• Amy Raimondi, NTP, MLIS

Safer Sunscreen

Updated: Jun 17

Chemical sunscreens have been in the news again, and it's still bad news.


Use a physical sunscreen, not a chemical sunscreen, and make sure your physical sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide.

In addition to allowing harmful ingredients into your bloodstream, chemical sunscreens don’t totally block UVA rays so not only are they toxic but they aren't even 100% effective.

Beautycounter's Countersun line, is a safer option. Beautycounter prohibits chemical SPF filters due to their high potential for skin irritation. Instead they have physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreens. They use non-nano zinc oxide and evaluate its particle size to ensure there is low potential risk of respiration when sprayed, and that it does not enter the bloodstream for harmful effects. They never use octinoxate or oxybenzone, ingredients that may contribute to the collapse of coral reefs, making their sunscreen safer for both people and our oceans.


We use the sunscreen stick on our baby, the lotion on ourselves, and the spray for convenience. It doesn't smell like chemicals or artificial tropical fruit. It has a nice, light (and totally natural) citrusy-scent.


Update 6/2020: Beautycounter has added a sheer sunscreen specifically for the face. Countersun Daily Sheer Defense for face has zinc oxide to provide SPF 25, as well as chicory root extract, Vitamin E, and squalane (derived from olives) to provide moisture and nutrients to the skin. It makes a great daily sunscreen and can be worn alone, or with foundation or addition moisturizer.


I personally think it rubs in nicely without leaving too much of a white cast, but because folks with darker skin tones or who are very tan may struggle with physical sunscreen leaving their skin looking purple, Beautycounter launched a tinted sunscreen mist. It comes in light/medium and medium/deep. Forbes named it one of their seven best sunscreens this year. It gives paler folks a nice glow too, if you haven't built up a base tan yet! See the images below of what they look like before being rubbed in and after.


If you forgot to apply sunscreen and got a little too much sun, Beautycounter also has you covered. They recently launched an after sun cooling gel. It feels cool and tingly like peppermint, but without giving me the chills.

It has longer lasting comfort than using just aloe (I personally feel like aloe only feels nice for about a minute after you put it on before the coolness wears off). It has a lovely tropical scent called "Monoi", which is all natural from jasmine, orange flowers, ylang ylang, vanilla, and coconut -- NOT from synthetic toxic fragrance. It's formulated without ethoxylated solubilizers or parabens which could have potential health effects. Instead, it's formulated with safer ingredients, including a corn-derived emollient and plant-based skin conditioners such as aloe leaf juice, apple fruit extract, and carrageenan.


Another great option for sunburn is the multi-tasking cleansing balm, which can be used as a topical treatment on any sunburn. It contains Vitamin C which will help tame sunburn. Put it on before bed and wake up to a glow instead of a burn!



Have you checked what your current sunscreen rates in the EWG Healthy Living app? Download the app and see what your sunscreen (and other personal care products) rate. All of Beautycounter's rate at a 1 or a 2. Other sunscreens that rate well are Badger, thinksport, All Good and Raw Elements.



Ever hear of eating your sunscreen? Read this post to find out what foods you can eat and what supplements you can take to help prevent and manage sunburn.


Interested in trying safer skincare? Fill out this form and I will send you some free samples and get you added to my mailing list so you know when the best deals are!

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I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner™ is not trained to provide medical diagnosis or treatment of any medical or pathological condition, illness, injury or disease.  No recommendation or comment made by a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner™ should be construed as being medical advice or diagnosis.

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