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Products I Like – Safe Sunscreen

Safe sunscreenAs we move nearer to summer, the sun is shining more than ever. While it is good to feel the sun on your skin, we have to enjoy it responsibly. Did you know that in the past 35 years the rate of melanoma (skin cancer) among American adults has tripled, from 7.89 per 100,000 in 1975 to 23.57 in 2010, according to the National Cancer Institute? And the main contributing factor to the increased risk of skin cancers is excessive exposure to the sun. So in this post, I’d like to share with you my favorite safe sunscreen.

I love Badger sunscreen. I chose this safe sunscreen based on my 5 strict criteria: non-nanoparticle zinc oxide (the size of particles more than 100 nanometers), excellent UVA protection, good UVB protection, absolutely no questionable inactive ingredients, and a reasonable price.


Non-Nanoparticle Zinc Oxide Makes Safe Sunscreen


The active ingredient (that actually protects us from the sun radiation) of this safe sunscreen is zinc oxide. The zinc oxide used in it is non-nanoparticle; in other words, it does not have nano particles (very small particles). Nano particles may penetrate the skin and damage DNA.


Excellent UVA Protection and Good UVB Protection


UVA radiation does not burn the skin like UVB does. It is sneaky. Also, UVA protection is not linked to the SPF value; in other words, the higher SPF value does not mean better UVA protection.  At the same time, UVA radiation is very harmful and may be even more harmful than UVB because it affects deeper layers of skin. Thus, I wanted a sunscreen with excellent UVA protection.


Absolutely No Questionable Inactive Ingredients


There is no water in this safe sun screen formulation so there is no need for any preservatives, often a source of concern. There are no emulsifying agents either. I believe organic beeswax acts as an emulsifier in the cream. The other ingredients include a combination of organic sunflower Oil, organic jojoba oil, organic seabuckthorn, organic calendula, organic chamomile essential oil, and vitamin E derived from sunflowers depending on a formulation. (Badger carries baby, kids, active, and sport formulations.) So as you can see nothing to worry about. Instead, all those ingredients are known for their healing properties. Here is a good study on seabuckthorn. 


Reasonable Price


The price is $15.99 for 2.9 oz tube. You can purchase this safe sunscreen at MightyNest or Amazon.


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39 thoughts on “Products I Like – Safe Sunscreen”

  1. I use badger on my kids and myself and we love it. This article helped reinforce my decision to use this product. Thank you.

  2. Hi, I loved badger too but I find it hard to wipe on sometimes (and I don’t love the smell). Do you have any thoughts on BurnOut? I’ve been using a ton of that lately.

  3. Thanks very much for this article. I’ve tried a ton of different “safe” sunscreens, and found ThinkBaby to be my favorite based on texture. I also frequently use the on-the-go BabyGanics sunscreen, because of the convenience of the size (I have them stashed in every purse, diaper bag, car console, etc.) Just wondering if you researched either of these, and if so, did you find that either breached one of your safety-based criteria?

    1. ThinkBaby provides excellent UVA protection too and good UVB protection so it is comparative to Badger in that regard. It is not as clean in terms inactive ingredients as Badger but it is not too bad. BabyGanics is not on the EWG list so I can’t review it.

    2. ThinkBaby provides excellent UVA protection too and good UVB protection so it is comparative to Badger in that regard. It is not as clean in terms inactive ingredients as Badger but it is not too bad. BabyGanics is not on the EWG list so I can’t review it.

  4. Thanks Irina, appreciate the research. I did find BabyGanics susncreen on EWG and while it’s overall rating was 2, it does contain OCTINOXATE which has an individual rating of 6, which takes it off my acceptable list.

    EWG just released their 2014 sunscreen guide, which I always find really interesting:

  5. I love Bare Belly Organics mineral sunscreen! It’s all-natural, organic sunscreen that received a rating of 1 on the 2014 EWG recommended safe sunscreen list. It goes on so easily. I’ve used Badger in the past and didn’t like how thick it was.

    Bare Belly has an awesome body stick as well as a face stick. Both are a beeswax base with non-nano zinc and cold-pressed organic essential oils. It smells great, too. Their 4 ounce cream is made with a Shea butter base. I ordered their Pure Protection Pack and received all 4 of their products. Love all of them.

    Check them out!

