Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Choose the Best Sunscreen

By Paige Schilt, May 14, 2014  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Schilt

Picture this: You’re all packed up for a summer adventure. Maybe you’re hiking into the mountains or sailing to a tropical isle, or perhaps you’re planning a picnic at a local park. Whatever the destination, you’re ready to seize the day! You just have to make a quick stop for sunscreen.

As you scan the sunscreen aisle, your excitement hits a speed bump. What’s all this unfamiliar lingo on the labels? Should you pull out your phone for an afternoon of Internet searches? Is it time to dust off that old Chemistry textbook?

Don’t let sunscreen selection slow down your summer adventures. This handy cheat sheet makes it easy to decipher labels and choose the best sunscreen for your needs.

What’s my number? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone wear a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.

What’s the big deal about broad spectrum?  Only broad spectrum sunscreen offers protection from both UVB sun rays, which can cause redness and burning, and UVA rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.

What about physical vs. chemical sunscreens? Physical sun blocks reflect rays with minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These sunscreens sit on top of the skin, so they work immediately. Chemical sunscreens protect skin by absorbing the sun’s rays. They do this by actually seeping within the skin, which is why you’re supposed to apply them 20 minutes before sun exposure.

Why do some labels say “no chemical sunscreens”? Research suggests that some chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, can mimic hormones. Some ingredients in chemical sunscreens are also toxic to aquatic life in oceans, rivers and lakes.

Why do some labels say “no nano” or “no nanoparticles”? For greater ease of application, some physical sunscreens contain very, very small nanoparticles. Molecules at the nano size seem to behave differently from a chemical and biological standpoint, and the long-term effects are unknown.

Whole Foods Market Premium Body CareIs there an easier way? Yes! Just look for sunscreen with the Whole Foods Market® Premium Body Care™ seal. Whole Foods Market’s Premium Body Care standards prohibit chemical sunscreen active ingredients, and all Premium Body Care products are carefully screened for particle size: manufacturers must submit test results showing the absence of nano-particles in these products.

You can find store-specific Premium Body Care product lists on your local store’s webpage. Find a store here.

Do you have a favorite suncare product? 

Category: Whole Body

 

