It’s been a long season of pandemic darkness, largely spent isolated and indoors, missing the warmth of the sun. Now that we’re all emerging into the light, it’s more important than ever to protect ourselves from those damaging UV rays, while reaping all the benefits that sunlight has to offer.
Psychologically, the sun makes you feel good and brightens your outlook. Physically, it is a prime source of vitamin D, which is known as “the sunshine vitamin,” because it is produced in the body as a response to the sun. Vitamin D supports the brain, the bones, and the immune and nervous systems. But too much exposure to UV light can lead to lines and wrinkles on one side of the spectrum, and skin cancer on the other.
It’s important to apply an SPF product faithfully, all year round, whenever you head outdoors, even when the sun isn’t shining. For daily use, look for SPF 15 and up, and make sure to reapply at the beach. “Natural” sunscreens are formulated with minerals titanium dioxide or zinc oxide listed as “active ingredients.” These provide a physical block and reflect UV rays off the skin. Chemical ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene are not only potentially irritating, as they absorb into the skin, but have been shown to harm coral reefs and other marine life.
Here are recommended natural sunscreens that provide full-spectrum protection while you enjoy the sunshine this summer.
Nelly De Vuyst SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
Ecocert and Cosmos Organic certified, a little goes a long way! An award-winning new launch from Canada, this moisturizing cream is expertly formulated to melt into the skin and appear transparent, without a trace of whitish cast. Formulated with aloe barbadensis leaf juice to keep skin soft, supple and moisturized,
it protects from sun damage—and sunburn.
Luzern La Defense SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen
The new version of this luxurious sunscreen from Luzern—the elegant brand renowned for clean, age-defying products—is better than ever, now featuring moisturizing macadamia oil, argan kernel oil and polyphenols from jojoba and sunflower to protect and hydrate the skin. UV and blue light protection come from active ingredient zinc oxide, while thymus and edelweiss extracts guard against pollution and ozone damage.
Odacité Sun Guardian Day Creme SPF 30
This luxurious new lightweight cream—with non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients for UV protection—absorbs flawlessly into the skin. It is also formulated with pure glacial water and aloe barbadensis leaf juice, which hydrate the skin at the same time.
Éminence Organic Skin Care Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40
This broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen is, in a word, lovely. With broad-spectrum protection from active ingredient zinc oxide, it also protects from blue light and pollution. Lilikoi (passion fruit) seed oil contains antioxidant vitamin C; satsuma mandarin peel extract, larch tree and cocoa seed extract help soothe the effects of environmental stressors on the skin. Lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
Available in sheer and tinted versions, this physical sunscreen, good for even the most sensitive skin, absorbs neatly into the skin with no residue. Also featuring antioxidants— astaxanthin, grape juice, sunflower shoot extract—to help protect the skin, with raspberry seed and marula oils to keep skin moisturized. Zinc oxide is the active ingredient that protects against the damaging rays of the sun.
Mustela Mineral Sunscreen Stick Face + Body SPF 50
This handy little stick is perfect for travel, and good to carry with you wherever you go, just in case you need to touch up your SPF. Formulated for even the most sensitive skin—Mustela was originally founded for babies and children—it relies on zinc oxide as the active. Water resistant and super sheer, with moisturizing cocoa seed and shea butters.
Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30
Lightweight and loaded with plant oils, with sheer zinc oxide as the active that protects skin from UV rays and other environmental aggressors, this cute and cheerful tube is loaded with sun-protecting goodness. For those who live in cities, the line also features an Anti-Pollution Mist and Anti-Pollution Primer.
Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30
Since the day it launched, this product has been a personal favorite. The award-winning product keeps skin soft and hydrated, with herbal actives and plant oils that repair and moisturize the skin, including a host that are certified organic and wild-crafted. Zinc oxide is the active ingredient, and this product is unscented, fragrance-free and does not contain any essential oils or resins—which makes it recommended for all skin types.