Tips for Using a Natural Sunscreen


As we relax during the dog days of summer, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays to avoid burns and other types of skin damage. Before heading out to the cottage or park with your friends and family, be sure to follow these sunscreen tips so you can enjoy the sunshine without worry.


Choose natural ingredients

When shopping for a sunscreen, look for a lotion that’s mineral-based and made with the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Unlike the potentially harmful ingredients found in conventional sunscreens (especially sprays) that can be bad for both your body once inhaled, and the environment, these minerals lie on the skin to reflect damaging UVA and UVB rays without being absorbed.

Understand SPF levels

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. To measure how much time you’re able to stay out in the sun with sunscreen, use this equation:


More SPF doesn’t necessarily better protection, either. Research has shown that there’s little difference between sunscreens with SPF 50 and sunscreens with SPF 50+. A good range to stay between is SPF 15 and SPF 50.

Reapply throughout the day

One layer of sunscreen in the morning won’t shield you all the way from sunrise to sunset, especially if you plan on cooling down in the waters — even the effectiveness of sunscreens marked “water resistant” are reduced when submerged. Make sure to first apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before heading out and reapply generously after swimming or sweating. Check the label on your sunscreen for the recommended amount to apply as well; stronger sunscreens may not work as well as you’d expect if you’re using too little of it.

Sunscreens and kids

Don’t put sunscreen on babies less than six months old. Instead, keep them out of the sun entirely, as their skin and bodies are much more sensitive to heat than an adult's. Don’t forget to also keep an eye on teenagers: teens as young as 13 often go out without sunscreen and therefore need more supervision when it comes to sun care (no matter how grown up and responsible they tell you they are!). 

Be diligent with after-care

If you’ve been wearing your sunscreen faithfully but somehow still managed to get burnt, moisturize the afflicted areas with aloe vera. If you’ve got an aloe plant sitting at home, simply break off a fleshy leaf and rub the gel on the sunburnt areas for quick relief. You can also find aloe-based moisturizers at your local CHFA Member health food store.

Click here to use our Find-A-Retailer tool to find your local CHFA Member health food store, where you can get a natural sunscreen to protect you and your family from the damaging sunlight, so everyone can enjoy their summer burn-free.

Emily Arsenault