrus reticulata (mandarin oil),
    citrus aurantium (petitgrain oil).
    † = plant derived
    * = Certified organic ingredient

    1. Stephanie, I actually forgot about Juice Beauty sunscreen. I used it for a few years, the non-tinted version and I kind of liked it. It also goes a bit white (just like any physical sunscreen would) but it did not irritate my reactive skin or make me break out. The ingredients are also pretty “clean”. The way I used to apply the non-tinted version was by mixing it w a bit of Dr. Hauschka bronzer (just a few drops). Then I would wait about 10 min and blot the residue and forget about it 🙂 I hope you like it. If I was to rate it, I would say that was my second favorite after my current choice Suntegrity.

    2. Hi, Stephanie: I think polyglyceryl-10 laurate and petitgrain oi are okay. I am not a huge fan of ethylhexylglycerin as it is linked with skin irritation in the Skin Deep. To be fair, I have used products with this ingredient and did not experience any problems. This product is also formulated with multiple goals in mind, which can be too hard to fulfill. For instance, there is sodium hyaluronate, which is an anti-aging igredient that, in my opinion, should be used as a separate product and consciously so you do not face its side effects. As far as I know, products with sodium hyaluronate should be applied on the damp skin. I personally still like Hana better, again just by looking at the ingredients. But again, it is just my opinion and I have not even tried Juice Beauty. Let me know how you like it, if you use it. Let me know what you think. ~Irina

  4. It is very important to remember that the SPF listed is based upon using one ounce of sunscreen. Yes, one ounce it what we are supposed to be applying and I’m always shocked by how few people know this.

    1. Hi, Hannah: thank you for bringing this up. It is one ounce per exposed areas of the body, which might not very clear. I think a better way to say it is 2mg/cm2, which would be roughly 0.25 teaspoon per 0.155 squared inch. Yes, it is a lot of sunscreens. ~Irina

  5. Hi Irina! Can you let me know your thoughts regarding the sun prep SPF 30 from hynt beauty ? Here are the ingredients:
    Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 9%

    Ingredients: Aloe Vera Gel (Purified Water & Aloe Vera Barbadensis), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Krameria Triandra (Rhatany) Root Extract* , Hyaluronic Acid (plant derived), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Oryza Sativa (Rice Bran) Oil*, Laminaria Algae Extract*, Comfrey Root*, Dexapanthenol, Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Extract*, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice Root) Extract*, Sodium PCA, Squalane (Plant Derived), Allantoin (Plant Derived), Leucidal Liquid (Radish Root Natural Preservative), Tocopherol Linoleate/Oleate (Vitamin E), Wild Pansy Extract*, Pycnogenol (Pine Bark Extract), Riboflavin Root Extracts, Alpha Bisabolol (Chamomile)*, Plantain, Beta glucan

  6. Thank you, Irina. You have guided me well on my quest to live a less chemical life. After switching to mineral sunscreen, I have tried Badger’s tinted sunscreen that you recommend, Think Sport Everyday Face tinted sunscreen, and Elta MD SPF 41 tinted sunscreen. Badger, though I trust and regularly use their other products, I found to be fairly thick and difficult to blend in, but I like the feel and tint of the Think Sport and Elta MD. Based on ewg ratings, I prefer Thinksport and use it daily. Would you have any further insight either of these? Also, I have friends who are fans of the Arbonne sunscreen, but I’ve not been so sure. Any thoughts?

    1. Thank you, PJ, for sharing this helpful information. I will definitely take a look at these brands in more detail when I am updating this post next time. You are right about Arbonne. Thank you. ~Irina

  7. Beverly Villarreal

    Hi Irina,
    I’ve actually been going without sunscreens because of the chemicals in them, so I was happy to see your research. I got the $5 sampler from AnnMarie’s for the SunLove. I was surprised at how greasy it felt, plus the tint was too light and still looked “ghostly.” Then I read in Southern Living’s Ask Dr. Molly (veterinarian) column that “Pet-specific brands of sunscreen are available, but many products made for humans are okay for pets–except ones containing zinc oxide, which is toxic if ingested.” My dog loves to lick any bare skin she can find, so now it seems I won’t be able to use zinc oxide-based sunscreens. Just wanted to make this known to others who have pets that lick their skin.