  6. Thank you again Irina!! I actually tried Badger and I hated how difficult it was to rub in. We all looked like ghosts. I’m already a pale person so I need NO help in that dept. Thanks Molly for the Bare Belly Organics. I use only ratings of 1 or below on EWG site but never thought about non-nanoparticle again what would we do without you Irina!?

    1. Hi Jennifer, I have not tried Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm but from the description and the rating by the EWG, it appears to be an effective and safe sunscreen. While it offers SFP of only 15, the UVA protection is excellent. Microfine zinc oxide means that it is bigger than nano particles. Studies found that it is big enough not to penetrate the skin and therefore it is safe. Let me know if you have other questions. And I hope you receive my monthly newsletter as it is the best way to keep in touch.

  7. what about Goddess Garden sunscreen?
    here’s the list of ingredients:
    Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.4%, Zinc Oxide 6.0% (Sunscreen).
    Inactive Ingredients: Aloe vera*, glycerin*, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl stearate, glyceryl stearate citrate, glyceryl undecylenate, glycine soja (soybean) oil*, helianthus annus (sunflower) oil*, iron oxide, lecithin, polyhydroxystearic acid, radish root ferment filtrate, stearic acid, tocopherol (vitamin E), xanthan gum. *Certified Organic.

    I’ve also been using Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen Facial for my face, but now that I look at the list of the ingredients, I’m not sure. What do you think?

    Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Homosalate 7.5 %, Octocrylene 7.5 %, Ethylhexyl Salicylate 5.0 %, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane 3.0 %, Titanium Dioxide 1.0 %
    Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract(1), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract(1), Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract(1), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Sorbitan Olivate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol(1), Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate. (1)Certified Organic Ingredient

    1. Hi Natalia: Goddess Garden is one of the cleanest but has a few ingredients that have very little data about them. The other one has a petroleum ingredient and an ingredient associated with allergy. ~Irina

  8. dear Irina, i notice TOCOPHEROL and CHOLECALCIFEROL are ingridients in a lot of the safe sunscreens. But don’t they cause cancer?

    1. Hi Magna: Where do you see CHOLECALCIFEROL? As for Tocopherol, aka vitamin E, I have not seen any studies linking it with cancer. However, sometimes tocopherol can be derived synthetically. In that case, it may be contaminated with hydroquinone, which is toxic and even carcinogenic if used in big quantities as a skin bleach. Badgerbalm informed me that they use natural vitamin E. I did check into that before recommending their sunscreen. Thank you for bringing up this important question. ~Irina

  9. My daughter has found the sunscreen below on good guide. It rates it as a 10 for health. It is very hard to find anything that high. One question about this is that we cannot find it almost anywhere. It can be bought on amazon and e-bay. It seems like good sun care why would it not be in the local store or health food store? What do you think about it?
    L’oreal Paris Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen SPF 30 Crystal Clear Mist:
    Concern level: high medium low * safe use exception controversial
    Ethyl Alcohol *
    Vitamin E
    C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
    Dicaprylyl Carbonate
    Grapeseed Oil
    Acrylate / Octylacrylamide Copolymer
    Octocrylene *
    Octyl Salicylate *
    Avobenzone *

    Also, do you use and ewg for information? Do you use any other site to help you with information?
    Thank you for all of your hard work.

    1. Hi Jodi: Yes, I use both databases as starting points for my research. In my opinion goodguide is more lenient and would rate well even products with ingredients of concern such as this on. I personally would not use it on me or my family. Did you see that octocrylene may cause allergic reaction? I do not think I want to take chances. ~Irina

  10. Hi Irina, I was wondering, would any of the Badger sunscreens be acceptable? And what do you think on Cotz Sunscreen products?

  11. Hi Irina,
    I recently came across a brand of suncreen that my husband and I both love (he appreciates that this one doesn’t have as much visible white in his stubble ha).
    What are your thoughts – EWG gives them at 2, like Badger.

