(Last Updated On: February 1, 2018)

Do, a deer, a female deer/Re, a drop of golden sun

If you’re not a fan of that classic musical sequence from Sound of Music you’re in a tiny and sad minority.

However, try singing that song prancing around in the sun.

If you’re lucky…yes, lucky, I kid you not…you’ll just get sunburnt.

If you aren’t, you could end up with skin cancer.

What do you do?

Simple…apply sunscreen.

Don’t know which one to use? No problem!

I’ve gone through the market and selected a list of the 5 best natural sunscreens. All you gotta do is read on.

At A Glance: The Best Natural Sunscreen

Clear Choice-Sport Shield Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45 is a good zinc oxide-based sunscreen with Slippery Elm Extract to deal with sunburns.

Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion is a nice creamy choice that will keep you well moisturized.

Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 with Hyaluronic Acid and Cucumber extracts has a lot of integrity as a sunscreen.

Kiss My Face Sun Spray Natural Sunscreen Lotion With Hydresia SPF 50 Sunblock is a good non-greasy sunscreen comprising Hydresia Oleosomes (source of Vitamin E).

All Terrain TerraSport SPF30 Natural Sunscreen Spray is a good natural (physical) sunscreen with Cucumber and Bladderwrack extracts to help you deal with sunburns.

The Best Natural Sunscreen

01. Clear Choice-Sport Shield Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45 Review

What is micronized Zinc Oxide?

It’s a bit difficult to define exactly what it is.

Approximately, micronized Zinc Oxide with particle size larger than nano size is described as ‘micronized’. The advantage is that it doesn’t slip into the blood stream.

However micronized zinc oxide is not the largest particle of zinc oxide found in sunscreens.

Slippery Elm Extract is an excellent demulcent which means it can reduce inflammation and soothe inflammatory discomfort.

This makes it an excellent candidate for dealing with sunburns.

The sunscreen gets absorbed fairly quickly into your skin and does NOT leave a white film.

The scent is mild and the sunscreen isn’t all that strong on your skin, making it a good choice for users with sensitive skin.

People with skin disorders may use it. However do a patch test first and consult with your physician if necessary.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Active Ingredient: Micronized Zinc Oxide 12% (Screens both UVA and UVB rays).

Soothe and Condition skinAloe Vera Gel, Vitamin B12***, Vitamin E****, Vitamin D2 (as Ergocalciferol), Grape Seed Extract, Evening Primrose Oil, Slippery Elm Extract, Chamomile, Plantain, Allantoin
AntioxidantAloe Vera Gel, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C*, Vitamin E****, Vitamin D2 (as Ergocalciferol), Grape Seed Extract, Borage Seed Oil, Chamomile
Buffer/pH AdjusterVitamin C*
HumectantVitamin B5**, Hyaluronic Acid
EmollientEvening Primrose Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Olive Squalane
Replenish your skinOlive Squalane
*As Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate.

**As Panthenol.

***As Dexpanthenol.

****As Tocopheryl Acetate

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun. Apply to your face, neck and ncekline.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

Zinc Oxide offers Broad Spectrum protection (filters both UVA and UVB rays).

Zinc Oxide is photostable.

Hyaluronic Acid and other moisturizers are very efficient at reducing water loss and keeping your skin soft and smooth.

It gets absorbed quickly and does not leave any white residue.

Slippery Elm Extract will help you deal with sunburns.

What I Didn’t Like

May cause some users to break out.

The Best Natural Sunscreen For Face

02. Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion Review

Photostability is a concern in chemical sunscreens, especially ones containing Avobenzone.

However this sunscreen has been created to be photostable. Most of the sunscreens are photostable and Octocrylene helps stabilize Avobenzone.

The sunscreen has a nice creamy texture and moisturizes your skin quite well.

It doesn’t have any strong fragrance only a mild favorable scent, somewhat like a coconut.

It is also not very strong on the skin. Plus it is hypoallergenic. So if you have pale or sensitive skin OR skin disorders you may use it.

Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that helps your skin resist aging.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (absorbs UVA rays), Homosalate 10% (absorbs UVB rays), Octisalate 5% (UV Absorber & Filter) and Octocrylene 10% (Absorbs UVB rays; helps stabilize Avobenzone).

