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Important Sunscreen Facts

Best Cruelty Free Sunscreens

When it comes to sunscreen, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a product that provides broad spectrum UVA / VUB protection. I’ve got some important sunscreen facts to share with you. If you haven’t already, you need to visit my friend Christine’s blog at 15 Minute Beauty and download her awesome SPF Ingredient Chart to help you shop for the right sunscreen. I downloaded her cheat sheet to my cell phone for easy future shopping reference.

You want to make sure that your SPF has been FDA approved and comes with a Drug Fact Label. Check that label to see the ingredients used and their percentage. Ingredients that protect from UVB are many and they vary greatly. Ingredients that protect from UVA are ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone and zinc oxide.

I personally feel better with physical sunblocks such as Zinc Oxide and Ititanium Dioxide, but both physical and chemical sunscreens can protect your skin. I also think it’s better to have SPF products with antioxidants included, since they increase the effectiveness of the SPF and they help to neutralize free radicals.

Since my rosacea diagnosis, I get my entire body checked once a year by my dermatologist. I have several moles and freckles that I keep an eye on to make sure that they don’t change color or shape. If you have moles, you need to keep an eye on them and if they change in any way, they need to be looked at by a doctor.

The reason I’m adamant about wearing sunscreen is that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the USA. It’s the second fastest growing cancer in women, so it’s very important to do everything possible to prevent it. Additionally, I never tan. I always burn and peel. So I do my best to make sure that I never burn by applying sunblock and then reapplying as necessary.

All skin types need sunscreen, from the lightest to the darkest. UV rays can come in through windows, so even if you’re not outdoors, you need SPF if you’re near a window. Tanning – whether from a tanning bed or outdoors in the real sun – puts you at risk for cancer and it is best to avoid it. If you want to be tan, check out Beautisol sunless tanner. It’s the only self-tanner I’ve ever used. It didn’t turn me orange, it didn’t stink, and it worked exactly as it claimed.

Reapplying sunscreen is one of those mysteries to most people. If you’re outdoors, in the water or sweating you should probably reapply every hour (though check to see if your SPF is water resistant). If you’re not sweating, you can reapply every 2 hours. To apply enough sunscreen to your body you need at least one ounce. Everyone always says about one shotglass, and if you look at that amount in your hands it’s a LOT of product. You should apply SPF 15 minutes before you head outdoors so that it can take effect.

About the Numbers

  • SPF 15 – protects against 93% of UVB rays
  • SPf 30 – protects against 96% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 – protects against 98% of UVB rays

Even with SPF, you should be careful of the sun between 10 am and 4pm, which is the hottest part of the day. If you’re in a hot, humid climate like I am here in Florida, you have to be very careful of the sun, especially during the summer. Make sure you’re protecting your eyes with 100% UVA / UVB blocking sunglasses, and don’t forget about SPF for your lips.

You should never rely on just your makeup to provide you with enough SPF protection. You should apply your moisturizer with SPF liberally, and then apply your makeup as needed. Most likely you will not apply enough makeup to be adequate protection on its own, but it is nice to have the additional layer of protection from the sun.

Paula’s Choice Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer with SPF 25 & Antioxidants

  • Titanium Dioxide 8%

Paula’s Choice offers so many different sunscreens to suit everyone’s different skin needs. I just chose my favorite sunscreen by Paula’s Choice which is for normal to dry / very dry skin. I also like the RESIST Super Light SPF 30, but it is tinted and I have to mix it to make it match my skintone. It’s meant for oily skin.

PCA Skin Active Broad Spectrum SPF 45

  • Zinc Oxide 8.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 3.0%

PCA Skin is the line that my aesthetician recommends more than any other brand. I’ve tried their Weightless SPF 45, which was great when my skin was on the oily side.

LaVanilla The Healthy Face SPF 40

  • Zinc Oxide 5.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5%

I’ve used this moisturizer with SPF on and off for years. It’s soothing to my skin.

Supergoop! Skin Smoothing Mineral Sunscreen with Olive Polyphenols SPF 40

  • Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10.1%

This is a new sunscreen from Supergoop.

The Honest Company Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Zinc 20%

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Suncreen SPF 30 Fragrance Free

  • Zinc Oxide 14.5 %, Titanium Dioxide 2.0 %

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47

  • Zinc Oxide 6.4%, Titanium Dioxide 5.1%

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Octinoxate 5.5% , Zinc Oxide 8%

Yes to Blueberries SPF 30

  • Zinc Oxide 6%), Titanium Dioxide 4.9%

What are your picks for the best cruelty free sunscreens? Do you prefer physical or chemical SPF?

