Are you looking for an effective sunscreen alternative that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals? We all know the importance of protecting our skin from UV rays in order to avoid skin cancer. But as more information is uncovered about the negative effects of traditional sunscreen ingredients, people are increasingly looking for other solutions. So, let’s look at the issues and your options for a reliable sunscreen alternative.

What’s the Problem with Sunscreen?

There’s no question that it’s important to protect your skin from the sun. It reduces the risk of skin cancer and prevents premature aging. But in recent years, serious issues have been identified with summer skincare and the way that we protect ourselves. These include vitamin D malabsorption, negative environmental effects, and reports of allergens in ingredient formulas.

Applying sunscreen prevents the body from absorbing vitamin D, an essential nutrient for strong bones and healthy muscle tissue. People are spending an increasing amount of time indoors and using chemical sunscreen when they do venture out, which is part of the reason that so many people are deficient. There’s also evidence that the oxybenzone found in sunscreens is leading to coral bleaching. The Environmental Working Group claims that it is a key contributor to reef deformity so many people are looking at sunscreen alternatives to protect natural eco-systems. There’s also the added problem of chemical ingredients in sunscreen (like zinc oxide) becoming unstable over time, meaning they’re less effective and more likely to cause allergy issues.

What’s the Best Sunscreen Alternative?

If you want a safe and effective sunscreen alternative, then there are several options available. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants (like fruits and vegetables) will help your body to protect itself on the inside and provide numerous health benefits. Seed oils, plant extracts, and physical barriers can also be used for external sun protection. Best of all, they are natural sunscreen alternatives so don’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage our health and environment. Here’s a rundown of some of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun, including the level of protection provided (ranging from SPF 6 to 50).

Shea Butter

Shea butter can prevent sun damage on par with an SPF factor of 6 to 10. It contains vitamin A and E, both of which are antioxidants that can protect skin from free radical damage. This type of butter is also incredibly hydrating and helps to prevent premature aging. If you have an uneven skin tone, then it can also help to balance it out while restoring elasticity.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is usually associated with after-sun treatment as it’s amazingly effective at reducing sunburn. But it can also be used as a preventative sunscreen when applied before going out. Aloe Vera protects the skin by blocking around 20% of sunlight so it’s still important to cover up and limit the time spent in direct sun exposure. But it can be a helpful sunscreen alternative if you’re running errands around town and expect to be in and out of the sun for brief periods.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be touted as a cure-all for most ailments but in the case of sunscreen it’s actually true. It provides the equivalent of an SPF 10 so isn’t suitable for strong sunlight and may not be enough to protect you in the middle of the day (depending where in the world you live). Coconut oil also contains vitamin E to keep skin soft and healthy, plus smells delicious too.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is packed with fatty acids that support natural skin health along with vitamins A, D, and E. This natural alternative delivers SPF protection anywhere between 4 and 15 so you’ll still need to be careful when the sun is at its strongest. The handy thing about avocado oil is that you can buy it at most supermarkets and grocery stores, so it’s easy to get your hands on.

Sesame Oil

Using sesame oil as a sunscreen alternative can block up to 30% of the sun’s rays from your skin. It’s another one that’s available from local supermarkets and isn’t too expensive (especially when compared to conventional sunscreens). You’ll still need to reapply it frequently but this seems like a small price to pay for avoiding nasty chemicals and protecting our environment.

Wheatgerm Oil

Wheatgerm oil delivers SPF protection of around 20 making it substantially more effective than some of the other oils on this list. It also contains vitamin E and K which aid skin health and prevent premature aging. This oil is another one that targets free radicals caused by UVA and UVB rays and stop them from causing serious damage.

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot seed oil is rich in beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin A. These have antioxidant properties that counteract the effects of free radicals. Carrot seed oil delivers a high SPF of between 38 and 40 making it one of the most effective on this list. It also provides moisturization and can help to heal burns and wounds.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Red raspberry seed oil can provide SPF protection from 28 all the way up to 50. It has the strongest potential for preventing sun damage while also moisturizing skin. However, it’s not likely to be available at your local grocery store so you may need to hunt this one down online.

Sunscreen Patches

The best sunscreen alternative is to use a patch that protects you from the inside out. Choosing one that contains Polypodium Leucotomos (a tropical fern extract) can help you benefit from the same protective effects that plants use in the sun. It acts as an antioxidant that increases your skin’s tolerance to the sun. Because it works from the inside out, it’s thought to be able to penetrate layers of the skin that sunscreens and oils can’t. Plus, it contains a range of other nutrients with antioxidant properties including vitamin C, D, and E.

Check Out Our Sun Away Patch

The Sun Away Plus patch is formulated to help support the resistance of ultraviolet radiation and neutralization of free radicals that lead to premature skin aging. It contains a unique combination of nutrients and natural compounds with proven antioxidant properties. This includes Polypodium Leucotomos, plus your daily requirements of vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and selenium. These micronutrients support your skin’s natural ability to withstand UV rays, repair surface-level damage, and protect against harmful free radicals.