Safer Sun 101: Why It Matters, and the Best Sunscreens for You & the Earth

Before I overwhelm you with thousands of words of text about safer sunscreens… as I have a tendency to do when I get passionate about safer personal care products, let me ask you a question: Have you or your child ever gotten sunscreen in your eyes? That sting that brings tears is a chemical burn. Chemical sunscreens are killing the coral reef. Imagine what they’re doing to you. The FDA recently acknowledged those chemicals are absorbed and build-up in your system and proposed looking further into the ingredients, to potentially ban them. When the Government says they want you to switch to mineral-based physical sunscreens, it’s time to pay attention.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, Sunscreen is a hot topic. So, let’s go over some safe sun basics.


Contrary to the scare tactics I often read, let’s be clear: sun is good for you. Exposure itself doesn’t increase risk of cancer, and has many benefits including reducing other adverse health events from increasing Vitamin D.

Getting burned is what IS bad! Additionally, these factors also increase risk of skin cancer: moles, family history, fair complexion or red hair, smoking, chemical exposure, Vitamin D deficiency, weakened immune system, sunburns as a child.

Sunscreens need to be used to avoid getting burned when you can’t moderate sun exposure – but which kind?

Chemical Sunscreen

  • Absorbs UV radiation into your skin and the chemical bonds break down rays and release them as heat.
  • Oybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate

Known risks

These chemicals intentionally absorb into the skin, enter the bloodstream, and have been linked to health issues such as:

  • Interacts and disrupts human sex hormones (infertility) or thyroid hormones
  • Increased chance of cancer (yes, for the product you’re using to avoid it!)
  • Cause skin and eye irritation and allergies
  • Increase pigmentation (make brown spots darker because of increased generated heat)

Physical Mineral sunscreen

Physically creates a barrier on the skin to reflect and block rays from penetrating into your skin

  • Zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide
  • These minerals are independently beneficial for skin (speeds wound healing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory).

Known risks

  • Low quality product may contain contaminated heavy metals and nanoparticles.

What does the Government say?

  • In a huge, rare recent announcement, FDA published the findings from a study that chemical sunscreens do in fact absorb into the body at high percentages, and they’re not sure what it’s doing to us. [read article here]
  • Subsequently, the FDA has proposed new regulation to make sure sunscreen is safe and effective, but can’t do anything about it right now.
  • CNN reported that based on the new FDA proposal, the majority of sunscreens would flunk their standards.
  • We already know chemical-based sunscreens kill the coral reef, which is why Hawaii banned them. [read article here]


  1. UVB: these are the burning rays linked to skin cancer.
  2. UVA: aging rays. These penetrate deeper into the skin causing free radical damage which can lead to wrinkles and age spots on skin.
  3. Blue Light: increases oxidants and induces oxidative stress preferentially in mitochondria (oxidizing accelerates aging) rays. Think light from all of our smart devices and blue light in the atmosphere; the latest research suggests it may damage skin proteins and lipids and cause as much skin-aging effects as UVA & UVB (including affecting skin elasticity, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation).

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is the measures of protection against UVB rays:

  • Sun Protection Factor 15 protects from 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 protects from 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 protects from 98% of UVB rays

Tips for using Mineral/Physical Sunscreen:

  • Application is more important than SPF number; cover every area to be exposed in the sun.
  • UVA and blue light (aging rays) penetrate glass and clouds; always wear sunscreen!
  • Reapply every 2 hours, or after exiting the water. Apply 15 minutes before getting into the water and not while sweating.
  • Rub in sunscreen lotion, stick or spray fully into the skin.


You must learn to look up ingredients. Many sunscreens will advertise themselves as mineral sunscreens, but also add chemical filters because it makes the product less expensive to manufacture. And most “aloe” products have a ton of harmful additives. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is!  Because the FDA’s authority is limited on personal care products, the EWG has a great database for looking up products like sunscreens!