    1. MD Solar Sciences – Quick Dry Body Spray SPF 40

    Actives: 3% Avobenzone / 5% Octisalate / 2.75% Octocrylene
    SD Alcohol 40, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Polyester-8, Caprylyl Methicone, Diisopropyl Adipate, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, EDTA, Phytic Acid, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Tetrahexlydecyl Ascorbate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

    2. Mineral Crème SPF 30 (face)
    Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB Sunscreen

    Actives: 2% Titanium Dioxide / 17% Zinc Oxide
    Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Butyl Octyl Salicylate Polysilicone-15, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Iron oxide, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ubiquinone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Squalane

    1. Hi, Leah: MD Solar Sciences sunscreen is non-mineral and thus offers only moderate UVA protection. I prefer to have at least good and possibly great UVA protection. Mineral Crème sunscreen is mineral (by the way I did not see it rated by the EWG) and has a pretty high percentage of zinc oxide, which makes me believe that it should have good UVA protection. At a first glance, the ingredients look okay with the exception of PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, which has carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane contamination if the manufacturer does not utilize vacuum stripping at the end of the polymerization process. Let me know what you think. Know that you can hire for a phone consultation for more detailed conversation. ~Irina

  12. thanks for the great post Irina.
    I’ve tried Badger, but it’s such a pain to put on …it leaves a white residue (like a lot of zinc oxide sunscreens do) and it’s really “dry” to spread. Kids might be ok looking like that, but I’m not the one to venture in public looking like a ghost ;)) So I’m still in search for a perfect sunscreen.

    Any recommendations for face creams with spf protection?

    1. I know the feeling. 🙂 Unfortunately, this ghostly look is what protect from UVA and UVB radiation the best. I know it can protect from being social too. 🙂 ~Irina

  13. Irina,

    What are your thoughts on the By Valenti Organics Sunscreen?
    The ingredients are the following:

    Active Ingredients: non-nano Zinc Oxide – 8%, sunscreen grade non-nano Titanium Dioxide – 10%

    Inactive Ingredients: Organic Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil, Organic Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter, Organic Cocoa (Theobroma Cacao) Butter, Organic Carnauba (Copernica Cerifera) Oil.

    I would like your opinion before making a decision, since you recommend other products by the same company.

    1. Hi, Maria: the ingredients look safe to me. Something to keep in mind is that titanium dioxide is inferior to zinc oxide in terms of UVA protection. So, as with any sunscreen but with titanium oxide sunscreen more so, I would still limit my sun exposure while wearing it. Titanium dioxide does not provide a whitening effect so this product should not make you look like a ghost. 🙂 If you try it, let us know what you think, please. Thank you. 🙂 ~Irina

    1. Hi Elena:

      It is not bad. I like that it has 20% zinc oxide as an active ingredient, which means that it should have a good or even excellent broad spectrum protection. As far as I can tell, they disclose all their ingredients, which I applaud. There are a few petroleum-based ingredients in it that would prevent me from recommending it on my blog or use it myself as I adhere to my strict criteria. But I would say if you can’t find anything better and you need to use something right now and your skin is not super sensitive, give it a try. Does it make sense? I do not want to be in a position of saying “no” whereas you can burn your skin and face dire consequences. Let me know what you think. ~Irina

  14. What are your thoughts on the new Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen? SPF 30 & 50 are rated 1 on EWG, Face is 2. We go through sunscreen very quickly here and sometimes we have to resort to what’s at the nearest CVS/target. Thanks!
    Thanks again for your wonderful work! Your blog is very addicting!

    1. Hi, Stephanie: the issue with EWG rating is that if there is no data about an ingredient, they rate it 1, which can be misleading. I see that Neutrogena now uses zinc oxide, which was what I recommend for the active ingredient. As for the other ingredients, I would like to see improvement. I do not like ingredients made with carcinogenic ethylene oxide, which can leave 1,4-dioxane behind as a contaminant. ~Irina

  15. Irina, There is a scented version of the baby sunscreen…I think its vanilla. Is the scented version still ok to use or do you specifically prefer the one linked?

    Thank you,

  16. What do you think of the new “clear zinc” badger sunscreens? They have a whole page about how they don’t feel like they can call them “non-nano,” but the work like they are non-nano.

  17. Hi Irina,

    My friend read that titanium dioxide is carcinogenic. I’ve read mixed opinions. What are your thoughts? It’s in lots of sunscreens. I wish you’d do a face (including tinted to mitigate the white cast) and body sunscreen guide like you’ve done with hair color, shampoo, nail polish, etc.! I’ve purchased them all. Or do you have one that I’ve missed? I wear sunscreen daily and can’t handle the Badger thickness and white cast. Hoping for better options! Thank you!

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