Soothe and Condition your skinHydrated Silica, Caprylyl Methicone, Vitamin E*
Binding AgentVP/Hexadecene Copolymer
Film Forming AgentStyrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate
EmollientDimethicone, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium Polyacrylate
EmulsifierTrideceth-6, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum
SolventDimethyl Capramide
PreservativePolyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylisothiazolinone
AntioxidantVitamin E*, BHT
Chelating AgentDisodium EDTA
*As Tocopheryl Acetate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.

What I Liked

 Combination of various chemical sunscreens offers Broad Spectrum protection.

 Hypoallergenic; perfect for use on sensitive skin.

 Photostable.

 Includes strong film formers like Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer to stop moisture loss from your skin and keep skin smooth.

 Chemical sunscreen avoids the white marks unique to physical sunscreens.

What I Didn’t Like

Contains added fragrance.

Methylisothiazolinone may be sensitizing to the skin.

The Best Natural Facial Sunscreen

03. Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Review

It is a physical sunscreen (Zinc Oxide) which repels both UVA and UVB rays (Broad Spectrum protection). It is also photostable.

However it may leave white marks on the skin and white residues on your clothes and towels.

Cetyl Dimethicone is a good silicone emollient that will keep your skin supple while reducing loss of moisture.

Hyaluronic Acid is a great moisturizer that can hold many times its own weight of water thus helping the skin remain hydrated.

If you’ve ever done the cucumber on the eyes routine you know how good and refreshing it can be.

Cucumber extract helps the sunscreen preserve moisture on your skin and resist aging and environmental damage.

Epsom salt is known mostly as a bulking agent but it also helps you deal with sunburns. Sunburns can inflame your skin and epsom salt is anti-inflammatory.

As an added benefit it’s also an exfoliant so your skin will always be cleansed of dead skin cells and look fresh and radiant.

There are a number of antioxidants to help your skin resist aging and environmental damage.

It has a mild citrus scent that should not be irritating to users.

I didn’t find it too harsh on the skin so it should work for users with sensitive skin.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20% (Screens both UVA and UVB rays).

Soothe and Condition your skinAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Jojoba Seed Oil, Cetyl Dimethicone, Astaxanthin, Sweet Orange Essential Oil
AntioxidantAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Cucumber Extract, Astaxanthin, Red Algae Extract, Green Tea Extract, Pomegranate Seed Oil
Replenish and Restore your skinCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride
EmollientCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Sunflower Seed Oil, Cucumber Extract, Red Algae Extract
SolventWater
EmulsifierSorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate
Anti-foamingCetyl Dimethicone
Bulking AgentEpsom Salt*
HumectantHyaluronic Acid
PreservativePolyaminopropyl Biguanide, Ethylhexylglycerin
Skin SofteningEthylhexylglycerin
*Magnesium Sulfate.

Directions

  • Apply in liberal amounts 30 minutes before sun exposure. Avoid the area around the eyes.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.
  • Rinse off with water.
  • Store in a cool place.
  • If you develop rashes consult a doctor.

What I Liked

 Broad Spectrum sunscreen.

 Photostable sunscreen.

 Powerful antioxidants resist skin aging.

 Hyaluronic acid is a great moisturizer.

 Epsom salt reduces inflammation from sunburns and exfoliates your skin.

What I Didn’t Like

 Grapefruit and Tangerine Essential Oils (both probably used for fragrance) may sensitize your skin.

It’s a physical sunscreen so you may get white marks on your skin, clothes, towels etc.

04. Kiss My Face Sun Spray Natural Sunscreen Lotion With Hydresia SPF 50 Sunblock Review

This is a combination of physical – titanium dioxide – and chemical sunscreens.

The concentration of titanium dioxide is low – 2% – reducing the severity of the white marks it leaves.

On the other hand there is a concern about photostability. Here there is no Octocrylene to stabilize Avobenzone. Moreover Octinoxate is also susceptible to react if exposed to light.

However generally speaking this sunscreen has proved its mettle in protecting our skin from sunlight.

