Quick! The sun's shining so time to write that post on sunscreens before the rain comes back...
There's such a huge variety of products out there, all more or less doing the same job – protecting your skin and stopping you from burning. We see the usual suspects lined up in shops everywhere, but what of the alternatives? What do you do if you're veggie, or vegan, or just want a product formulated with natural ingredients rather than a baffling list of chemicals?
They do exist, though often you have to search harder to track them down. Often you can find them online and the good thing about that is, when you do you might find accompanying body care and facial products as well, opening up a whole new collection of lotions and potions to try.
Here's just a few of the more natural sunscreens I've found information on. I haven't tried all of these, but the ones I have tried I have been impressed with.
Green People – this was the first natural sunscreen I found and I have been using it on and off oh, must be for around 10 years. It is organic and contains vitamins A, C and E, which help keep skin hydrated from the inside and protect against cell damage from the sun. There’s also green tea, rosemary extract, avocado and olive in there, but there’s no parabens, phthalates or artificial sunscreens.
I have tried both the adult version and the children’s version (my daughter used that one, not me) and it does seem to be the brand I come back to most often. It’s available in several sizes and is generally fragrance-free (thought there is a version for kids that is fragranced with lavender.) www.greenpeople.co.uk
Aubrey Organics – Apparently this was the first company to create a natural suncare product and it has been around since the 1970s. I did not know that. The range has just been updated and the Natural Sun collection contains plant ingredients – rosehip oil, jojoba and shea butter – natural minerals and antioxidants (including green tea).
It is organic, available for both adults and children, and has an SPF of 30+ (not sure what value + represents other than more than 30). I have yet to try this but I have used Aubrey Organics moisturisers and eye creams in the past and have found them easily absorbed and good quality. www.aubreyorganicsuk.co.uk
Sôvée by Aethic is a new sunscreen that has just come to my attention – information about it landed on my desk just a few days ago so I have no idea what it’s like to use, but it sounds pretty good. It has a natural and organic base (does that mean it’s not 100% organic? I will have to check that out), contains vitamin E and is available in SPF 15, 25 and 40.
It is marine positive, which means it does not pollute the water I believe. (Sunscreens are a big cause of harm to marine life and coral reefs – again, something I did not know.) It’s all about reducing your acquatrail to reduce pollution in the world’s lakes, rivers, seas and oceans, which is an issue I’m sure we’ll hear more about in the future. It is the first product from new skincare company Aethic. www.aethic.com
Lovea is new to the UK and I’m told it is the bestselling organic sunscreen in France. The range contains natural minerals (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) that reflect the sun’s UV rays rather than absorb them as many synthetic products do. There’s a variety of formulations, including an anti-ageing SPF 50 face cream, factor 30 and 15 sunscreen sprays for adults, and factor 30 and 50 sunscreen sprays for kids. Moisturising monoi oil is in all of the products, while the face cream also contains vitamin E and argan oil.
I haven’t tried these sunscreens yet but hope to do so at some point this summer. If anybody has tried them let me know what you think. Available from www.mypure.co.uk
I first came across Lavera a few years ago when I was researching natural cosmetics. I had tried a couple of their blushers and
a lip gloss, but hadn’t’ tried the suncare products until a few weeks ago when a friendly PR sent me a few to try. Lavera also is an organic range and the products contain natural mineral sunscreens, carotene and sunflower oil. They’re water resistant as well, which is handy if you or the kids keep popping into the pool to cool off on holiday.
I tried the Family Sun Spray and the Anti-Ageing Sun Milk (which also contains pomegranate oil). Both are SPF 15, which I find, for me, is fine for everyday use in the UK, but I would be looking for a higher SPF on holiday. I would not put factor 15 on my daughter however, even in the UK, as I believe children need a higher
SPF to protect their delicate skin. (I realise an SPF 50 product is not that much more effective in preventing UV damage than an SPF 15 product – there’s only a few per cent difference – but I still prefer a higher SPF for Dot.)
Overall I like the sun spray best – it has a pleasant, slightly lemony fragrance and it is not greasy. The anti-ageing milk takes a bit of time to sink in, giving your skin a pale appearance, but then once it has absorbed it doesn’t leave a sticky feel. www.lavera.co.uk
Fans of Dead Sea minerals should love Ahava’s sunscreen collection. As well as the aforementioned minerals, the products contain natural moisturisers and plant extracts, such as vitamin-rich Dunaliella algae seaweed, indigenous to the Dead Sea region. The sunscreens are paraben-free and do not contain mineral oil, oxybenzone or manmade preservatives.
There’s a factor 30 anti-ageing moisturiser and moisturising spray, and SPF 15 and 50 sunscreens.
I have used one of the sunscreens in the past, but to be honest it was several years ago and I can’t remember which one. However, the SPF 30 moisturising sunscreen was highly commended in this year’s Natural Health Beauty Awards – which can’t be bad! www.ahava.co.uk