In an effort to stay healthy and prevent cancer when you were younger, your parents probably told you to apply sunscreen. If the phrase "honey, did you put on some sunscreen" takes you back to beach days with your mom, you're not alone.
In fact, sunscreen is the most common go-to sun protection method. However, many people either can't use it, due to an allergy or just don't actually think they need to put it on. In fact, according to Advanced Dermatology, only 31% of Americans state that they use sunscreen year-round. More than 1 in 10 people say that don't wear sunscreen at all. Some sunscreens also contain chemicals that can penetrate the skin and disrupt your hormones due to chemical fillers.
So, how do you stay sun-safe without sunscreen? And are there natural alternatives to sunscreen that work? Fortunately, there are sustainable ways to protect your beautiful skin while still getting your daily dose of Vitamin D in. In this blog, we go over suggested sunscreen alternatives and why UPF clothing is your best bet.
7 Alternatives to Sunscreen
Here are the top sunscreen alternatives we've seen grow in popularity. We do want to share that while sunscreen alternatives can protect your skin from some UV rays while also giving you a healthy tan and glow, they are not recommended for long-term use. UPF clothing with a 50+ rating would be our recommendation for proper sun protection care.
1. Coconut Oil
Vitamin E in coconut helps give your skin a certain suppleness and maintains its overall health. As a skin protector, coconut oil aids from the inside out. Adding coconut oil to your skin promotes hydration.
There is a chemical in coconut oil, called lauric acid, that protects against UV rays as well, although we need to share that that's only about 20% of them. This is why it is important to consider how much sun exposure you get each day and where you live before relying solely on coconut oil to protect your skin.
2. Shea Butter
Shea butter does offer some protection against UV rays with an SPF of 3 to 4. It contains antioxidant vitamins A and E, which can defend the skin from free radicals. It hydrates while also preventing premature aging. It’s also extremely moisturizing and aids in the prevention of fine lines and wrinkles.
It's also helpful for really dry or chapped skin because it seals in moisture and prevents flaking. Shea butter cannot be used by itself as a sunscreen, but it can be used to moisturize your skin after you've been in the sun. We suggest wearing a UPF hat, UPF bathing suit, and a UPF cover-up to provide full protection from the sun.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is effective in treating sunburns, redness, and dry skin. It can block around 20% of UV rays, making it a good option for after-sun care. We wouldn't recommend using it over sunscreen.
Avocados contain beta-carotene, potassium, and folic acid making them a great fruit with sun-protective properties.
As avocados are high in fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E, they can help provide relief if you're suffering from sunburnt skin, dry skin, or a rash.
This natural sunscreen alternative provides SPF protection ranging from 4 to 15, so we don't recommend using it instead of sunscreen or UPF 50+ clothing.
5. Plant Oils
Even though certain plant oils may offer some UV protection, they are not a viable alternative to sunscreen or UPF 50+ clothing as they have a sun protection factor of less than 10.
Plant oils may provide a certain amount of protection from the sun, but they are not regulated or controlled by the FDA. Do note, that it may be more dangerous than beneficial to substitute sunscreen with natural oils.
Here are some plant oils that offer some UV protection:
Raspberry Seed Oil: Some studies have found that this oil can protect you against UVA and UVB rays, although not entirely.
Cranberry Seed Oil: Cranberry seed oil is high in vitamin E and contains naturally occurring UV filters, which assist to protect the skin from sun damage.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: Grapefruit seed extract is naturally high in vitamin C, making it a great oil to protect irritated skin.
Carrot Seed Oil: Carrot seed oil supposedly offers protection from UV rays; however, more in-depth studies need to be conducted before making this claim. Carrot seed oil does contain antioxidants that protect your skin from UV damage.
- Prickly Pear Seed Oil: The flavonoids and Vitamin E in this oil can help reduce sunburns and skin irritation.
6. UPF Sun Hats
If you are looking for a safe alternative to sunscreen, find a UPF 50+ sun hat. UPF 50+ means that this article of clothing will protect you from over 98% of the sun's UVA and UVB rays.
If you can't wear sunscreen, be sure to find yourself a UPF hat that has a wide brim. You can also use a neck gaiter too to protect your neck.
7. UPF Rash Guard
Be sure to cover your shoulders, torso, and arms with a rash guard to keep yourself safe from harmful UVA and UVB rays with a UPF rash guard. We also recommend purchasing a UPF rash guard with a UPF 50+ rating to keep yourself as safe as you can from the sun.
Are Sunscreen Alternatives Safe and Effective?
Natural sunscreen alternatives do provide some skin benefits but are not the best choice when it comes to keeping your skin safe from the sun. If you spend a good amount of time outdoors, we recommend finding products, like UPF 50+ clothing, that can keep you safe from UVA and UVB rays.
Sun Care Tips to Stay Safe
Here are our top tips on how to stay safe in the sun:
- Hydrate your skin.
- Drink lots of water.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a 30+ SPF rating.
- Invest in a UPF hat to keep your face protected.
- Use sunscreen regularly.
- Avoid the sun at peak hours.
- Invest in UPF clothing.
What Is the Best Sunscreen Alternative?
If you just can't wear sunscreen, do invest in UPF 50+ clothing. It is the best sunscreen alternative for those who either are allergic to sunscreen, forget to wear it, or just don't like putting it on.
At UV Skinz, we pride ourselves on keeping you sun-safe. Feel free to shop our UPF swimwear collection.