The Sunscreen List: Safe and Scary


Looking for a non-chemical, *non-nano, paraben and dye free sunscreen? Here are my favorites.

*Non-nano is a fashionable term right now, but here is some information worth digesting.

“A number of companies sell products advertised as containing “non-nano” titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These claims are generally misleading. While particle sizes vary among manufacturers, nearly all would be considered nanomaterials under a broad definition of the term, including the definition proposed in 2011 by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA 2011b). For example, Antaria, a popular supplier of zinc oxide, initially claimed it was selling a “non-nano” form to sunscreen makers. But under pressure from Friends of the Earth Australia, it acknowledged that its zinc oxide would be considered a nanomaterial requiring special labeling in Europe (Antaria 2012, Friends of the Earth 2012). There is even less dispute about titanium dioxide. According to the available information, it must be delivered in nanoparticle form to render a sunscreen reasonably transparent on the skin.

More research and more specific FDA guidelines are essential to reduce the risk and maximize the sun protection of mineral sunscreens. Yet, even with the existing uncertainties, we believe that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide lotions are among the best choices on the American market,” Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Osmosis UV Neutralizer-Tan Enhancing

When using this product, I additionally apply physical sunscreen but have found the drinkable sun protection to be very effective. My kids love to squirt this product in their mouths, they find the concept very amusing. Osmosis UV Neutralizer-Tan Enhancing costs $30.00 for 3.3814 fl. oz.

“Boost your body’s defenses with this innovative new technology utilizing frequencies that work against the damaging effects of the sun. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun can wreak havoc on skin. Over time, it can cause sunburns, wrinkles, premature aging, and cancer, and reduce immunity against infections. Always use sun protection to protect yourself from damaging UV rays.”

ingredients list: harmonized water

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 30

Badger Baby Sunscreen is one of my favorite products due to its clean label. The sunscreen is thicker than all others on The Sunscreen List, but it is not greasy and absorbs into the skin nicely (granted I am very light, this may not be the best option for darker complexions). Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream costs $15.99 for 2.9 fl. oz. and has a water resistant rating of 40 minutes.

“Safe, Effective, & Gentle Baby Sunscreen. Badger’s SPF30 Baby Sunscreen Cream contains non-nano Zinc Oxide to protect from both UVA & UVB rays, in a base of safe, soothing USDA Certified Organic ingredients. It is water & sweat resistant for 40 minutes, biodegradable, and works immediately upon application. Badger sunscreens have been recommended by the Environmental Working Group, Consumer Reports, the TODAY show, and numerous other sources. Packaged in a BPA- and Phthalate-free, recyclable #2 plastic tube. This Baby Sunscreen Cream has the mild scent of Chamomile and Calendula, and can be used by the whole family! Pediatrician tested & approved safe for babies and kids.”

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s) Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%. inactive Ingredient(s): *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E), *Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Oil, *Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Fruit Extract

*=Certified Organic

Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+

Honest Mineral Sunscreen has an SPF of 50+! I recommend this product for all complexions and skin types, it’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a residue. Honest Mineral Sunscreen costs $13.95 for 3.0 fl. oz. and has a water resistant rating of 80 minutes.

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s): Zinc Oxide 19%. Inactive Ingredient(s): Water (Aqua), Coco-Caprylate, CocosNucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Cetyle Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopherol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuss (Sunflower) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract.

Kiss My Face SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Baby’s First Kiss

I have had a few inquiries requesting my opinions on the safety of this product, but it is not my favorite.

I happen to like the tactile feel of Baby’s First Kiss Sunscreen. It’s thinner than Badger and Honest, but I prefer Zinc Oxide sunscreens to Titanium Dioxide. “Titanium oxide’s protection isn’t as strong [as Zinc Oxide], but it’s better than most other active ingredients.” (1) Kiss My Face Mineral Sunscreen costs $15.99 for 4.0 fl. oz. and has a water resistant rating of 80 minutes.

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s): Titanium Dioxide 6%. Inactive Ingredient(s): Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Bisabolol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soy) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Jojoba Esters, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Oryzanol, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil

Do you want a few more chemicals in your sunscreen and maybe a pleasing fragrance? Here are a few I like.

Osmosis Protect Sunscreen

Osmosis Protect offers sheer sun protection and a lightweight feel with no residue. This product is not chemical-free. Osmosis Protect Sunscreen costs $30.00 for 3.3814 fl. oz.

“This non-nano, coated, zinc-oxide based sunscreen offers sheer, long-lasting coverage. Great for all Fitzpatrick’s, ages, and skin types. Zinc Oxide has the best broad spectrum coverage of all currently available sunscreens. Whether you are planning on going out in the sun or going to the office, you’ll be protected and looking fabulous with this sheer, lightly hydrating formula.”

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s): Zinc Oxide 13%. Inactive Ingredient(s): Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Polysorbate 60, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Isostearic Acid, Sclerotium Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Phytic Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Vanillin, Xanthan Gum, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Citric Acid, Alcohol, Fragrance/Parfum.

Coola Face SPF 30 Make-up Setting Spray

We all know what it’s like to wear make-up in the sweltering heat, it may melt off. As a girl who would like sun protection in all my face and body products, I am glad to have SPF is in a make-up setting spray. This product is not chemical-free. Coola Face SPF 30 Make-up Setting Spray costs $36.00 for 1.5 fl. oz.

