If you caught a glimpse of me in the flesh right now, you possibly wouldn’t believe that I am one of those nutcase who slathers sunscreen on in the dead of the Canadian winter when there’s a snow storm outside. Because, yes, right now I am very, very tan, but this was a long, unavoidable and unintentional process. I am very aware that this is contributing to premature skin aging, but I am taking most precautions (and I say ‘most’ because, unlike Vietnamese women, I am not willing to wear long jeans, socks, gloves, a hoodie, face mask and hat when it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside) and this is one of the few evils I am temporarily ok to deal with for the sake of traveling. I avoid the sun in the middle of the day, wear a hat, slather on a high SPF sunscreen, yet here I am, after four months in South East Asia, looking like an oompa loompa.
The problem is, I do believe that a lot of the commercially available sunscreens – as well as a lot of commonly used cosmetics, for that matter, can actually do more harm than good to you. It’s been discussed time and time again, notably by the Environmental Working Group (E.W.G.), that a lot of the chemical used in our cosmetics have a high toxicity level that can interfere with hormones and be carcinogenic. It’s always better to chose sunscreens with a physical sunblock, with ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, versus sunscreens with chemical sunblock, such as oxybenzone. To make matter worse, Richard and I both have rather sensitive skin that will react to just about anything, so I am extremely picky when it comes to choosing a good sunscreen to take on holiday.
Since summer is just around the corner for most of you, I thought I would present you with my selection of sunscreens I always return to!
1. JOSIE MARAN
Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
I would totally use the same sunscreen for my body and face if I could, but alas, body lotions break me out. This has been my favourite face sunscreen for several years. It smells lovely, leaves no white mark, goes on nice and thin under makeup (it’s a little dewy, but I really don’t mind) and most importantly, it doesn’t break me out. I’m a huge fan of all the Josie Maran’s range as a matter of fact.
2. BaBYGANICS Mineral-Based Sunscreen 50+ SPF
In my mind a sunscreen made for babies is just as efficient for adults as it is for babies, but with the potential bonus that the ingredients may (or may not!) be a little less harsh, so I always go for the baby formula. Victim of the marketing? Perhaps. This is my favourite low budget sunscreen for the body. The list of ingredients is somewhat scary and it isn’t on EWG’s sunscreen guide, but it doesn’t contain oxybenzone, PABA, phthalates or fragrances and I like that it is not perfumed. Possibly not the safest choice, but I still have it on rotation. The tube is big too, so it lasts for a while.
3. ALBA BOTANICA Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen Pure Lavender SPF 45
This smells lovely – a very light lavender scent. It goes on relatively nicely when your skin is dry despite being an all natural sunblock, but it’s a little thick and forget trying to rub it in once you’re a already sweaty. But the tube is so small! We had this while we were in Otres Beach, and it lasted us 2 days! I would buy it again though. Have you shopped at iHerb before? It’s my favourite online shop for natural beauty products and vegan food items! Use coupon code WEZ549 for up to $10 off your first order!
4. JOSIE MARAN Argan Sun Protection for Body SPF 30
I wonder if this is discontinued as I could only find it on Amazon. If so, it’s a shame, because this is truly a great option in the luxury range. I might just snatch these last 5 bottles for myself. It glides on easy, smells delicious, moisturizes nicely and is 100% natural.
5. LACOCOVIE Virgin coconut oil
This isn’t exactly a sunblock per se, but it is said that coconut oil has a natural SPF factor of 4. While I wouldn’t go about my day with only that slathered on to my skin, I protect my hair with this and soak my tips before bed every other night or so. It really helps keeping my hair from going any crazier that it already is (hello South East Asian humidity!) by keeping it hydrated and protected from the sun and the sea. As a bonus, I moisturize my body and face with this at night, use it as a shaving oil and drizzle it on my oatmeal. A delicious multi-tasking travel essential. This specific one I have is from Lacocovie (I bought it in Vietnam) and it has a very handy pump dispenser, but that would only work in hot climates.
As a vegan health nut, I believe that it is so important to take care of not only what we put inside our bodies, but also what we put on it. I know I am not aways doing everything as best as I could, and it’s especially hard while travelling to remote areas of the world to find replacements for my used up nice things, but awareness is a good step in the right direction, do you agree?
Here’s a few links on interest:
- Environmental working group’s 2014 Guide to sunscreens
- Cosmetic Database. Find out if the products you are using are bad for you
- David Suzuki’s dirty dozen cosmetic chemicals
- DIY all natural sunscreen! I plan on giving this a try next time I have a place to call home! 😉
- 50 things to do with coconut oil