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This Scentsational

Does a Safe + Effective Sunscreen Really Exist?

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

There are a lot of products on the market that label themselves as clean, natural, safe, and organic...yet nearly every sunscreen on the market contains some compilation of dangerous chemicals like fragrance, parabens, pthlalates, and more. With news hitting the last couple of years that sunscreens are part of destroying coral reef health, it's even harder to find effective sunscreens that aren't toxic to our bodies or the ocean.

But we've got you covered!

Sunscreen use had been on the rise, anyway, but we're now in a time where the term "social distancing" has brought even more people to search for outdoor activities - and sunscreen application is sure to be on the rise once again. Not all sunscreens are created equal and, in many cases, your sunscreen may be harmful instead of helpful. How do you find a sunscreen that is effective, clean for your body, and safe for the ocean? What can you use to best protect yourself and your family whenever you venture outside? Let's start with being empowered label readers.

Mineral vs. Chemical Barriers

There are two ways a sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage: with a mineral barrier or a chemical barrier.

  • Mineral sunscreens typically include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which create a physical barrier to protect the skin from the sun.

  • Chemical sunscreens use one or more long-chain organic chemicals to absorb UV light.

Sunscreen chemicals raise concern because they are able to cross into skin, into the body, and into body tissue. An FDA study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association measured the absorption of some of these chemical sunscreen ingredients through the skin. Four common sunscreen active ingredients were all found in the body after only one day of use (application on the skin) and were still in the blood 24 hours after application: avobenzone, oxybenzone, ecamsule, and octocrylene.

The chemicals commonly used in sunscreens are endocrine disrupters that may cause cellular damage and cancer. Plus (though, do you really need another reason to stop using these toxins?) these chemicals are estrogenic and can interfere with thyroid health and other hormone processes in the body. (Feeling sluggish and tired? Slow metabolism? Easily grouchy? Fertility issues? These are just some of the symptoms of endocrine problems.)

Making a Change

What can you do to find the best sunscreen for your family? The most important thing you can do is to check the ingredient lists on your products for these chemicals' common names: benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, and ethoxycinnmate, oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. In addition to being found in sunscreen products, they're also in lotions, moisturizers, cosmetics, and other everyday personal care products.

Seriously, go grab some of your products right now; we'll still be here for you when you come back.

What did you find out? Are there other ingredients you're not sure about? Head over to and search for each of your questionable ingredients along with the keywords "safety of" or "harms of." Look for scientific reviews from journals and articles that have credible citations. PubMed is an easy place to start, too.

The most common sunscreen chemical, oxybenzone, was found in 96% of the population in a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is especially alarming since oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor that can reduce sperm count in men and may contribute to endometriosis in women. The EWG warns against using oxybenzone, especially on children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. It's also been shown to be harmful to aquatic life. In fact, Hawaii became the first state to ban this ingredient because it can harm coral reefs. Many articles now call out sunscreen products that are not “reef safe”.

Even more mind-blowing: of the 1,400+ sunscreens tested by the EWG over 40% were listed as potentially contributing to skin cancer. That's right: your sunscreen could be contributing to skin cancer. Isn't that one of the things sunscreen is supposed to protect us from?

Label reading and ditching and switching is HUGE when it comes to sunscreen. Chuck those toxins into the waste bin!

Look for Clean Ingredients + a Company You Can Trust

  • Is zinc oxide listed as the active ingredient? Then it's a mineral barrier instead of a chemical one. You're off to a good start!

  • Do you see "fragrance" or "parfum" on the label? Avoid these synthetic scents that can irritate the skin, cause allergies, and may have any number of ingredients mixed together to cause any number of health problems (all under the guise of being a protected "proprietary" recipe). Even scents that are listed as plant names can contain toxins like pesticides or be synthetically made and have negative effects on the body.

  • Where does the company source their ingredients? How is each natural ingredient treated - from the soil it's planted in, to the way it's processed and added into the final product?

My Favorite, Truly Clean Sunscreen

I made the switch a couple of years ago to Young Living's Mineral Sunscreen. At the time they only had SPF 10 and I thought I'd surely fry! Friends, I have never once gotten sunburned while using Young Living’s sunscreen. I feel confident using it because of its efficacy, but also comfortable using it because it comes from a company I can trust.

What are some of the other reasons I love it?

  • Made with non-nano zinc oxide, it is NOT absorbed through the skin.

  • Dermatologist tested

  • Our SPF 50 sunscreen means you can stay in the sun roughly 50 times longer than you could with bare skin. (SPF 10 = 10 times longer.)

  • It contains no harsh chemicals.

  • Non-greasy formula.

  • Broad-spectrum.

  • Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

  • Reef safe.

Young Living’s mineral sunscreen also has the added benefits of being infused with 5 skin soothing and protecting essential oils that benefit your skin's health, including:

  • Helichrysum

  • Frankincense

  • Lavender

  • Carrot seed

  • Myrhh

If you are using another brand of sunscreen, I urge you to take a look at the ingredients. So many of the brands we may think are safe are actually contributing to the rise in skin cancer, infertility, thyroid issues, and every other chronic disease. But now you're learning how to do better and you're on your way to living a more empowered life!


When you invest in your wellness, you're not alone - we're here to walk alongside you as we grow in wellness, purpose, and abundance. Together, we'll help you find answers to your questions and build lasting relationships along the way.

We're here to pay it forward. A friend helped empower us and now we're here to share what we've learned so you can make the best choices for you and your family, too!

Start by claiming your free guide, like 5 Steps to Healthy Living. You can also head over to learn more about why it's important for us all to become educated consumers.



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