The Best Clean Sunscreens (that really work!)

I have a confession to make. After surviving decades of Midwestern winters, for a long time I’d given myself the permission to indulge in the sun sans sunscreen. I know, I know – not a good idea. My only justification was that my vices were few, and I just loved having that sun-kissed glow.

But, as I get older and want to protect my skin, I’ve realized that, as someone who takes care of her body and skin from the inside out, it’s definitely important to focus on caring more for it from the outside in, too.

Now that I slather up every summer, I want to make sure that my sunscreen is toxin-free. Being conscious about what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies. Toxins enter the body, not only from the food or beverages we consume, but also the products we use on our skin.

Many of the popular sunscreens on the market today contain chemicals and additives we don’t want to be absorbing through our skin. 

And recently, a study conducted by Valisure found that several sunscreen brands that we know and love had batches of products that were cross-contaminated with Benzene, a known carcinogen (you can read more about that study here ). Yikes!

So to help you make an informed choice, we’ve put together a quick cheat-sheet on what to look for in a sunscreen product, what to avoid, as well as our favorite brands on the market today.

Another great point of reference is a guide our friends at the Environmental Working Group have put together. Make sure to check that out here as well. 

Here is what we look for in a sunscreen:

Things to avoid:

  • Sunscreens that are aerosol
  • SPF above 50
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Avobenzone
  • Isobutane
  • Retynil palmitate
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Dyes
  • Sodium chloride
  • Formaldehyde
  • Homosalate
  • DEA
  • MEA

Things to look for:

  • Mineral-based lotion sunscreens (i.e. contain zinc oxide as their active ingredient)
  • SPF between 15 and 50
  • UVA and UVB protection
  • Fragrance free
  • Companies that pour their sunscreen in-house (to avoid Benzene contamination)
  • Ecocert Certified/Organic
  • Reef Friendly
  • Non Nano

We’ve also done some product testing with the staff at the Conscious Cleanse to give you a starting point when searching for a cleaner sunscreen. Below is a list of what we consider the best of the best.

Sunscreens We Love:

Badger Sunscreens
(organic, reef friendly, and they have a wide range of product options, including a clear zinc sunscreen, sport, and baby sunscreens)

Luminance Sunscreen
(no zinc, made with red raspberry seed oil)

Sun Love Sunscreen by Anne Marie Skin Care
(organic, non nano, reef friendly)

Blissoma Photonic Light Shifting Facial Sunscreen + Moisturizer
(organic, matte, transparent zinc, silicone-free)

Kari Gran Sunscreen
(organic, made with red raspberry seed oil, non nano)

We’d love to hear more from you in the comments sections below. Do you have a clean sunscreen that you think should make our list? Please share!

With a healthy sun kissed glow,

If you liked this guide to the Best Clean Sunscreens, we invite you to join our online community! When you sign up you’ll receive regular healthy lifestyle tips and new recipes. As a welcome-gift, we’ll send you our Conscious Cleanse Guide to Simple Self Care, which has our tried and true practices that will impact your overall well-being within minutes.

Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here.

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