Facts About Sunscreen

facts about sunscreen


In case you woke up thinking today was Monday, it’s actually Tuesday.

My Monday looked like this…


I couldn’t have asked for better weather. My son and my friend Meaghan’s daughter had a blast in the ocean as well as coating themselves so much in sand that the beach came home with us.

I am happy to report that no sunburns came home with us though. Not on my watch is my son’s skin allowed to burn.


Did you know that today is National Sunscreen Awareness Day?

I know I know, it’s always National Something day but I figured now is as good a time as any to discuss all things sunscreen in honor of the “holiday”.


Last year I talked all about the importance of understanding the ingredients in your sunscreen- it’s not just about the SPF number anymore.

I wish that it was that simple just like I wish I didn’t need to care about what lurks in my cosmetics (pesky parabans) or what’s in our food supply.

Sunscreen is necessary for protecting our skin from the damage that can occur within minutes of the sun’s harmful rays.

No matter how many berries we eat or antioxidant packed powerful plant-based foods we consume that fight off the damage from free radicals which can age our skin, the sun is so crazy strong that we must take our topical skincare and sunscreen seriously.

Unfortunately, not all suncare products are created equal. There are way too many sunscreens on the market which contain harmful ingredients which can cause serious health-related conditions beyond just the occasional allergic reaction and rash.

In fact, many of the ingredients used in traditional sunscreens you often see (and buy) contain ingredients which are banned in other countries yet somehow allowed here in the United States.

food babe sunscreen

I know, right? You thought Aveeno and Neutrogena were the safe ones.

My source for all things educational on the topic of sunscreen is Food Babe.

We really owe it all to her for doing the dirty work, putting in the time to seek out which sunscreens are the best and which to avoid.

Rather than repost every single detail that she already covers beautifully, I hope you will click here to read her full sunscreen review and guide.

I did put together a quick little cheat sheet for you which lists the ingredients you want in your sunscreen and which to avoid:

sunscreen cheat sheet

Don’t hate me about the spray bottles – it’s not my fault!

The spray bottles tend to have added chemicals which are not good for your skin and can be toxic to your lungs. And really, using the spray can be hard to cover each area of your skin effectively, not to mention, the smell (avoid the fragrance!) is horrendous to breathe in and hard to avoid when you create the sunscreen spray cloud around you.

My personal recommendations:

SkinCeuticals makes a full line of fabulous skincare products. Their sunscreens are terrific and meet all of Food Babe’s requirements.

skinceuticals sunscreen

SkinCeuticals may cost a little bit more than your traditional sunscreens but a drop goes a long way. One bottle easily lasts me a full summer season which includes daily applications for both running and then sitting out by the pool and beach.

I have loved this sunscreen for a couple of summer seasons now. It is completely safe for your face (no clogged pores or breakouts!) and can be used on your body, especially the delicate skin on your neck. It is also terrific because it is tinted which is nice when you aren’t wearing makeup and aren’t tan.

I actually went to buy a new bottle of this Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen the other day at Blue Mercury when the sales girl informed me that SkinCeuticals came out with a Sports UV Defense Sunscreen.

skinceuticals sports defense

I wasn’t quite sure of the main differences (aside from the six dollar difference in price) so she made me up some samples to take home to try the product as well as go home to do my research.

blue mercury samples

I love shopping at Blue Mercury because they are really kind about giving you samples of any product they carry. I took home a bunch of shampoo/hair care product samples too.

The Sports UV Defense sunscreen is specifically marathon-runner tested to hold up against the most extreme of activities. It is  light-weight on the skin and offers resistance to UV rays as well as heat stress while protecting collagen from sun damage.

I have used the sample of the Sports sunscreen over the past few days and love how nongreasy it is as well as odorless. You don’t even realize you put it on and it offers terrific protection. It isn’t tinted though.

