The Truth About Sunscreen, Choose Wisely

May 01, 2017

The Truth About Sunscreen, Choose Wisely

There are countless reasons to wear sunscreen. Sun damage is cumulative and while at first, not using sunscreen may just lead to a burn, the negative effects grow over time. Sunscreen helps to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can eventually cause skin cancer, premature aging, melanoma and several other complications. Most people know about the benefits of sunscreen, although not many people realize that many sunscreens actually have negative effects as well.

Most chemical-based sunscreens use ingredients that can harm your skin in various ways. Unlike natural physical sunscreens, chemical sunscreens penetrate into your skin to provide a barrier from the sun. This is detrimental for a variety of reasons. The list of potentially harmful ingredients is lengthy, but here are a few of the major players to look out for:  Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosolate, Octisalate and Octocrylene.

chemical vs. physical sunscreen

Each of these ingredients has been proven to have negative effects, whether it be from skin irritation, allergic reactions, or worse. Oxybenzone is generally considered to be the most common toxic sunscreen ingredient. It is responsible for damage to your skin and the environment. Studies have shown that oxybenzone can mimic estrogen in the body and this can cause hormonal disruptions. It can lower sperm count and even cause endometriosis in women. Ironically, some studies have claimed that oxybenzone is capable of damaging cells eventually leading to skin cancer.

With this information in mind, it is troubling to learn that oxybenzone is found in 80% of chemical sunscreens. Oxybenzone accumulates in the body over time and has even been found in mother's milk. While you might not notice immediate harmful side effects from using oxybenzone-based sunscreen, you may be sorry in the long run.

Need more reasons to switch to a natural, mineral-based sunscreen? Chemical sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate are destroying coral reefs. One ounce of chemical sunscreen has the potential to poison 114 million gallons of water! If you choose to wear chemical sunscreen despite the skin health concerns, then that's on you. But if you still use chemical sunscreen knowing that you could actively be destroying coral reefs, then that's not being very mindful of generations to come that will never be able to experience such oceanic beauty.

sunscreen ingredients

There are numerous benefits that come with switching to a mineral-based sunscreen. The active ingredients in these sunscreens are natural minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These ingredients won't seep into your skin like chemical sunscreens do. They provide instant sun protection on application unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20 minutes to become active. Natural sunscreens are much safer for your skin and the environment. Often times they are a bit pricier, but the benefits outweigh the couple extra dollars that you'll have to spend. Consider switching to mineral-based sunblocks the next time you make a sunscreen purchase.

Here are a couple mineral-based sunscreens I recommend:

Goddess Garden Organics

The Goddess Garden Organics sunscreen line is an awesome, all organic sunblock option that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect from harmful UV rays. They have a wide variety of sunblocks to choose from including sports sprays and facial lotions. They also have extra sensitive product lines for kids and babies. Goddess Gardens is safe to use in the ocean and doesn't harm the coral reefs. This line is more expensive than most chemical-based sunscreens, but is well worth the long term benefits for you, your family and the environment.

Badger Balm

The Badger Balm Sunscreen line utilizes all natural ingredients with zinc oxide to make sure you're protected from the sun. They have water-resistant sport lines that are perfect for trips to the beach or other adventures. Badger Balm also makes every day facial lotions to protect people with sun-sensitive skin. The price point with Badger Balm is higher than chemical sunscreens, but the avoidance of long-term health complications and environmental problems makes this a smart option.

 Other awesome mineral-based brands to check out:

Block Island Organics

Babo Botanicals

Written by Mike Krohn, Intern at Bighorn


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Sizing & Fit

Organic Cotton Flannel


For our button downs and popovers ,if you are looking for a more relaxed fit or plan on layering thicker shirts underneath we recommend you order one size up from your normal size.

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