Want more info? Checkout these two podcasts (free in iTunes or listen through your web browser) detailing sun safety – including, why we as humans NEED sun exposure, and how to safely manage it!

The Paleo View Podcast, Ep 301: Sunscreen, Sun Exposure & Sunburns

The Paleo View Podcast, Ep 302: Is Blue Light Harmful and What Should I Do?


Beautycounter is a market-leader in the safest and most effective sunscreens. Last year they launched the award-winning innovative spray sunscreen; and this year, TODAY they did it again: a TINTED SPRAY which gives a bit of color and evens skin tone before heading to the beach + a cooling gel (sans parabens) is now available!

Things that make Beautycounter’s Sunscreen special:

  1. Contains all the good stuff (zinc oxid, titanium dioxid, lutein) to nourish skin with nutrients and antioxidants.
  2. Lightweight mineral broad spectrum formula protects across ALL THREE harmful sun rays. They use minerals to physically block damage as well as antioxidant-rich orange California Poppy, which contains carotenoid-rich Letein to block blue light.
  3. Beautyconter’s formula is carefully sourced and tested 3 times for safety.
  4. Countersun is non-nano, ensuring your skin barrier keeps the formula on your skin – not in it.
  5. Beautycounter’s award-winning mist is the only non-nano non-aerosol non-propellant mineral spray lotion, it uses bag-on-valve technology. No potentially harmful propellant chemicals are sprayed into the atmosphere or onto skin, making it safer for the earth.
  6. This sheer formula goes on white but then blends into the skin, and now comes in tinted formula to provide coverage and even skin tone!
  7. Qualifies under HSA/FSA coverage!

Beautycounter ranks the highest safety rating at EWG, here’s why:

Technology: At Beautycounter, we prohibit chemical SPF filters due to their potential for skin irritation. We prefer to use physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreens. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sit on the surface of the skin, and physically bounce or reflect sun’s rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin and eyes.

Formula: Our innovative mineral sunscreen mist uses non-nano zinc oxide. We evaluate the particle size of the non-nano zinc oxide we formulate with to ensure that there is low potential risk of respiration when sprayed and does not enter the blood stream. We never use octinoxate or oxybenzone, ingredients with the potential to damage coral reefs, making our sunscreen active safer for both people and our oceans.

Packaging: We’ve chosen a non-aerosol, bag-on-valve actuator system. While it delivers the convenience and even application of an aerosol, it is actually air-powered. So, no potentially harmful propellant chemicals are sprayed into the atmosphere or onto skin.


A TINTED SUNSCREEN: Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist

You may want to spray on white to see where it’s going on your kids, but I’m SO excited that I get to arrive at the beach with a bit of SAFER color that also evens skin tone AND it guards against the sun’s damaging rays! Like Dew Skin for your legs, or a one-time use sunless tanner that you can charge back to your FSA account, YES PLEASE! Good for all skin types; formulated without gluten ingredients* and without animal-derived ingredients; Oxybenzone-free, Oxtinoxate-free

I’ve tried it myself and it feels and smells awesome!

  • Reef-friendly
  • Broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen
  • Provides UVA, UVB, and Blue Light defense
  • Water resistant for 80 minutes
  • Lightweight formula absorbs easily
  • Delivers the convenience and even application of an aerosol (but is actually air-powered)
  • Tinted formula helps camouflage imperfections
  • Provides a natural finish for darker skin tones and reduced chalky cast
  • Great for paler skin tones that want to get glowing ahead of the beach day


  • Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Shake well (the minerals that protect you will settle at the bottom, use a stick formula to avoid this) and hold 4-6 inches away from body when spraying. Blend in with your hands like you would a lotion. Formula blends in quickly and dries down without an oily residue or chalky cast.
  • For face application, spray on hand, then apply to face. Do not spray directly onto face and avoid breathing in mist.
  • Mind where you mist—like any mineral formula, these mists can transfer onto clothing or the environment around you. Spray with care, LET IT SET, and then go!

