Is Natural Sunscreen Effective? Here's What You Need To Know

If you're anything like me, you're probably more likely to buy natural products over brands containing chemicals you don't recognize — and rightfully so! But, the one natural product that has had its effectiveness called into question in recent years is natural sunscreen.

But is there truth in the claim that natural sunscreen is not as effective as traditional ones? As it turns out, the answer is yes. According to Consumerreports.org, their recent study suggests that just 26% of mineral-only sunscreens met their SPF claim compared to 58% of chemical sunscreens.

If that's the case, your next question may be whether or not there is an effective natural sunscreen on the market. Addressing that question, Consumer Reports says, "If you want a sunscreen without chemicals, consider Cotz Plus SPF 58, which was the top-scoring “natural” sunscreen in our tests — delivering an SPF of 38 and Very Good UVA protection—or California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+, which met its SPF claim and received a Good Rating for UVA and UVB protection." The site points out that mineral sunscreen's lack of effectiveness comes mainly from the consistency of the product. Since minerals are a powder, they aren't able to create an impermeable layer on the skin, therefore making their sun protection less effective.

Conversely, the LA Times spoke to Jeffrey Dover, president of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, who says that mineral sunscreens are effective if used correctly. He points out that most users don't apply enough product, therefore become more susceptible to burns.

The consensus? Well, it's really up to you! But, if you do choose to go with a mineral or natural option, be sure to apply it heavily and often. If you're interested in giving natural sunscreen a try, here are a few highly rated options:

1. Alba Botanical Green Tea Natural Sunscreen

Alba Botanical Natural Green Tea Sunscreen, puritan.com, $7.59

Water resistant and SPF 45, this product gets nearly 5-star ratings from consumers.

2. Honest Company Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30

Honest Company Mineral Sunscreen SPF30, honest.com, $13.95

After coming under scrutiny for lack of effectiveness last year, this new and improved formula should do the trick. Just be sure to apply a hefty layer.

3. Sunology Natural Face Sunscreen, SPF 50

Sunology Natural Face Sunscreen SPF 50, drugstore.com, $14.99

According to user reviews, this product gets 5-star effectiveness ratings.

Happy summer-ing — and remember to always follow the directions on the label exactly as printed!

Images: @thehonestco/Instagram; Courtesy of Brands