What I liked about this sunscreen is that despite having so many chemical sunscreens (and potential photostability issues) it is not harsh on your skin.

So what is this Hydresia?

Hydresia is a special formulation of Safflower Oil.

All oil-bearing plant seeds contain ‘oleosomes’.

When oleosomes are applied to skin they start to dry out, releasing various important substances like Vitamin E.

This has several important benefits.

Aloe Vera and Green Tea are very good antioxidants that help your skin resist harmful effects of sunlight like aging.

It does not leave any greasy residue, feels lightweight on your skin and has a mild scent that should not irritate users.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (absorbs UVA rays), Homosalate 5% (absorbs UVB rays), Octinoxate 7.5% (absorbs UVB rays), Octisalate 6.5% (UV Absorber & Filter) and Titanium Dioxide 2% (Reflects UVB and some UVA rays).

AntioxidantAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Green Tea Extract
Soothe and Condition your skinAloe Vera Leaf Juice, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Zemea Propanediol
EmulsifierSafflower Oleosomes, Lecithin, Polysorbate-20, Sorbitan Olivate
EmollientCetearyl Alcohol, Carrot Extract, Dimethicone, Sunflower Oil, Lecithin
Buffer/pH AdjusterCitric Acid
Skin SofteningEthylhexylglycerin
PreservativeEthylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol
HumectantGlycerin
Film Forming AgentStyrene/Acrylates Copolymer
SolventWater

Directions

  • To apply you need to twist the lock and spray.
  • Never spray on your face directly. Spray sunscreen on your hands and rub that on your face.
  • Never spray in a windy environment.
  • Apply liberally 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.
  • It should be kept away from excessive heat and light.

What I Liked

Combination of sunscreens gives you great Broad Spectrum protection.

Number of moisturizers to reduce loss of moisture and keep your skin soft.

Apart from the moisturizers Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer keeps your skin smooth and also helps reduce loss of moisture.

No significant white residue on your skin or clothes.

It isn’t greasy and is lightweight on your skin.

What I Didn’t Like

It’s packed as a spray but it is thicker than a typical spray mist. This can cause some problems.

The packaging could be improved.

05. All Terrain TerraSport SPF30 Natural Sunscreen Spray Review

Significance of uncoated non-nano zinc oxide

Coated Zinc Oxide is smaller (typically nano scale) in size. Coating was thought to prevent free radical formation and white residue.

Subsequently it has been found that the coating itself may decompose into free radicals and that nano scale Zinc Oxide may slip into the bloodstream.

That is why uncoated non-nano Zinc Oxide is preferred in sunscreens.

Bladderwrack Extract has powerful dermatological and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help you deal with sunburns and resist skin aging.

The spray has a mild and enjoyable scent. Nor is it unduly strong on your skin.

One problem you could face would be the sprayer may not work perfectly and you may have to apply it like lotion.

The key ingredients are listed below.

Active Ingredient: Non-nano uncoated Zinc Oxide 20% (Screens both UVA and UVB rays).

Replenish and Restore your skinCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride
EmollientCaprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sunflower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Cucumber Extract
EmulsifierMethylcellulose
AntioxidantAloe Vera Gel, Bladderwrack Extract, Cucumber Extract
Soothe and Condition your skinAloe Vera Gel, Bladderwrack Extract, Vitamin E*, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Jojoba Oil
PreservativeGrapefruit Seed Extract
*As d-alpha Tocopherol.

Directions

  • Never spray on your face directly. Spray sunscreen on your hands and rub that on your face.
  • Never spray in a windy environment.
  • Apply liberally 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  • Reapply
    • Every 80 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.
    • Immediately after towel-drying.
    • Every 2 hours/120 minutes under all other circumstances.
  • Shake well before spraying.

What I Liked

 Uncoated non-nano Zinc Oxide offers Broad Spectrum protection.

 Cucumber Extract resists water loss and skin aging.

 Bladderwrack Extract can reduce inflammation from sunburns.

 Aloe Vera Gel soothes your skin and also helps resist aging.

 Overall a mild but effective moisturizing sunscreen.

What I Didn’t Like

 The pump could be designed better.

