July 12, 2024


Food never sleeps.

Best Non-Toxic Safer Sunscreen Reviews

9 min read


While I can easily go without makeup for months, safer sunscreen is something I use daily.

Sunscreen is a personal care product on my “must have” list! Because some sunscreens contain toxic ingredients and have even been recalled, this product category is something I’ve researched quite a bit.

Researching Clean Living

I’ve been in the health industry since the early 1990s and during the last 30 years, I’ve made it my mission to create the healthiest diet and overall lifestyle that I can for my family.

Part of that is understanding that what we put on our bodies is as important as what we put in them –for me, clean living doesn’t stop with diet or the foods we eat.

Homemade Deodorant

Personal Care Products for Clean Living

I also believe the substances we introduce to our living space are equally impactful to our health, so I’ve created my own non-toxic household cleaning products and personal care products.

As you can see, the intersection of health with holistic living is about so much more than what goes in your mouth.

Clean Living and the MTHFR Gene

Many of us become so focused on diet that we forget about what we put on our skin. That’s a mistake because our skin is our largest organ of absorption, and what we apply to it is critical to our health.

The skin not only absorbs products but also eliminates waste. Because of this, it’s often called the “third kidney,” which is just another reason I treat mine with care.

Because I have the MTHFR genetic mutation this is even more crucial for me. People with the MTHFR gene have impaired detoxification, so avoiding products with toxic ingredients is of the utmost importance.

Safer Sunscreen

Growing up in California, my friends and I baked in the sun. By the time I was in my 20s I wasn’t outside much, I spent my time indoors building my first company.

Once I reached my 30s I started thinking about aging. My top beauty secrets? Sleep, diet, and moderate exercise.

Safe to Use Sunscreen

I also realized that applying good sunscreen to my face might help prevent wrinkles. Since then I’ve used sunscreen on my face religiously. When I go out for a walk I also wear a baseball hat and sunglasses.

It’s great to use such items to protect the delicate skin on your face. It’s also important to find a fantastic sunscreen that does not contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals and other toxins.

Safe Sunscreen When Pregnant

When we were starting our family I realized that safe sunscreen when pregnant was critical, as the tiny developing embryo is more vulnerable to harmful substances than children and adults.

Sunscreen Recall 2021

Fast forward to 2021, and the fact that a number of sunscreen products were recalled due to harmful toxicity levels.

I was relieved that I had done so much research into personal care products from head to toe, including sunscreen. Protecting my family is a job I take seriously.

Frighteningly, Sunscreen Recall 2021 involved benzene, a very toxic, carcinogenic chemical, that causes multiple health issues in adults and children alike.

Why is benzene so harmful? This chemical compound can be lethal because it causes the cells in the body to work incorrectly. Benzene exposure can cause bone marrow cells to lower red blood cell production and it can cause white blood cells in the immune system to fail.1

Some industries use benzene to make other chemicals used in plastic products and more. Benzene is also used in lubricants and detergents, as well as pesticides.2

Sadly, mainstream sunscreen brands contaminated with benzene in Sunscreen Recall 2021 included:

  • Coppertone
  • Neutrogena
  • Aveeno

I was troubled by these findings, especially given the fact that so many trusted household name brands were recalled.

What are Safe Sunscreen Ingredients?

Below you will find what’s not in my sunscreen because the following items are not safe.

The list includes an example of endocrine disruptors such as parabens, oxybenzone, and a number of other unhealthy ingredients that may be hiding in your sunscreen. Buyer beware, and read labels carefully!

  • Aerosol Spray -application method that can expose lungs to hazardous chemicals
  • Aluminum -coloring agent and neurotoxin that affects diverse metabolic reactions
  • Oxybenzone -photostabilizer and endocrine disrupting chemical that leads to adverse cellular change
  • Parabens -preservative and endocrine disrupting chemical that can lead to hormonal imbalance
  • Propylene Glycol -skin conditioning agent that can lead to eye, skin, and lung irritation as well as organ system toxicity

Sunscreen Causes Cancer?

Finding benzene and endocrine disrupting chemicals in name brand products that we put our trust in can lead to concerns that sunscreen causes cancer.

Given these types of incidents, I find researching healthy living more important than ever!

How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen

Wondering how to choose a safe sunscreen? First, read labels to make sure the ingredients above (and others) are not in the product.

Second, mineral-based sunscreens like zinc oxide products tend to be safer than chemical sunscreens.

EWG Safe Sunscreen Ratings

In addition to reading labels, you’ll want to go to the Environmental Working Group website for guidance.

EWG Ratings

I trust the EWG ratings and use them myself to verify that the products I use are not full of the toxic ingredients above.

Safe Sunscreen Zinc Oxide

I don’t use chemical-based sunscreens even though many people choose them, finding them lighter and easier to rub in. I prefer healthier alternatives with zinc oxide used for blocking out the sun.

The main active ingredient in the sunscreens I choose is zinc oxide which is unique because it is a truly broad spectrum blocker that protects from UVA and UVB.

Zinc oxide scores well with the Environmental Working Group because it provides “strong sun protection with few health concerns.” EWG also rates it highly because it doesn’t break down in the sun.

Which Sunblock is Best

Finding the right sunscreen isn’t as easy as you’d think. I went through product after product for several years until I landed on my non-toxic sunscreen favorites.

What is Safe Sunscreen?

By now you have a pretty good picture of what makes a sunscreen safe. Along those lines, below are sunscreens full of safe ingredients (many, good enough to eat) and they work very well at blocking out the sun. Here I list them in order of favorites top to bottom!

TruBaby Water & Play Sunscreen

TruBaby Water & Play Sunscreen

TruBaby Water & Play Broad Spectrum Protection has a long name, but short ingredient list. I love that. This is one of the cleaner sunscreen products I’ve tried and recommended.

Can I tell you a secret? Because my skin is so sensitive I like to use personal care products that are gentle enough for an infant.

Beware though, not everything that’s labeled “baby safe” actually is, so you’ll still need to check ingredients even when using baby products.

TruBaby has fantastic ingredients which include aloe vera juice, pine resin, coconut, castor oil, magnesium (from Epsom salt), jojoba and green tea oils, and pomegranate juice –what more could a mom ask for?!

I keep this sunscreen by the door and in my car so that I can apply it as needed, i.e., prior to going out in the sun.

  • 20% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 30
  • Non-Toxic Ingredients
  • Fragrance-Free
  • EWG Rating = 1

Waxhead Sun Defense Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Sunscreen Lotion

Waxhead Sun Defense is one of my favorite products because it gets the highest rating from the Environmental Working Group and smells natural and amazing.

The moment I opened this product and rubbed it into my hands I LOVED it. Waxhead smells like olive oil and I am a huge fan of putting food quality ingredients on my skin.

In addition to zinc oxide, this sunscreen contains only 6 ingredients –spring water, extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and vitamin D.

  • 25% Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 35
  • Water Resistant
  • Non-Toxic, Hypoallergenic Ingredients
  • EWG Rating = 1

Thinksport Everyday Face Mineral Sunscreen

Thinksport Everyday Face Mineral Sunscreen is another one of my favorite sun-blocking products that I use almost every day.

Made with aloe, cranberry seed oil, castor oil, vitamin C, and magnesium, Think Everyday Face feels great going on and rubs right into my skin, without leaving any sticky, oily residue.

I love the glow this sunscreen gives me as well as the slight beige tint that blends right into my skin –it’s almost like a makeup product.

This sunscreen is moisturizing, incredibly effective, light, and versatile enough to use at a pool or the beach.

Another plus? With real jojoba and coconut oil, it has a very light tropical scent that reminds me of sitting under a palm tree by the ocean.

  • 20% Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 50
  • Non-Toxic Ingredients
  • Water Resistant
  • EWG Rating = 1
Badger Kids Sunscreen

Badger Kids Mineral Sunscreen Tangerine & Vanilla

I love Badger Mineral Sunscreen because it goes on smoothly, rubs in and absorbs into your skin easily, and is incredibly moisturizing without being greasy.

While I usually prefer products that are unscented, and downright will not purchase products that contain chemical fragrance due to the cancer causing3 chemicals that fragrance contains, every now and then, a product comes along with a gorgeous scent made from essential oils.

Badger Mineral Sunscreen is that product –I adore the subtle hints of tangerine peel oil and vanilla fruit extract.

  • 22.5% Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 40
  • Water Resistant
  • Contains 98% Organic Ingredients
  • EWG Rating = 2
Babo Botanicals Mineral Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

I use Babo Botanicals because it’s made with ingredients like shea butter and calendula.

This product is extremely easy to rub in and blend properly and doesn’t leave a weird white residue on your face. It’s not oily at all which I love, but it does provide my skin with moisture, important, given that I live in the dry, high desert of Colorado.

Babo is lightly scented from calendula oil and smells subtle but distinctly wonderful. It also contains food-grade ingredients like cacao butter and coconut oil. If EWG gave it a rating of 1, this product would be at the top of my list.

I love it for the beach because sand doesn’t stick to it.

  • 20% Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 50
  • Non-Toxic, Hypoallergenic Ingredients
  • Water Resistant
  • EWG Rating = 2

Is Vitamin D From the Sun

I’m often asked is vitamin D from the sun? The answer to that is yes and no.

First, what is vitamin D? It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that helps regulate calcium and phosphorus, both critical in building bone.4 Further, studies show that vitamin D may be helpful with the following:

  • Reducing Cancer Cell Growth
  • Controlling Infections
  • Preventing Inflammation

What Vitamin D Deficiency Causes

According to nutrition researchers at Harvard, “Vitamin D deficiency may occur from a lack in diet, poor absorption, or having a metabolic need for higher amounts. If one is not eating enough vitamin D and does not receive enough ultraviolet sun exposure over an extended period, a deficiency may arise.”

Vitamin D deficiency may cause the following:

  • Migraines
  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia (soft bone disease)

What are Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Depression

As someone with a disease of malabsorption (celiac) and a neurological disease these types of findings are of interest to me –I’ve tracked my vitamin D levels closely through quarterly blood work for more than two decades.

Sun Exposure Boosts Vitamin D Levels

Because optimal vitamin D levels are essential for people with MS, I take a daily D supplement and get good sun exposure every day.

When my level gets back in my optimal range I will stop taking the vitamin D supplement.

Although I wear sunscreen on my face religiously, I’m not afraid to get some good sun exposure on my arms and legs every day!

It helps with my vitamin D levels and the sunshine feels great when I go out for my daily walks.

Clean Living and Sun Block

The sunscreen debate can be a heated one (pun intended), and I take the middle path, using it on my face, but not the rest of my body. What’s your strategy when it comes to the sun? Do you use sunscreen or not?

Safer Sunscreen is an oldie but goodie from archives. I first shared this post in 2017.


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