  • From our partners
    • Rebecca Wright

      I have been using Paula’s Choice facial sunscreens for years and love them because they do not irritate my rosacea. Kiss My Face has a nice spf 50 sunscreen spray that is not too greasy for the rest of the body. I can even use it on the 3 year old granddaughter and she gets no irritation even though it is chemical rather than physical. The key to the spray is to spray it on the hands and then rub on…the pump sprayer on it is wonky.

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        So I actually learned that spray sunscreens may not be that effective because say it’s SPF 50 and you spray it on, but you don’t then rub it in with your hands, you’re probably not getting it concentrated enough on the skin to protect it, so it can be like applying SPF 15 (at least according to the research I read), so if you use a spray you need to rub it in.

        • Rebecca Wright

          Good to know that. I always rub it in because otherwise it feels splotchy and sticky. I use the spray because it feels lighter and does not rub off on my clothes like lotion but it can be trickier to use and finding one without alcohol or other irritating ingredients is difficult.

          You mentioned the Supergood Mint spf lip balm before. Does it have a strong flavor to it? Other spf lip balms I have tried just taste so terrible.

          • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            They have mint and berry flavor. I like both, but prefer the mint. I don’t think of them as strong

    • Beth

      And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the edge of your ears! I’ve had SO many family members develop skin cancer on the tops of their ears, because they were dutiful about putting sunscreen everywhere, but never thought about the ears (and for the guys, if going bald, the pate).

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Yes! though thankfully for me, between my hair and my hat, my ears are protected a bit more than most.

    • http://cinseven13.blogspot.com/ cinseven13

      Reapply, reapply, reapply. Unfortunately I hear people say they apply an SPF 100 once and think they’re good for the rest of the day.

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Yes exactly! That’s why I mentioned the whole – if you’re sweating / in the water, apply every hour, and if not, every 2 hours. People seem to never reapply.

    • http://10amBeauty.com/ Alison M

      I am such a stickler about SPF and prefer to go oxybenzone free. I rarely let my kids play outside between 2pm and 4pm because the sun is at its peak. Thankfully we have a very shady backyard so I feel a lot more comfortable with them being outdoors.

      I’ve been meaning to find a body SPF for myself that I can use every day (other than what I use for the beach/pool). I tan very easily and rarely burn (except for my lips, which burn so quickly), but I still don’t want to take chances. I wear a wide brimmed hat at home and stay under a shade tent at the beach. I’m curious about the Sugargoop one you have listed. I tried another version in the past that left me very oily. But I’d love to give the brand another try!

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        I haven’t tried the new Supergoop one but I like the ingredients, which is why I listed it :)

    • Argos

      Any tips for reapplying sun screen when you’re wearing makeup? I try my best not to wear makeup if I know I’ll be out but sometimes there are events where I like to have a bit on.

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        My tip is if I’m going to be outside, I don’t wear foundation and I take my moisturizer with SPF with me. If you want to wear makeup I would wear tinted moisturizer with SPF, take it with you, and then wash your face and reapply every 2 hours. but really, if you’re going to be outside for several hours, it’s better to avoid foundation. I don’t really know any other way to protect your skin, but would love to hear more tips.

    • trumpette

      Excellent post!! Thank you! My favourite is the Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy SPF50 – I love it. It is with me every day, at all times so I can reapply constantly. I’m always surprised at the reaction I get at work when I apply my sunscreen before I cycle home: ‘what, don’t you like to be tan?’ and when I explain that I wear sunscreen to protect my skin from UVA/UVB people are incredulous!! With all the available info on sun damage I’m shocked that a lot of people are still so blase about it and think putting on sunscreen is not necessary. Yikes!!

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Does it work well around the eyes? And yes, it shocks me that here in Tampa some people still skip sunscreen! I’m like… the sun is REALLY strong here.

        • trumpette

          Occasionally it doesn’t sting my eyes but as it has on a few occasions, I tend to use it outside the eye area and use Paula’s Choice Hydralight moisturiser with SPF30 in the immediate eye area as a sunscreen. It does add an extra step to my daily routine and I considered the Hydralight as a sunscreen-moisturiser combo but I’m obsessed with one of her Resist moisturisers (my skin has never looked this great) and I feel more comfortable with SPF 50!!

    • http://truecolorjoy.com truecolorjoy

      my favorite is live live sunscreen with msm. it absorbs well, leaves no white cast and doesn’t ball up my foundation. I rule out any products if they have chemical sunscreens.

      • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        I really prefer sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, since they seem to be best for my skin. I’ve not heard of Live

    • http://bluefilmjournal.blogspot.com/ Ricky Bleu

      My faves are definitely the Paula’s Choice products (though they discontinued my favorite sunscreen! [the one for dry skin]), the Alba Botanica, and Kiss My Face Face Factor. My favorite for my body is also from Kiss My Face and it comes in this big squirt bottle.