    1. Hi, Beverly: It is nice to hear from you again! How have you been? And I am sorry that you did not like Annmarie sunscreen. I don’t understand why Dr. Molly thinks that titanium oxide or even endocrine-disrupting chemicals are okay for dogs to ingest but not zinc oxide. Did she provide any reason or sources to support her statement? What brand are you using now? Thank you, again! And if you are reading this comment and any products I have listed in this post work for you, please let us know, too. I highly appreciate that! ~Irina

  8. Beverly Villarreal

    Yes, I didn’t understand why the vet thought other chemicals were OK to ingest. I didn’t know if you had heard of any of this before and maybe knew otherwise on the zinc oxide. I was totally unaware of pet sunscreens and was surprised she said human sunscreens were OK to use, given they usually tell you not to use human shampoos to bathe your dog with! I will have to research the zinc oxide toxicity claim for dogs and see what there is to it. I currently don’t use sunscreen on a regular basis; I stopped using them a few years ago when I heard that the chemicals actually increase the risk of sun cancer, and that sunscreens can interfere with the sunlight creating vitamin D for our bodies. I’m not sure about the validity of either of those claims , but decided to go without. I’m not someone who hangs out at the pool or beach, but I do like to work in the yard and have been known to set up a large patio umbrella over an area I’m weeding if it’s in the sun too much 🙂

  9. Beverly Villarreal

    Hi Irina,

    I found some good info at https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/zinc-poisoning-toxicity-in-pets. Surprisingly, quite a few items commonly present in households contain zinc, such as:
    “Skin creams (diaper rash cream, protective ointments, sunscreens, etc.), shampoos, deodorants, vitamins, and over-the-counter cold remedies and lozenges
    U.S. pennies (pennies minted after 1982 are 97.5% zinc)
    Metal nuts, bolts, board game pieces, zippers, toys, jewelry, staples, galvanized metal items, and other common metal items (some of these may contain large amounts of zinc)”

    The takeaway basically for how much zinc is toxic or poisonous to pets:
    “It all depends on the pet’s size, the form of zinc ingested, and how much was ingested. Certain forms of zinc are more readily absorbed by the body than others. For instance, ingestion of a zinc oxide cream may only cause stomach upset, whereas ingestion of even one penny can cause life-threatening toxicity.

    If your pet ingests a topical cream containing zinc, you may not need to worry unless it was ingested multiple times or in large amounts. However, certain types of topical medications (e.g., skin cancer or psoriasis treatments) can be very dangerous – or even deadly – to pets. Call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline if you’re ever unsure.”

  10. Beverly Villarreal

    So based on the information about toxicity to pets, for me personally, I would be comfortable wearing a zinc oxide-based sunscreen as long as I kept my bare parts away from my dog, who is about 70 lbs. If she gets in a lick or two, it probably won’t be harmful to her. Hopefully the smell won’t be appealing enough to her to encourage her to lick, and I will need to shower it off when I no longer need to be wearing it.

  11. Irina, thanks so much for this article. I learned a lot, and am happy to find out that my current sunscreen meets the standards! I use Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ by De Vita, made with zinc oxide. It goes on very thin and nearly invisible. Highly recommended!

  12. I have been using and loving the Badger Sunscreens so far, but it does leave my skin oily and I am afraid it is making me break out, so I was wondering what your opinion is on Suntegrity Skincare 5 in 1 Tinted Moisturizing face sunscreen? You get it in 4 different shades… Here are the ingredients:

    Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Capric Caprylic Triglycerides (Coconut Oil Extract), Water (Aqua), Sorbitan Stearate (Plant Derived), Glyceryl Stearate (Plant Derived), Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate (Plant Derived), Hexyl Laurate (Plant Derived), Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cetyl Dimethicone (Mineral Derived), Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt), Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Organic Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Astaxanthin (Algae Source), Hyaluronic Acid (Plant Derived), Chlorella Emersonii (Red Algae) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Extract, Punica Granatum (Organic Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide*, Ethylhexylglycerin*, Iron Oxide

    * Paraben-Free Preservative

    I know you are not a fan of Ethylhexylglycerin, but it is marked as a safer preservative choice on your preservative cheat sheet.

    Please let me know what you think Irina, I would really appreciate it.

    1. Martie:

      I will consider including this product when I update this post. This is so good that you are asking. I will be updating the preservative cheat sheet, too. Sorry, I wish I could just do it at once. 🙂 ~Irina

  13. The Hana Organic Skincare Everyday Crème is heavenly!! I’m thrilled to have ordered it and will sure be trying their other products! Thank you for sharing it with us! 🙂

  14. Jessica Espinosa

    Hello Irina 🙂 Summer is soon approaching and I’m going to be on the lookout for a healthier sunscreen for my face. Any updates on this post? Thank you very much for your time!

