Toxic Timeout: How To Protect Yourself From The Sun

From The Fields- Issue #68

Most commercial sunscreens are packed with toxic ingredients. How can we protect our skin from sun damage if the products we put them can’t protect us? Here is a little guide on what to look for, what to avoid, and which non-toxic and chemical-free sunscreens that actually perform!


WE LOVE THE SUN but we also love our skin. Make sure you read the ingredients list on the next sunscreen you buy. Watch out for chemicals as many of them are hormone and endocrine disruptors- the bad guys that mimic our natural ones, which can cause havoc in our bodies. The best sun protection is covering up but for moments when we do show skin, here are a few important things to consider when buying sunscreen…

Broad Spectrum- Ultraviolet wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB and UVC. Even though exposure to both UVA and UVB contributes to the development of melanoma — the most deadly skin cancer — SPF measures only UVB. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both.

Water Resistant- A sunscreen can only claim to be water resistant if it has undergone a 40 or 80 minute test. If it’s not stated clearly on the label, most likely it will wash or sweat off.

Active Ingredients- The term “mineral-based” which often means zinc and/or titanium dioxide have been mixed with chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens will only list zinc and/or titanium dioxide.

Inactive Ingredients- Even if the active ingredients are non-toxic (i.e. mineral), they still can be combined with toxins. The most common ones are Oxybenzone, Retinyl palminate (a form of vitamin A), and anything from the dirty dozen list.

Already bought your sunscreen?  Type it in here on the EWG’s website to see where it is ranked or you can read their full list here.

CLEAN SHOPS that carry a good variety of options include:

What's your favourite clean sunscreen?