Scented with Monoi, a luxurious tropical-inspired beauty – includes Ylang Ylang essential oil of the finest quality, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Coconut and Vanilla.

Another consideration: After Sun

Many “aloe” based after-sun products are formulated with ethoxylated solubilizers, chemical synthetic colorants, and parabens. We choose Beautycounter’s NEW Aftersun Cooling Gel because it helps to soothe skin irritation and boost hydration with a safer, lightweight formula. With aloe, sea kelp, and California Poppy extract, the formula helps calm skin after a day in the sun. Same scent as the new Tinted Countersun. Good for all skin types; formulated without gluten, soy, or peanut ingredients*

Other media sources have given high praise to Beautycounter’s Countersun formula:

Honestly I can’t keep up with the press on this sunscreen. Beautycounter was the #1 googled beauty brand of 2018, and the high performance of these safer products are catching like wildfire. From Vogue, Cosmo, and PopSugar, to Allure Best of Beauty Winner for TWO years in a row and GQ, Women’s Health, PureWow, to even the Today Show (twice) recommended sunscreens. Forbes even did a new piece on the Tinted Countersun that JUST launched!

Beautycounter’s award-winning products prove that you can have safe products that actually perform;
6 years in a row, for good reason

And PS our family favorite for Finn’s eczema, customer cult-favorite, award-winning EWG-verified Cleansing Balm is now 13.75% less than before, with Band of Beauty’s additional 10% back and free shipping, this is a FANTASTIC deal!


Get a FREE Countermatch Adaptive Body Moisturizer by joining Band of Beauty (loyalty program). Yup, the very same one that JUST won Allure’s Best of Beauty 2019. The program is like Amazon Prime, only with no auto-renewal or auto-ships. If you spend $100+ when you join this annual program you get the lotion free, plus free shipping, and 10% back in product credit for your next purchase in 90 days.

I actually make less money when you use Band of Beauty, but I recommend everyone get it because it really is such a no-brainer and the best way to save money (unless you want to host a pop-up event or join our team)!

Add Band of Beauty to your cart HERE


I love helping people find the best deals. If you want to switch to safer but struggle with budget or choosing what to prioritize, ask me! Here are 3 ways to save:

  1. Buy discounted bundles of product, like Flawless in Five which now features Dew Skin (my daily SPF tinted face moisturizer).
  2. Host a pop-up or party – I’ve been hosting these on Instagram and having so much fun! We keep it casual, fun, and educational with no pressure to purchase (you know me, I wouldn’t do that!), but you’d be doing your friends a favor in helping them protect their health and we have lots of incentives to hosts and party goers!
  3. Join our team for at least 25% of everyday, plus cash bonuses, product credit, discounts on other like-minded brands – what’s not to love? You get paid to help others and we get to spend more time together! I’d love to add your voice to our mission, and with no monthly sales requirements you can run your business the way you’re comfortable.

Some of my other sun-inspired favorites:

  • Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, it’s like the Tinted Sunscreen – but for your face, everyday. Get it 20% off (+10% back with Band of Beauty) in Flawless in 5, the 5-minute make-up routine I use nearly everyday.
  • Rosewater Mist is an excellent natural hydrant that is also a boost when you want to feel fresh.
  • Glow Shimmer Oil is a non-SPF way to get a summer glow when you want a bronzed shine.


Beautycounter’s sunscreens are safer because they’re free of harmful chemical filters, are non-nano non-propellant non-aerosol zinc oxide and titanium dioxide based, tested for safety, are better for the ocean, atmosphere, and those you love. There are now 5 Countersun products to choose from.

I recommend getting these award-winning products for the best deal: the discounted multi-tasking Cleansing Balm, Flawless in 5 (which includes 3 Allure Best of Beauty winners), Countersun, and Band of Beauty. You’d spend $268 (before taxes) for a $359.75 value – that’s 25.5% off, more than my discount!

Have questions? I’d love to help. Want a sample? I’m happy to send one! Just e-mail me.

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