As temperatures drop we prepare and make the necessary changes for the incoming fall and winter seasons, but one of those changes from warmer weather we should keep all year round is sunscreen! Regardless of the season, sunscreen should be a factor because even when the forecast calls for clouds, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate, including the certain factors like snow which can increase the strength of UV rays and reflect up to the same percentage. Gone are the days in leaving the outcome to our skin to the elements. In most cases we can take control and be the Captain of our own skin’s destiny!

Beautiful skin starts with healthy skin and protecting our skin from too much UV ray exposure is impertinent to maintain damage free skin, even for women of color. “Black don’t crack”, is a common misconception that skin tones of darker complexions are completely shielded to the repercussions of UV rays, but this a farfetched belief that I was guilty of myself years ago. While the higher counts of melanin in our skin acts a more efficient guard than Caucasian and lighter skin tones, this does not mean we are 100% protected. We are still vulnerable to skin cancer and free-radical damage that causes premature aging due to the breakdown of collagen which is basically the loss of the skin’s elasticity that causes wrinkles. This is why it is so important for us to protect ourselves and the best form of defense is sunscreen which helps to shield against harmful UV rays.

Of course protecting our skin from UV rays is important but the ingredients in the sunscreen we choose are just as significant! Recently the 2012 Sunscreen Guide reported 25% of 800 tested sunscreens are proficient without the use of harmful ingredients. For a sunscreen to pass the safety test the ingredients must be free of

Retinyl palmitate: A type of vitamin A, although inconclusive for humans. Government-funded studies through mice have found that a certain type of vitamin A may increase risk of skin cancer when applied on sun-exposed skin. Meaning Retinyl palmitate is till on the chopping block.
Oxybenzone: An organic compound that could interfere with the hormonal system
SPF over 50: SPF 15 blocks about 93%, SPF 30 blocks 97%.and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Sunscreens with SPF’s of 50 and over usually display no difference in protection or just an extra margin of 1% and are overpriced.

Now you are armed with what to avoid in finding the right sunscreen you should also be aware of what the sunscreen should contain and that is broad spectrum. Broad spectrum simply means your sunscreen not only protects from UVB rays but UVA as well. The cause of sunburns is from UVB where UVA causes free-radical damage responsible for premature aging. Including reapplication every 90-120 minutes of all sunscreens due to the breakdown as soon as the sunscreen is exposed to sunlight, this breakdown causes the product to become ineffective after this period of time.

 

Yes, it definitely involves a bit of research in finding not only an efficient but safe sunscreen as well. Below are 13 of the most affordable natural sunscreens around with some help from thedailygreen.com.

*All sunscreens listed protect from UVB & UVA rays

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Nature’s Gate Mineral Sportblock

4-ounce tube , $8.97


Solbar Zinc Sun Protection Cream

4-ounce tube, $11.86

 


Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen

4-ounce bottle, $8.84

 


Caribbean Solutions SolGuard Biodegradable Sunscreen

6-ounce bottle, $10.39

 


Jason Mineral Sunblock

4-ounce tube, $8.99

 


Earth’s Best Mineral Sunblock

4-ounce bottle, $11.71


Vanicream Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

4-ounce tube, $10.99

Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Saving Face Sunscreen

2.3-ounce tube, $10.30

 


All-Terrain Aquasport Sunscreen (Water & Sweat Resistant)

3-ounce tube, $9.28

 


Beyond Coastal Natural Sunscreen

4-ounce tube, $11.29

Episencial Sunny Sunscreen

4-ounce tube, $12.38


Badger All Natural Sunscreen

2.9-ounce tube, $13.00

 


Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

5-ounce bottle, $11.49

 

*Featured photo Brandon Hicks

Additional references CNN and GoodandWellNYC

Want to know the best affordable sunscreens for your little ones? Find out here