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Safe Summer Sunscreen Picks

Tender, red flaming sunburned skin – and the unattractive and bothersome lizard peeling may be just some of the after effects of overexposure to the sun and underuse of sunscreen.

In helping protect my family’s skin, I am completely overloaded with choices while strolling the sunscreen aisle at our local drugstore. Just like my food, I am becoming an avid label reader. I don’t understand at least half of the ingredients, or the possible harmful effects. However, as a starting point, what are some basic guidelines when it comes to selecting and applying sunscreen?


Charity Ries, medical aesthetician, Coast Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center, Laguna Beach, recommends checking the label for two key ingredients. “Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (safe mineral sunscreens) will help protect your skin against the harsh and harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun,” explains Ries.

Ries also urges sun goers to reapply, reapply, reapply. “Remember to slather on sunscreen every two to three hours – especially when in direct sunlight,” she advises.

So, what are a few favorite sunscreens that offer “safe” protection from those dangerous rays? Here are a few top sunscreen picks:

The Honest Company Sunscreen SPF 30

The Honest Company Sunscreen is a natural, unscented, broad-spectrum (UVA & UVB) 30 SPF mineral sunscreen. It is baby-safe for use on children under six months of age. Orange County Mother Belle Regeer selected it as her top pick. “It scored high in the Environmental Working Group scientific review of sunscreens,” said Regeer. On the flipside, the top-rated sunscreen is “not cheap and can leave a white filmy residue,” according to Regeer.

Goddess Garden Sunny Body Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 30

The company claims the first “to market Natural Sunscreen in a Continuous Spray.” I am a bit lazy when it comes to the entire sunscreen ritual for my two kids, so I’ve grown accustomed to sunscreen sprays. Recently, I’ve learned that continuous sunscreen sprays are not recommended by experts due to potentially harmful inhalation – especially for children. When I do use this spray, I make sure to spray in a ventilated area, and use my hand to apply. It’s also packed with natural ingredients like aloe vera, sunflower and radish root. This spray requires a lot of repeated reapplications, and can break the summer travel budget with its hefty price tag.

Sunscreen anyone?

Sunscreen anyone? Which one?

Arbonne Babycare Sunscreen (ABC) Broad Spectrum SPF 30

ABC Broad Spectrum is a vegan certified pure, safe and formulated with antioxidants vitamins and gentle botanicals, according to manufacturer Arbonne. For my kids, this sunscreen provided a high level of protection without the white sunscreen face. This sunscreen is PABA-free, pediatrician and dermatologist tested. Even for the retail price, it seems to last quite awhile.

With summer just weeks away, remember to label read before buying, then lather up with some safe sunscreen. After all, nobody likes a peeling lizard, but rather a glowing sun goddess with her happy, healthy family.


We are thrilled to offer one OC Mom Blog family a sunscreen gift basket (pictured above) to use just in time for summer. Please enter to win the gift basket in the form below:

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The above is the opinion of the writer. The writer was not compensated by any of the companies cited.

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.
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  1. Beach club!

  2. Our favorite summer activity is making a summer bucket list of all the things we would like do. The kids are reminded we can’t always do everything but we try to do a lot! Things from camps, picnics, beach, water fights, organizing and donating, and a lot of outdoor activities!

  3. Swimming…and swimming and sunblock go hand in hand 🙂

  4. We LOVE going to the beach! Since daddy is a lifeguard, we also get to watch him work sometimes too. Can’t wait for the warmer summer weather. 🙂

  5. We love going to the beach and since daddy is a lifeguard, we get to see him too! Can’t wait for the warmer weather this summer!

  6. I love swimming in a pool.
    It’s been in the 70’s rainy for 2 weeks,I haven’t been able to do that.

  7. Swimming!

  8. Going to the beach is always a summer fave. We live in OC, why not?

  9. My favorite summer activity is swimming!

  10. I love to swim. Rivers and lakes are best, but any body of water is fine!

  11. Thanks, we are looking for a new sunscreen that doesn’t leave us looking like ghosts!

  12. We love to go for family bike rides and picnic at the beach!

  13. We spend as much time at the beach as possible during summer! As a very fair skinned person, my love of the ocean competes with my aversion to sunburns! I am constantly reapplying sunscreen!

  14. Pool or beach. My actual problem with it is my 3 year olds eczema. So far sunblock is working great. It seems to just be the pool. No problem at the beach. This summer I want to take the kids deep sea fishing with the kids

  15. My favorite summer activity is hanging out by the pool.

  16. Spending time at the beach is our favorite summer activity!

  17. We try to go to the beach (and Dog Beach) all summer long!

  18. Swimming!

  19. Would love to find a sun screen that doesn’t have all kinds of chemicals in it. My daughter is so fair.

  20. My favorite summer activity is having a picnic with family and friends.

  21. I can’t wait to try these out with my family – thank you again!

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