Vegan Sunscreen Guide
Not all bottles are created equal. Check out how to really protect your skin this summer.
Sunscreen, like watermelon and Fourth of July fireworks, is a summertime essential. This sunburn- and cancer-fighting product comes in more tubes, sprays, and sticks and with more SPFs, bells, and whistles than any consumer knows what to do with. Finding an effective sunscreen that’s cruelty free? That might leave you in the drugstore aisle for hours. We help you spend less time buying bottles and more time enjoying the sun safely by explaining what’s on those labels and which ones are animal-friendly.
More than 2 million people in the US are treated for skin cancer each year. Those of us (read: all of us) who don’t want to be one of the millions need to know exactly what is going on with sunscreen. Most of us choose a tube based on its sun protection factor, or SPF, which supposedly indicates how many minutes the sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays only. UVA rays, not so much. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the first time in more than three decades, released new guidelines on sunscreens in an effort to prevent companies from making dubious claims about their products. The new rules include a requirement that sunscreens equally protect against UVA rays (long-wave rays that can cause skin aging and might initiate the development of skin cancer), and UVB rays (short-wave rays that are the main culprit of sunburn and is the major initiator of skin cancer) in order to be considered “broad spectrum.” In addition, sunscreens can no longer claim to be “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” or be called “sunblock.” Lastly, the FDA is proposing capping SPFs at “SPF 50+” because those above 50 offer little more protection with each SPF number increase. The policy change, which will take place in one year, is industry changing and much needed in a $680-million domestic business that, until now, had essentially no rules whatsoever.
While the FDA’s new rules are a welcome change for the industry and will help consumers buy products that will truly protect them, there are other dangers to be aware of. Some of the chemicals used to make sunscreens can be as harmful to you as the UVA and UVB rays you’re trying to protect yourself against. We tackle some of these hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing chemicals in our July+August 2011 piece, “Skin Deep.” The Environmental Working Group is also committed to finding a truly healthy sunscreen; their 2011 Sunscreen Guide is available online and sorts through more than 1,700 screens, lip balms, and moisturizers, rating them one (the best) through eight (the worst). Some of VN’s favorite cruelty-free finds (that also have great scores on the Sunscreen Guide) include Loving Naturals SPF 30+ Suncreen, Jason Natural Cosmetics SPF 30 Mineral Sunblock, Elemental Herbs SPF 20 Sunscreen Sport, and UV Natural SPF 30+ Lip Sunscreen for protecting your pout. Make sure to really lather it on, as SPF ratings are based on a thick application of sunscreen—about three tablespoons every two hours is recommended by experts.
No matter which sunscreen you decide on for summertime, don’t forget that the best sun protection includes a hat and cover up as well (or a strategically placed umbrella). Enjoy the sunshine!
4 DIY Holiday Decorating Tips
Decorate sustainably and creatively with these tips for vegan-friendly holiday decorations.
Read More »
7 Vegan Candles to Create a Cozy Winter Home
Turn your home into an aromatic winter wonderland—even if you live in a West Coast beach cottage.
Read More »
The VegNews Guide to Eco-Friendly Holiday Trees
Find a tree that suits both your ethics and aesthetics with traditional, eco-friendly, and unconventional options.
Read More »
The 6 Best Winter Nail Colors
Its cold outside, but that doesnt mean your nail game cant be on point.
Read More »
7 (Free!) Ways to Reduce and Reuse
These tips and tricks will help you reduce your waste while saving the planetand some money.
Read More »
- 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
- 9 Tips for Natural Allergy Relief
- Leather: What's Wrong With It?
- 5 Ways Being Vegan Saves the Planet
- How to Buy Eco-Friendly Flowers
- 10 Easy Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Home
- Chicken Factory Farms Cause Pollution Nightmare for NC
- Study Finds Fur Potentially Toxic to Children
- Study: Grass-fed Beef is Destroying the Environment
- Home Depot to Phase Out Bee-Killing Insecticide
- James Cameron Urges Environmentalists to Go Vegan
- Outside Magazine: Vegans Will Own the Podium
- Alicia Silverstone Speaks Out on Climate Change
- FDA Approves First GMO Animal
- Government Sued For Letting Nestlé Bottle Water During Drought
- 9 Things We Didn't Know About Animals
- US Government Tackles Nations Food Waste
- Cow-Free Milk Wins First Place Sustainability Award
- 70 Percent of Honey Found to Contain Pesticides
- New Study: A Vegan World is a Better World