The sales girl at Blue Mercury also introduced me to SkinCeuticals  sunscreen for the eyelids!

skinceuticals eye sunscreen

I think I am in love with this product. Not only is it allergy friendly (I don’t even know I applied it which is a big deal for someone like me sensitive to everything especially around my eyes), it offers our delicate eye area (including the lid!) SPF 50 protection while also evening out your skin tone and acting as an eye shadow base.

I never wear make up to the beach so what I love about this product is that it evens out my skin tone and removes the redness on the lid as well as blends the dark undertones under the eye.

If you are looking to spend a little bit less money, I also like babyganics mineral-based sunscreen which can be found at Target.


I use this sunscreen for my son and for myself as well.

I tend to use the SkinCeuticals products for my face, shoulders, arms and chest area and then use the Baby Ganics for my legs and back while at the beach.

Babyganics is reasonably priced comparable to the conventional brands you find in Target (I think around eight dollars?).

It also meets all of Food Babe’s requirements and receives a good ranking the EWG.org database.

Definitely check out EWG.org. EWG stands for Environmental Working Group. The website is an amazing resource for seeking out the health/allergy related details on all of your household products, skincare/makeup products as well as tons of information regarding our food supply.

Try not to overwhelm yourself perusing the site though – there is so much information that you can make yourself a bit crazy.

Which sunscreens do you use?

Were you aware of the harmful ingredients in so many of the products?

Do you burn easily like me?





Author: The Cookie ChRUNicles

Hi! I'm Meredith. Join me while I run and cook my way through single motherhood. It is always an adventure trying to teach my 12 year old son the benefits of an active lifestyle combined with healthy eating while of course, still leaving room for dessert.

32 thoughts on “Facts About Sunscreen”

  1. This is really helpful to read. I too had a wonderful few days in the sun, but may not have been as careful about it. I usually am good about reapplying but the fact that I ran out, didn’t help too much.

    1. Lol – you are excused for running out of sunscreen but now go to the store and stock up so it doesn’t happen again! it’s not worth the pain of a sunburn or the damage (and wrinkles) it does to your skin.

  2. This is very helpful, I actually had no idea about the chemicals…and I am sad about sprays…AND the bottle of coppertone I just bought! Damnit! At least the sprays dont last long….next time I will be more smart. Thank you for the information, I definitely intend to keep on top of my body’s health in every way I can! Glad you had a wonderful day at the beach!

    1. It’s really scary when you learn what is in some of these products. While we can’t live our lives totally insane about ingredients, it is simple enough to choose wisely and then stick to those safer formulas. Not to mention, our skin is so important – not just about the cancer prevention from sun damage but about slowing down the signs of aging, wrinkles and of course, adding harmful chemicals to our skin/body.

  3. A fantastic round up of info on sunscreen. So many people think they will be ok with nothing, or the bare minimum (I will admit to not being as proactive as I should be at times) but it is so important. I at least am very very careful at the beach and when I know that I will be outside for a long time, but I get lazy on shorter runs. But each year I get more careful about it, and I’m always careful about my face.

    1. I agree with you – always careful about my face and in recent years, have learned to be careful about the rest of me at all times. I was lazy on short runs just like you but now I make sure to always apply to my face, shoulders, arms and chest before every outdoor run – even when that run starts before 7:00 am. I am noticing the sun is stronger and stronger every year and will get red if I don’t apply. We aren’t getting younger and I want my skin to keep looking as though I don’t age much.

  4. oh noooooo I always use neutrogena! I guess I need to go back to the drawing board on that one…Good thing I avoid the sun like the plague. I prefer being pale to having wrinkles later…yes I’m that vain!

    1. I am totally with you so no worries about feeling vain. I used to love to get a little color but in recent years, I am all covered up to avoid the sun damage as much as possible. Not easy to do when I run outside all of the time but I protect my skin with sunscreen for every run. I do what I can to keep myself looking young and wrinkle free.

