For years, there has been a debate about whether or not to use sunscreen.

And trust me, when you look at the facts and dig into the effects of the ingredients, you’re going to want to pick against it.

But, here’s the thing. Protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun is necessary. Everyone knows sun-burned skin is not only painful but damaging to the skin. The problem is, sunscreen formulations haven’t been regulated since the 70’s, permitting companies to pack their bottles with harsh chemicals and label them with misleading claims.

Before I talk about the risks, you need to know that sunscreens are separated into two main categories, mineral and chemical.

Mineral sunscreens protect the skin by using two main ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. More about those ingredients later. The second type, chemical sunscreens, block the sun using, you’ve guessed it, chemicals.

Chemical sunscreen is why sunscreen gets such a bad rap.

The formulations are composed of some seriously harmful ingredients. In fact, 4 different studies composed in the 1990’s show that the more sunscreen you used, the higher risk you had to having skin cancer!

Marketing tells you their sunscreen prevents it, but it actually increases your risk because of the damage the chemicals are continually doing to your skin.

As well as a risk to skin cancer and other skin related reactions and allergies, these chemicals are known to be hormone disrupters, effecting estrogen levels and thyroid balance. The chemicals found in popular sunscreens are measuring at an 8 on the hazard scale by the Environmental Working Group.

While you’re getting used to reading your labels, look out for the chemicals listed below and avoid those kinds of chemical sunscreens.

Here’s A List of Unsafe, Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

  • Para Amino Benzoic Acid
  • Octyl Salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzo
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl Anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate

Also, as you’ve probably noticed, most stores are carrying SPF 100 as most people think that you need to wear a super high SPF to be protected.

The reality is, numbers this high are just a marketing ploy.

Even the FDA states these are “inherently misleading” and attempting to ban anyone from stating their product had SPF higher than 50. SPF 15 blocks 93% of the sun’s rays where SPF 30 blocks 97%. Even doubling the SPF numbers will only increase protection by a fraction of an amount.

Mineral Sunscreens Are Where You Want To Be.

While there are hundreds of different products to choose from, there are a couple of ingredients that you should be looking for.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

I get it. While these ingredients sound scary, they are the best ingredients for your skin when it comes to sunscreen.

The first time I heard I should be using these ingredients for sunscreen, I almost couldn’t believe it. But, not only do these ingredients provide broad spectrum UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays) protection, there is also no absorption of these minerals into your skin.

So, you’re safe, inside and out. So, before you or your children spend time in the sun, make sure to choose a sunscreen containing these ingredients! Look below for a few brands that I love.

Don’t forget, the sun is your best source for Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D has been shown to naturally boost immunity, help fight cancer and improve your mood. So don’t opt to stay indoors, while you only need 20 minutes of direct sun to generate what you need for the day.

A Note For Moms.

Protecting your child in the sun is your primary concern, so here’s what you need to know. Mineral sunscreens are safe for children and there are many options available, even some which are fragrance-free for that extra level of sensitivity.

If you’re nursing, choosing the right sunscreen for yourself is critical as chemical sunscreens are transferred to a nursing child through breastmilk. Research shows, chemicals are being absorbed quickly through the skin and therefore being passed on to the child. So stay away from any kind of chemical sunscreens and choose mineral instead.

Also remember, choose sunscreen lotions and not sprays. Even mineral sunscreen is not meant to be inhaled, so even though it’s convenient, it isn’t safe, especially for children.

Check Out These Brands.

Badger sunscreen – SPF 30

Babo botanicals – SPF 30

Also, check out this page and see EWG’s top-rated safe sunscreens for 2016

Happy summer!