A lake getaway + Why we only use Non-toxic Mineral Sunscreen

best nontoxic sunscreen

It was a quick 3 days but it was one of those getaways that felt longer than it was. In a good way. In a refreshing way. Heading into the trip, I couldn’t quite think past how we’d survive the 5+ hour drive with a potty-training 21 month old who had never been on a car ride longer than 2 hours (which she slept half of). She’s been on over 20 plane rides in her life but being restrained in a carseat, or anywhere for that matter, is not something she’s cool with.

Miraculously we survived the long car ride with minimal fussing and no peepee accidents. We “cheated” in ways (Diego on the iPad and diaper for her to nap in) but it worked, so hey, I’m calling it a success.

We stayed with our friends in their lake house and enjoyed our time swimming, boating and eating of course. Ellie suprprisingly (or maybe not so surprsiningly) LOVED the power boat. It took her a few minutes to get used to the speed and motion but by the end of day, she was pushing us away so she could sit by herself – and she even peed on her potty we brought on board. She must have been comfortable to do that!

Our friends’ son is Ellie’s age, 10 days older actually (we had the same exact due date, he was early, she was late), and it was so dang cute to see them running around together, inseparable by day two.

It was a whopping 110 degrees out there so the pool or lake was the place to be. I lathered us all up with sunscreen before we left the house. Since we ONLY use mineral sunscreen and it tends to be thicker, it’s a million times easier to put it on before putting our suits on. We of course reapply every hour and a half or so.

I have an arsenal of natural non-toxic mineral sunscreens at home – and I’ve tried about 25 different brands. For the trip I brought these five.

non-toxic mineral sunscreen

I REFUSE – and this is something I will not budge on – to use chemical sunscreen. It’s not an option, no matter the convenience or situation. This is one of my hot-button issues and is one of the first changes I made when switching all my products to safe, non-toxic versions. There is a TON of research on the topic that you can easily find to learn more. A great resource is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), who just released their 2015 Sunscreen Guide. They report that “fully 80 percent of 1,700 products we examined this year offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients” that can increase your risk of cancer (yes, even skin cancer!!!) and contribute to other health issues.

It angers me that these products even exist!!! And worse, they’re the ones that are offered most readily; you can pretty much guarantee that every sunscreen sold at drug stores is toxic and NOT safe. There are FAR more bad ingredients to avoid than good so here are my simple shortcut tricks for what to look for when buying a safe sunscreen:

  • NO Oxybenzone (Oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic skin reactions and has been linked to cancer and other disorders in some studies)
  • YES Mineral (mineral sunscreens physically BLOCK the UV light, whereas chemical sunscreens allow the UV rays to penetrate the skin and can release free radicals when they break down. Mineral sunscreens contain zinc and/or titanium)
  • NO SPF’s over 50 (SPF is an outdated term that refers only to protection against UVB rays that burn the skin. It has little to do with a product’s ability to protect skin from UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the body, accelerate skin aging, may suppress the immune system and may cause skin cancer)
  • YES Broad Spectrum (A sunscreen can only claim this if it protects from both UVB and the more harmful UVA rays. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide both provide broad spectrum protection)
  • Other obvious YES’s: Organic, Cruetly Free, Unscented, Vegan, Eco Safe, Paraben-Free
So here are some of my favorites…
  • Raw Elements – one of the cleanest – if not THE cleanest – sunscreens around. Contains only USDA-certified organic ingredietns, Non-GMO project certified, 23% zinc oxide, ranked a 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep costmetics database. Thick but rubs in relatively easily.
  • Mineral Fusion SPF 40 – Ranked a 2 by EWG, zinc and titanium, absorbs the best of all mineral sunscreens I’ve tried, contains a collagen-stimulating peptides and anti-aging promoting ingredients. This one goes on easiest of all brands listed here.
  • Eco Tan – Certified organic from Australia, Zinc Oxide, Vegan, takes some work to rub in but is 3 hours water resistant. The one I have is tinted which is nice, but be careful with white bathing suits! I usually mix this one with the Mineral Fusion sunscreen to help it spread better!
  • Little Twig – This is what I use for Ellie. Certified organic ingredients, extra sensitive, ranked a 2 by EWG, rubs in much easier than a lot of the other kid sunscreens.
  • Andalou Naturals CC Cream – I use this on my face. It has a nice tinted sheen to it (not white at all) – and smells just like roses thanks to the rose stem cells, 20% zinc, ranked a 1 on EWG.
  • AND you must keep your lips protected! Here Ellie is applying our favorite organic mineral chapstick, Hurraw SPF 15:

organic SPF chapstick

What are some of your favorite non-toxic sunscreens?


*****July 2015 Update: I’m so excited I’ve found a mineral SPRAY sunscreen!! Goddess Garden’s spray goes on easily with no white residue and all three of us are using it a TON this summer!

recommended spray mineral sunscreen

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