  5. Holy moly that is a pricey sunscreen. I did not know Neutrogena was so bad. I’ve been using them since forever. Their commercials are quite convincing 😦

    Do you use those sunscreens when you run? I’ve been on the market for one and a lot of them streak or come off funny once I’m sweating in my long runs.

    1. I know the $34 sounds steep but I am telling you the truth that the bottle lasts me at least two summer seasons. I think they say it loses effectiveness and that you should replace each season but I didn’t find that to be the case. I do use the SkinCeuticals for running, specifically bought it for my face so that I wouldn’t clog my pores and that it would absorb properly into my skin. They make a great product and that new one I referenced is made with runners in mind. Both safe for the face and rest of the body. I love to save money but something things are worth a few extra dollars especially when it comes to your skin.

  6. I actually read a lot of articles claiming that the chemicals in some sunscreens are actually worse for us than not wearing any sunscreen at all. Scary stuff. I don’t spend a tonne of time in the sun, but when I do, I use a sunscreen that I buy from the health food store… that I can’t remember the name of right now 😆

    1. Yep, I read that too. I think Food Babe even said that as well. I don’t understand how it can be that such harmful ingredients are allowed in our products but that’s a topic for another day…

  7. Thanks so much for the super informative post! Unfortunately I was a little bit ignorant about sunscreening up this weekend… which I definitely regret. I do love Food Babe’s sunscreen guidelines, and your cheat sheet makes it even easier! I need to be more diligent about this in the future. Looks like you had a fun Memorial Day at the beach! Xo

  8. This is super-helpful! I’ve been looking for a non-toxic and/or DIY sunscreen. Tried coconut oil, and that just didn’t do it for my skin (because, come to find out, it’s only SPF 4… oops!). And it’s definitely on my mind with expecting a little one soon. Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. I think I would burn to a crisp within 5 minutes if I wore an SPF of 4. In fact, I burn with SPF 30 lol…I didn’t know what I know now back when my son was an infant and could wear sunscreen after the 6-month mark but his skin was always sensitive to the sunblocks. I couldn’t use the Waterbabies or whatever it was called on him because he would get an instant rash. I am rather glad now since it is considered not so great for the little ones according to Food Babe and all of this research.

  9. Hello!

    So you think it is worth the cost? I also have eczema and sensitive skin so I am trying to look for something safe and good for you but also not too expensive.
    If you think the price is worth it then I will totally trust you!


    1. At first I didn’t want to spend the money. However, the bottle lasts at least one summer season so when you think about it, the cheaper bottles tend to run out and you need to replenish your supply so you end up spending close to the $34 in a seasons anyway. Food Babe does offer a list of other products she recommends which may be cheaper. I know California Baby makes a good product which may be a little cheaper than SkinCeuticals. The Babyganics is only $8 but I don’t use it on my face. I like to use a product that is specifically designed for the face so I don’t break out. If you have sensitive skin and eczema, I recommend looking into the products listed as well as the SkinCeuticals Fusion Defense one for $34- you don’t need to spend the $40 on the Sports version.

      1. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. How much do use to make it last that long? Because you are so right… Normal bottles do not last that long!


      2. I don’t know why but the Skinceuticals tinted bottle (what’s it called again lol, UV Fusion? I don’t know the link is in the post lol) seemed to last because you really only needed a little bit to cover your face and neck and arms. It is more of a liquid feel I think than the thicker creams so maybe that’s why it lasts so long. I spend decent money on my makeup and moisturizers so I considered this all part of that regimen.

      3. Thank you so much for all of your input! Do you have suggestions of where else to buy it because I do not have that store near me that you said you get it at or should I just look online?



      4. The links in the post take you to the site. If you don’t want to invest the money, I did see Kiss My Face (recommended by FoodBabe) in the store today for less than $10…You may want to google that brand too. I haven’t used it myself so can’t speak about how it is but I am sure if she recommends it, it is good. I just really like SkinCeuticals because I can apply it to my face, run, sweat and never know it was on my face.

  10. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you make the info graphics? I have been meaning to figure that out for awhile! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: