Organic/natural sunscreens for gardeners & other sunlovers

by Caroline Brown

Sunscreen is (or should be) a really important to gardeners and other outdoors-people. A couple of bloggers and readers yakked about it this topic this week on this and other blogs, and it was so interesting that I thought I'd summarize for others. It started because Veggie Guy was wondering about organic and/or natural sunscreens since the season of spending a lot of time in the sun is upon us. has a lot of "natural" sunscreen products. You can get a lot of natural skin care products there that you can't get in regular stores, and they have a much larger selection that most organic grocery stores.

But Veggie Guy & I were lamenting our lack of knowledge about what really constitutes an "organic" or "natural" skin care product–and also, if a sunscreen is to be truly effective against UVA and UVB rays, doesn't it have to have some level of chemicals? We ultimately decided that sometimes the best you can do is try to buy something with the least amount of bad chemicals even if you don't know much about them.

Calendula & Concrete chimed in, letting us know about a great tool called Skin Deep from the Environmental Working Group. (EWG are the same folks whose Farm Subsidy Database is so useful in seeing which big agricultural companies are getting the big bucks from our federal government. But I digress…easy for me to do since it's one of my pet peeves.)

Anyway, the Skin Deep database allows you to type in the brand name of a health and beauty product name, see the ingredients, and read an analysis of the hazards of each ingredient. It also lets you know if the product has been tested on animals and ranks each product on a scale of 0-5, 5 being the worst. The database supposedly has more than 14,000 producs in it! So, if you find a health & beauty product that you like on (or any other health & beauty product for that matter), check it out on the Skin Deep database and get the "real scoop" on the product.

In the same vein, Geraldine at Veggies Yarns & Tales made a good point about the sun when she said:

We apparently all need exposure to the sun, for our health and well-being, even though the sun continues to be viewed as dangerous and to be avoided at all costs….I know that nothing revies my spirits more than a day spent outdoors, enjoying the sun, preferable with a beach as part of the view!!

Her point is well-taken…sun is bad for our skin but it is also a source of life and well-being. That's why wearing sunscreen is so important. But if you, like me, are one of the many people who are interested in using products with no (or at least, less) unhealthy or unnatural ingredients, it's good to know that there are affordable alternatives to the chemical-filled big name brands. And before you buy, check the product on the Skin Deep database!

Image courtesy of the very hilarious folks at Simply Instrumental website (How I stumble across these websites is a mystery even to me…..)


One Comment to “Organic/natural sunscreens for gardeners & other sunlovers”

  1. Thanks for this interesting and enlightening post Caroline, very helpful. And yes, it is a topic that should be of interest to everyone who spends time outdoors.

    Went to the health food store today and were told that the natural sunscreen products they stock are flying off the shelf. People ARE looking for alternatives and that’s a good thing. Make it available and easy to find and more will come!
    Have a great weekend !

    BFN, Geraldine šŸ™‚

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