Does Natural Sunscreen Really Work?

Author: F&F   Date Posted:23 November 2014 

So does natural sunscreen work? You betcha. It's hot out there and we're reaching for the sunscreen but have you questioned what's in it? We'll explain more with what to look out for so you stay sun safe.

This morning I ran a fun run in NSW and was handed a tube of sunscreen at the end. I quickly scanned the ingredients and shook my head in disappointment. Full of nasty chemicals that wouldn't mean a thing to the average person; 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Octocrylene, bemotrizinol to name a few.

Your standard, and most common, sunscreen is designed so that when UV rays hit the sunscreen the molecules in the compounds absorb the radiation through their chemical bonds. The components of the sunscreen then slowly break down and dissipate heat. In summary you have a chemical reaction taking place on your skin! Whilst this happens there is the possibility that your skin, your biggest organ, absorbs some of these chemicals and this has been linked to cancer and hormonal issues.

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) in the US has hit out pretty hard at several manufacturers and common sunscreens. They also mentioned that as these sunscreens break down they become quickly ineffective so you need to keep reapplying. 

Natural sunscreen works differently. These use Zinc Oxide, amongst other natural ingredients, as a reflector to sun rays. These work immediately and your skin isn't absorbing the products of a chemical reaction. The EWG believes these to be effective with no adverse reactions. 

Ingredients to watch out for, in the more common sunscreens, include Oxybenzone and (Octylmethoxycinnamate); these can be absorbed by the skin and have been linked to hormone disruption.

So, if you are using sunscreen think natural first. If you are using more common, chemical based, sunscreens look at the label. 


Of course there are key things you can do to help.....

  1. Stay out of the sun at midday (ideally 11am-3pm)
  2. Wear a hat and cover up
  3. Remember to apply a liberal amount of sunscreen. The Cancer Council states that most people do not apply enough sunscreen resulting in only 50-80% of the protection stated on the product
  4. Reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours especially if you have been swimming, sweating or have towel dried your body
  5. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun
  6. Always seek shade wherever possible

Stay safe and remember to slip, slap, slop! Shop our natural sunscreens here


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