“Makeup meltdown and UV exposure have met their match! Introducing the first ever SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray. A simple spritz of our weightless, matte finish mist protects the sensitive skin of your face while keeping your makeup looking fresh all day. This advanced formula includes Cucumber and Aloe Vera Extracts to help soothe and refresh skin while Hyaluronic Acid, known to bind moisture, helps to soften, tone and rehydrate skin. A powerhouse of Peony Leaf, Juniper Berry and Phoenix Leaf Stem Cells reinforces the skin barrier and provides antioxidant protection. Set, restore and protect with confidence knowing our 70% + organic formula has you covered!”

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s): Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 2.8%, Homosalate (Sunscreen) 3.5%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 3.9 Inactive Ingredient(s): Alcohol (ORGANIC), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (ORGANIC), Algae Extract (ORGANIC), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (ORGANIC ) Orange Fruit Water, Cucumis Sativus (ORGANIC) Cucumber Fruit Extract, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Diisopropyl Adipate, Ethyl Ferulate, Flavor, Glycerin (ORGANIC), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Juniperus Communis Callus Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Leaf Cell Extract, Phoenix Dactilyfera (Date) Leaf Cell Extract, PVP, Silica Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Water Organic Ingredients: Alcohol, Aloe Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Orange Water

Coola Eco-Lux 8oz. Body SPF 30 Piña Colada Sunscreen Spray

Sometimes one needs sun protection, but can’t apply a lotion. Coola Eco-Lux Piña Colada Sunscreen Spray is applied as a clear mist, no rubbing needed, and it smells amazing. For the individual who would prefer a non-fragrance option, they have that as well. This product is not chemical-free. Before purchasing this sunscreen, I recommend that you continue reading below in the Spray Sunscreens section. Coola Eco-Lux Piña Colada Sunscreen costs $36.00 for 8.0 fl. oz.

“Hurray for Spray!® Spritz your sunscreen on the go with this clear, continuous spray in an all natural Piña Colada scent. Offering broad spectrum SPF 30 protection, this deluxe, eco-sized Farm to Face® sourced, antioxidant-infused spray will nourish and hydrate skin with 70%+ certified organic ingredients like Cucumber, Algae and Strawberry Extracts; and Red Raspberry Seed Oil (a natural sunscreen booster rich in Omega-3 and 6). Have your fun in the sun and then some with COOLA!”

ingredients: Active Ingredient(s): Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 2.0%, Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 7.5%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 4.0%, Octocrylene (Sunscreen) 7.0% Inactive Ingredient(s): Alcohol (ORGANIC), Algae Extract (ORGANIC), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cucumis Sativus (ORGANIC Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Flavor, Fragaria Vesca (ORGANIC Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Glycerin (ORGANIC), Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate, Rubus Idaeus (ORGANIC Red Raspberry) Seed Oil.

Environmental Working Group Worst Scoring Sunscreens for Kids

  1. Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
  2. Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  3. Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70
  4. Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray Kids, SPF 70
  5. Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70
  6. Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Water Babies, SPF 70+
  7. Coppertone Sunscreen Stick Kids, SPF 55
  8. Coppertone Sunscreen Stick Water Babies, SPF 55
  9. Coppertone Sunscreen Water Babies Foaming Lotion, SPF 70
  10. CVS Health Children’s Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
  11. Equate Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
  12. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+
  13. Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
  14. Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Sticks, SPF 55

Spray Sunscreens

“Nearly one in every three sunscreens in this year’s database is a spray. People like sprays because they’re easy to squirt on squirming kids and hard-to-reach areas. But they may pose inhalation risks, and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot.

The FDA has expressed doubts about their safety and effectiveness but hasn’t banned them. As long as they’re legal and consumers are unaware of the inhalation risks, the apparent convenience of spray sunscreens will keep them on the market.” (1)

Sky-high SPFs

“Eleven percent of the sunscreens we evaluated this year claim SPFs above 50+. SPF stands for sun protection factor, but that term 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.

The most worrisome thing about high-SPF products is that they give people a false sense of security and beguile them to stay in the sun too long. High-SPFs suppress the skin reddening and pain of sunburns, but they raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering barring SPF ratings above 50+.” (1)


“Forty percent of the beach and sport sunscreens in this year’s guide contain oxybenzone, an active ingredient in sunscreens. It penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic skin reactions. Some research studies, while not conclusive, have linked higher concentrations of oxybenzone to health disorders, including endometriosis in older women and lower birth weights in newborn girls.” (1)

Retinyl Palmitate

“Fourteen percent of the sunscreens, 15 percent of SPF-rated moisturizers and 6 percent of SPF-rated lip products in this year’s guide contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A. On sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.

Why does the FDA allow this “inactive ingredient” in sunscreens intended for use in the sun? The agency has been studying the chemical for years but hasn’t made a decision. We have. The definitive study may not yet have been done, but based on available evidence – including the government’s studies – we think you’re better off avoiding sunscreens with retinyl palmitate. There are plenty of better choices.” (1)



(1) Sunscreens, EWG’s 2017 Guide to. “EWG’s 2017 Guide to Safer Sunscreens.” EWG. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2017.

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