Ah, sunscreen. It seems like just yesterday I shunned you for Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil (did that stuff smell amazing, or what?)…. These days, I rarely go without it, and it is usually SPF 30, not 4. While we all know that it is important to wear sunscreen, when you are pregnant, there are additional facts to consider when getting ready for summer.
First, avoid sunscreens that contain “inactive” ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrance (which usually contains phthalates), petrolatum and propylene glycol. These are known endocrine disruptors, and the last thing you want to do when pregnant is messing with your delicate hormones.
You also want to avoid active ingredients that are chemical blockers, like benzophenone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl-methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone, PABA, or padimate-O. Though they absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin, some of these chemicals have scary consequences. Oxybenzone, for example, which penetrates the skin very easily and can be found in the urine of nearly every American, mother’s milk and umbilical cord blood, is also an endocrine disruptor. It mimics estrogen, has been found to alter sperm count in animals and interferes with normal fetal and childhood development.
What’s more, many conventional sunscreens only block UVB rays. But the sun’s UVA rays also age us and cause cancer, so make sure you aren’t missing half of the equation when making your purchase and favor sunscreens that use physical blockers, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These actually block and deflect UVA and UVB rays (also referred to as broad-spectrum).
Still feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of options out there? Don’t worry. I’ve tried them all, so you don’t have to. Here are 5 of my favorite natural sunscreen brands for pregnancy.
1. Suntegrity. During pregnancy, pigment-producing cells called melanocytes kick into overdrive. This makes your skin more susceptible to discoloration (anything from freckles to melasma), especially when it's exposed to UV rays. So it’s more important than ever to protect your face. Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Tinted Face Sunscreen is my go-to for a beach day. It gives incredible, nontoxic protection from the sun while evening out skin tone. For those with normal-dry skin, it can also be worn over moisturizeror under makeup for everyday use. And, with 4 versatile shades, there is an option for virtually everyone. They also make an equally fabulous untinted formula, which goes on totally sheer and feels like a luxe primer.
Since your bump is the most prominent part of the body, it is more susceptible to burning. So if you’re wearing a bikini while pregnant, remember to reapply often. Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body SPF 30 is simply stellar. It contains a whopping 20 percent non-nano zinc oxide, which not only protects from both UVA and UBV rays, but also soothes skin. The finish is sheer, and the formula is very moisturizing, but not greasy, and it has a light, natural citrus scent. If you prefer, they also make an unscented version, and they even make a TSA-approved travel size for your short travels.
2. True Botanicals. True Botanicals Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20 is one of my daily essentials and an all-time favorite. I love this lightweight formula so much that I even wear it as my tinted moisturizer under my makeup for evening outings. This product creates a true soft-focus effect. It’s offered in two shades: light and medium.
3. Ursa Major. For those of you who are looking for an untinted daily SPF, Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense SPF 18 goes on sheer – I’m talking ZERO white, chalky, tint. It is not oily, greasy, heavy, or runny, it doesn’t leave me shiny. The finish is semi-matte, and instead of rubbing it in for 5 minutes like many other SPFs, it sinks right into skin. It is perfect for those who have oily skin or are acne prone.
4. Acure. If you must use a spray (I don’t personally love the inhalations risks), you can rejoice in the long-time-coming release of a safe sunscreen spray, by Acure Organics Sunscreen Spray SPF 30. It’s nontoxic, mineral based, and made with non-nano zinc oxide. It’s water resistant up to 80 minutes and doesn’t leave a ghostly-white finish. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic.
5. Ilia. Because a girl’s gotta have accessories, I love Ilia Moondance Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20. This mineral-based finishing powder is perfect for reapplication while on the go, and totally zaps shine. The spill-proof applicator has an open, close and buff option that is perfect for touching up while out in the sun. Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner SPF 15 is the perfect trifecta of lip balm, lipstick, and sun protection with a peachy, universally flattering hue. Ingredients such as cocoa and Shea butter hydrate lips, while zinc oxide provides natural SPF. If you’re in the sun, reapply often.
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