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Everything You Need To Know About SPF

Over the last weekend I got asked a lot about sunscreen and it became evident that most people just don't know what to look for in a good sunscreen and why one ingredient is better than the other.

I'm going to break it down real simple and give you a few examples of good sunscreens to use.

(If you would like to skip the article and just see the products, just scroll down to the bottom)

5 Things To Look For:

  • Contains Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide

  • Chemical free

  • Non-nano

  • Reef Safe

  • Contains No Vitamin A

Zinc oxide or Titanium Dioxide

Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide are mineral ingredients in sunscreen that sits on top of the skin and acts as very powerful sun protectors against UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens means that they are natural. Zink is the best sunscreen protector against UVA and UVB (even UVC) rays. Titanium Dioxide is great as well, but does not offer as much UVA protection.

Titanium Dioxide is effective at blocking ultraviolet-B and short-wave ultraviolet-A rays, but it is less effective than zinc oxide at blocking long ultraviolet-A rays. Combining both in a sunscreen is ideal.

Mineral sunscreen can leave a white residue behind and most people don't like to use it for that reason. There are new sunscreens out there has improved by offering clear versions. Although most 'clear' zinc oxide sunscreens will always be a little white when applied to the skin, some do dissipate after 10 min or so. Just remember the more clear the sunscreen is, the more you have to reapply, more on that in the non-nano particle section.

PS: Mineral sunscreen is also non comedogenic which means it won't clog your pores.

Chemical Free

Ingredients in chemical sunscreen: Oxybenzone Avobenzone Octinoxate Homosalate Octisalate Octocrylene

Chemical sunscreen gets absorbed into the skin and lays below the skin surface absorbing the UVA and UVB rays and disintegrating them through a chemical reaction. Although you won't burn, this will leave your top layer of skin open to aging and skin damage. The EWG has also shown that some of these chemicals can enter your bloodstream and cause havoc on your endocrine system which causes your hormones to fluctuate. This is especially not good for kids and pregnant woman.

Non- Nano

The theory- Zinc can be harmful when absorbed into the bloodstream. Sunscreens with non-nano particles means that the sunscreen is not able to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

But there is not that much evidence that nano zinc particles actually do get absorbed into the bloodstream by using lotions. In fact the EWG has rebuff this theory according to research done in Germany.

Now on the other hand, Zinc can be harmful when inhaled through powder and sprays. So when buying spray SPF you want to look for non-nano and always apply it in a ventilated room, preferably outside(plus you don't want that on your carpet and tiles anyway).

Mineral sunscreen companies have started to make zinc particles smaller (nano particles) so that it can be absorbed into the skin easier and appear clearer on the skin, especially on darker skin tones. This is why you see advertising for nano particle zinc SPF. I personally like these for day to day wear under makeup etc, but not for the beach. Be aware that the the smaller the particle of zinc the less SPF coverage you get. So you have to reapply a lot.


Reef Safe

I'm big on the environment, without oceans we all would not be here, so we have to take care if it. Chemical sunscreens have been linked to coral reef bleaching and nano particles being absorbed by the fish and affecting their hormones. We have to take care of our oceans so it can take care of us. Support Reef Safe sunscreens

No Vitamin A

Retinyl palmitate and other vitamin A ingredients are powerful antioxidant that are linked to anti aging properties, but if it is exposed to long periods of sun it turns toxic and cause skin tumors and increase the growth in skin lesions according the the EWG. Vitamin A is good when you are not in the sun, but stay clear of it in Sunscreen and lip balms.

phew! I'm out of breath just typing all this.

I did not go into organic vs natural. In my eyes although zinc - and Titanium oxide are natural chemicals, I don't feel like we can consider them organic. They are after all a chemical compound... it's a gray area for me.

5 Sunscreens That Is Liz Approved:

  • Attitude - For the sporty outdoors

  • Babo - Sheer Spray Sunscreen - Non-nano ( I like to use this on the beach). I expected it to be more white when applying it but it goes on very clear. Always rub in spray on SPF, otherwise you will get a blotchy suntan

  • Coola Organic SPF - I wanted to give you a good organic option. It's somewhat clear but still pretty white.

  • Keys Solar RX - love this for everyday, it goes on very clear and great for under your makeup. This is not suited for long sun exposure like beach days since this is a nano particle SPF . It's fragrance free but has a natural odor.

  • Amavara - One of my readers actually put me onto this sunscreen. It ticks all the boxes of a good sunscreen and I love that it is made in the USA. Thank you reader!!

Shoot me some questions if you like to know more


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