25 Comments

Comments

Bliss says ...
WE NEED A WHOLEFOODS IN THE PANHANDLE OF FLORIDA BADLY, DESTIN, FLORIDA OR SANTA ROSA BEACH, FLORIDA……..PLEASE COME HERE…….AND IT WOULD BE NICE TO FIND A LIST OF SAFE SUNBLOCKS TO PICK FROM. DO YOU HAVE A LIST ON YOUR SITE WE CAN PRINT OUT?
05/14/2014 3:33:56 PM CDT
Monika Jansen says ...
Thank you for writing about this! I was just reading on Goop all the scary stuff in sunscreens (and then more on the EWG website - ugh). I will be chucking our current supply and loading up during your sale next week!
05/14/2014 4:07:15 PM CDT
Jan Kaisand says ...
Do you carry colore science powder sunscreens?
05/14/2014 4:43:30 PM CDT
Brook Spector says ...
I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 helioplex
05/14/2014 11:22:22 PM CDT
Reshma says ...
Mentioning EWG's website to check out the safety of sunscreens would be a great help to your customers in making a choice. I check the EWG website every year before buying sunscreen, espcially for my kids.
05/14/2014 11:24:52 PM CDT
Janet Andrews says ...
Vanicream Sport Sunscreen SPF 35
05/15/2014 8:17:22 AM CDT
Jean Black says ...
Do you offer fragrance free sunscreens?
05/15/2014 8:26:44 AM CDT
Mary says ...
The best sunscreen has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and is water resistant. I have been using KIss my Face 40 with 6% titanium dioxide and 10% zinc oxide. We have never gotten sunburned using this sunscreenl. It goes on as a white thick lotion but can be blended in and really blocks the skin. All natural. Be careful as Kiss my face as well as others change their formulas at times, for example, I just looked up on the kiss my face website and the zinc oxide % was lowered to 6% although I'm sure this is still really good sunscreen. Also I used one with good ingredients once that was not water resistant and burned because we were swimming.
05/15/2014 8:51:42 AM CDT
Ruth Ott says ...
You left me more confused than ever. I thought you were going to make a definitive recommendation. I have a real problem with applying chemicals on my skin. I don't trust the so-called studies since they are only conclusive for periods of time till the next study comes out. Who is to say whether all these sunscreens in the end do not perhaps even contribute to skin cancer. Maybe the most effective protection is to cover up whenever possible, wear a broad brimmed hat and stay out as much out of the sun from 10:230 am until 4:30 pm during the summer months. Why is it that the natives in the south sea islands do not suffer from high incidences of skin cancer?
05/15/2014 1:09:41 PM CDT
Walter Mosauer says ...
I just came back from a few days in Mexico, spent mostly at the beach or pool. I am fair skinned and have alwasy burned easily. With the application of Kiss My Face non-aerosol spray, I came away about as white as when I left. Though some may see this as a failure, not getting a tan, it is a success to me, this is a great product and though pricey, the mineral formula works and is easy to apply.
05/15/2014 1:52:20 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JAN - Our products differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they carry this brand!
05/15/2014 3:53:28 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JEAN - We should offer fragrance free options but our exact products differ between locations. You can always reach out to your local store directly to make sure they have this in stock before heading over!
05/15/2014 3:54:13 PM CDT
Beverly Morris says ...
I will make a note to buy some when it goes on sale. Thank you!
05/15/2014 11:29:35 PM CDT
BETTY MANTON says ...
I LIVE IN WILMINGTON DE. WHOLE FOODS IS NOT CLOSE FOR ME. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE PRODUCTS THAT YOU HAVE, I AM LOOKING FOR A ORGANIC SUNSCREEN AND AFTER SUN, BUT I DON'T SEE THE PRODUCTS PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO FIND IT, DO YOU HAVE WEB PAGE WHERE I BE ABLE TO BUY THANK YOU BETTY MANTON
05/20/2014 6:02:38 PM CDT
Mary G says ...
Hi, I have a number of clients with allergies. What products, by name if possible, would you recommend for someone with gluten, food dye allergies.
05/21/2014 10:58:11 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@BETTY - We do not currently offer online ordering. We do have a store in Austin that can ship non-perishable items within the US. You can call them directly at 512-542-2243 and they can explain the process and have the Whole Body team make suggestions based on what you're looking for!
05/21/2014 11:05:02 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MARY - We are decentralized as a company so our exact product options differ between stores. Each store should have a list of the gluten free items that they typically carry (availability not guaranteed from the list) on their store web page. Regarding the food dyes, we do not allow any artificial coloring so depending on what their allergy is, this should cover many of the artificial colors and dyes.
05/21/2014 11:06:40 AM CDT
Tiek says ...
Have these SPF products been tested on animals?
05/22/2014 3:12:19 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TIEK - We do not purchase any body care products that have been tested on animals.
05/22/2014 4:12:55 PM CDT
G says ...
The color of my skin is tan. Which brand makes a stick sunblock that does not leave a thick white film all over my skin?
05/22/2014 9:20:12 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@G - Our exact brand selections will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see what they recommend!
05/23/2014 2:43:28 PM CDT
Darlene says ...
I went today to purchase the sunscreen and I did receive 30 % off . I purchased Badger spf 34 anti-bug sunscreen, green babies zinc oxide spf 30 and babo botanical sport stick spf30
05/23/2014 5:06:49 PM CDT
robin says ...
nice job
05/26/2014 11:27:52 AM CDT
Tennille says ...
I love the store....would like a store to open closer to Saginaw,MI or in Saginaw,MI. Thanks
05/27/2014 4:58:08 PM CDT
Michele Hackler says ...
Environmental Working Group's list of safest sunscreens an be found here: http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/
07/05/2014 8:04:34 AM CDT