    1. Thank you for reminding, Jessica. I will do my best to get to it as soon as I can. Is there a specific face sunscreen you are looking into? ~Irina

  15. Jessica Espinosa

    Hello Irina,
    Thank you for your response!
    These are the sunscreens that some of the other ladies in the previous comments were in question about. Maybe one of these sunscreens listed below meet your criteria and standards. I appreciate your time in researching these products to help so many people. I’m looking forward to your next edition of the Safer Face Sunscreen Guide! Take Care! Thank you.

    1) Suntegrity – “5 in 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen – Tinted, Light (comes in different shades)

    2) EltaMD Facial Sunscreens

    3) Devita – Daily Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30

    4) Hynt Beauty – Sun Prep Broad Spectrum SPF 25

      1. Jessica Espinosa

        Thank you Irina 🙏🏼 for your research and updating your Sunscreen Guide!! You are such a sweet lady for working on this so quickly. Right in time for this hot weather!

  16. Stacey Finney

    Hi Irina
    I often use Badger Sunscreen but I notice this year EWG has a tiny bar under the cancer category. Should I be concerned about that?
    Thanks

    1. I believe it is the best rating you can get. I have not seen any sunscreens with no concerns. We should always look at the alternatives to know if we are making the best decision. And in this case, the alternatives are way worse. 🙂 Does it help? ~Irina

  17. Loriann Deangelis

    Thank you Irina, Sunscreen is on my list of things to buy. Since I had the reaction the PPD in the organic hair dye my skin is very sensitive to the sun as well as many chemicals out there on the market. Being of Italian heritage this is new to me as I was able to tolerate the sun better than others. Last year I broke out in hives from the sun! I need to be very careful on what I use on my skin because I am now have cross sensitivity to many other chemicals that I never even thought twice about. Especially PABA. Your findings are much appreciated!!

  18. Hi Irina,

    I’m wondering if you have looked at Devita Face Sunscreen spf 30. It goes on so nice and not white at all. It’s almost too good to be true. Ive been using it for a while since it’s rubs on so easily.

  19. Hi Irina! What did you decide about Suntegrity – I just bought that one based on Mommy Board suggestion.

      1. As a darker skin tone, pigmented physical sunscreens are a must – no amount of time or rubbing removes the white tint. I’d love if you included your reviews of those in future years (I understand the reason you did not this year) because it would be so helpful. And hopefully your reviews of tinted sunscreens and the attention it gets will spur action for companies to go EcoCert made in the US or Europe! For me, I am using Sunintegrity 5 in 1 tinted because it’s the safest non-whitening sunblock I’ve been able to find that doesn’t turn me pinkish white. I’d love to hear from you or others on their view or other suggestions specifically for darker toned people.

  20. Hi Irina,
    Are there updates on your sunscreen reviews? 🙂 I’m in the market for a sunscreen this year. Last year I used All Terrain Aqua Sport liquid but I thin it’s been discontinued. What do you think of Beauty Counter’s sunscreen stick? Ingredients: Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 15.4% Ingredients: Coco-Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Nonanoate, Mica, Coconut Alkanes, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Beeswax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Lauryl Laurate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*, Punica Granatum Seed Oil*, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil*, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Silica, Eschscholzia Californica Leaf Cell Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract. *Organic

    There is also an All Terrain sunscreen cream that is unscented that I may try. Active Ingredienst: Zinc Oxide 16.0% Inactive ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methyl Cellulose, Caprylyl Glycol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Extract, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum, Extracts of Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladderwrack), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed, Laminaria Digitata (Sea Kelp), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Citric Acid.

  21. I tried the Annemarie Gianni sunscreen but it was too greasy for me. I use Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 and LOVE it!

  22. Thank you for all your in-depth research Irina. Because of your great review, I used Blissoma’s Photonic for 3-1/2 months while wintering for the first time in Florida this winter. I love it. It’s not whitening. It feels very nice on my skin. And I never got a sunburn (except the time when I didn’t use it.) Altho it’s pricey, I also used it on my arms and legs when they were going to be exposed extra long. Prior to finding out about Blissoma, I was mostly living by “no-sunscreen is safer than toxic-sunscreen.” I’m not a “sun-bather” but I really enjoy being outdoors. Last summer I tried Annmarie’s but I thought it was greasy feeling, which made my hair stick to my face, it was whitening on my skin so I only used it working around my yard. One other thing about it was that it had a sweet scent to it that always made me think that the neighbor’s baking was wafting over into my yard–finally one day I realized it was the sunscreen I had on and there went that image of my neighbor baking away and never sharing with us! …I feel good about using Blissoma on my skin daily…Now we just need some sun-shiney days!

  23. Hi Irina,

    Would you pls suggest a good baby formula. I always follow your suggestions.
    This will help me a lot and my baby.

    Thank you

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