For those of you who aren’t in DC these days, or weren’t this past week, I advise you: stay away. There are interns, and it is really, really unpleasantly hot outside. Summer is officially here.
OK, so in reality, I love DC summers. DC summers mean biking to work every day, rooftop bars, backyard barbecues and balcony barbecues, poolside brunches, Jazz in the Garden, outdoor movies, and, you get the idea. It’s summer, and we’re going outside, damnit!
Which is great, except if you’re like me and your family history includes every single form of skin cancer known to mankind, and probably a few that they just haven’t discovered yet. Enter sunscreen, that wonderful stuff that you use to give yourself a sunburn in the shape of a smiley face while preventing wrinkles, cancer, and unhappy moments when your friend tries to give you a hug the day you get back from your beach vacation.
I will admit openly that I’m not always an eco-products-exclusive consumer when it comes to beauty & skin care. This, according to some sources, is putting vanity before health. Anything that you put on your skin can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and while it’s very low-dose, the long term risks of that low-dose exposure might be worth worrying about. I don’t know for certain- I’m not a doctor or a public health professional. But, some product types are worse than others in terms of containing potentially harmful and unregulated chemicals, and unfortunately, there are people who think sunscreen belongs on the no-no list. Concerns have been raised about whether we’re doing ourselves more harm than good – not to mention the fact that sunscreen isn’t the best thing for mother Earth when it runs down the drain or when we throw the tube away. Sunscreens have even been named as a cause of coal bleaching when snorkelers or divers use them underwater. Yikes.
So what’s a sun-worshiping girl (or guy) to do? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) runs a site called Skin Deep that ranks beauty and skin care products based on chemicals they contain and potential health risks. Their section on sunscreen has been updated for summer, and has some articles where you can learn about the risks and weigh them yourself. But, if you want to cut right to the chase, you can always invest in an eco-friendly brand. Many cost more than conventional sunscreens (sorry), but have been tested and shown to be effective and friendly for your skin and for the Earth.
According to justlivegreener.com, an eco-blog, Badger brand came out on top, followed by California Baby, Loving Naturals, and Purple Prairie Botanicals. EcoSalon has a list as well, topped by Kimberly Sayer brand, Cucumber Face by Coola, Korres, and Aveda. The reviews for each contain some more detail about which ones are fully organic and which are not, what they smell like (important to some), and how they performed for testers.
For more information and/or reviews, some more resource are below:
– A Grist rundown of environmentally friendly sunblock
– TheChicEcologist on ecofriendly skin care