What should you look for in a natural sunscreen?

If you think about it there are three aspects to protection against sun exposure.

One aspect is the protection against the rays/radiation. For that you will look for

Physical Sunscreens (mainly Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide that act as a physical barrier and reflect back radiation);or

Chemical Sunscreens (like Avobenzone, Octocrylene that absorb radiation).

 

The second aspect concerns the physical effects of the sun’s heat. That will irritate skin and strip it of moisture. To counter that you need

Moisturizers (Emollients, Humectants and various Conditioners) to soothe and condition skin.

Skin Replenishing ingredients to hydrate and nourish skin.

Antioxidants kill free radicals and resist harmful free radical action like scarring and aging of skin.

Anything else that calms or soothes the skin is welcome.

 

The third aspect concerns general practicality. So you need sunscreens to be

Mild so it doesn’t irritate your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.

In particular controversial chemicals like parabens should be avoided. Fortunately none of the sunscreens I have selected contains parabens.

Lacking strong fragrances which will may put you off regular use and may sensitize your skin.

Light and non-greasy on the skin.

Easy to apply because you need to periodically re-apply sunscreen during the time you’re exposed to the sun.

Is it true that sunscreen causes Vitamin D deficiency?

Allow me to bust the popular myth that sunscreen causes Vitamin D deficiency.

First, let’s examine where that myth originates.

One form of Vitamin D – Vitamin D3 or Cholecalciferol – is made by our bodies upon exposure to sunlight.

Thus it may seem filtering of sunlight hampers Vitamin D3 production and causes a deficiency.

Theoretically that is true but in practice the sunscreen we use is not enough to cause a deficiency of Vitamin D.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/cancer/how-to-choose-and-use-sunscreen

What’s SPF?

SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’.

It’s a measure of how much protection you can expect from UVB (not from UVA) rays.

 

Should I go for as high a SPF as money can buy?

The gain from higher SPF tapers off around SPF 50-SPF 60.

SPF Value % of UVB rays it protects from
 SPF 15 93%
SPF 30 97%
SPF 50 98%

It doesn’t make much sense to proceed beyond SPF 50. Moreover, higher SPF value sunscreens do more harm than good.

 

Some high-SPF sunscreens contain ingredients that are not good for anybody. They can disrupt hormones and damage tissue.

A famous study conducted by Procter & Gamble found high-SPF sunscreens to be unreliable. Some sunscreens labelled SPF 75 or SPF 100 yielded SPF 37 on repeated tests.

Moreover the thickness of the sunscreen layer tested was found to alter the result tremendously.

In plain English, concentrate on applying a thick layer of sunscreen and covering all exposed areas rather than hankering after high SPF.

 

You mentioned UVB and UVA rays…

Actually, there are three kinds of UV rays emanating from the sun – UVA, UVB and UVC.

Short length UVC rays, the most damaging, possibly fatal, rays are filtered by the atmosphere and do not reach the Earth.

Medium length UVB rays penetrate our skin to superficial depths. They can cause some delayed tanning, skin darkening and skin cancer. They’re primarily responsible for sunburn. These are the rays SPF stops.

Long length UVA rays penetrate deep into our skin. They’re responsible for quick tanning (they’re used in tanning beds), aging, wrinkles, skin darkening and possibly also encourage cancer. To stop UVA rays you need Broad Spectrum sunscreens.

Now, I’ve armed you with sufficient information to choose a sunscreen on your own but there is one sunscreen which I feel is a clear winner among my picks for Top 5 Natural Sunscreens.

Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

It is based on 20% Zinc Oxide which offers extensive protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Epsom Salt will soothe sunburn related inflammation.

Cucumber Extract is soothing plus great at resisting aging and scarring.

It has a light citrus scent that should not irritate you.

Overall it’s not harsh on your skin and can be used by people with sensitive skin. With a little rubbing any white traces of zinnc oxide should disappear completely.

It’s not just me. Allure likes it too!

If you feel there’s a sunscreen out there which is better than the ones I’ve selected, please do tell me in a comment! The specially good suggestions will get a shout-out on Facebook and Twitter and may even be included in this list with attribution.

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