The 12 Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreen Brands For Expecting Mamas
These pregnancy safe sunscreen options are healthy for both you and baby and are free from all potentially harmful ingredients like oxybenzone so you can feel confident knowing that you are protecting your skin with nontoxic sunscreen throughout your pregnancy.
Expecting mama's have a lot of things to think about and choosing a pregnancy safe sunscreen shouldn't have to be one of them. So today we are breaking down everything all our pregnant mama's out there need to know when it comes to choosing a safe sunscreen that will protect your skin and be healthy for both you and baby.
Protection From UVA and UVB Rays
When it comes to protecting your skin from the potentially harmful rays of the sun, there are two different types we need to be thinking about: UVA and UVB.
UVA and UVB are two different kinds of rays from the sun that enter our atmosphere and can lead to things like premature skin aging, skin cancer, eye damage, and sunburns. But how are these two sunrays different?
UVA rays the rays from the sun that we are the most exposed to throughout our lives. These rays don't vary much in intensity over the course of the year and can pass through clouds and even glass windows, meaning that we are always being exposed to them. This is why it is so important to make sure that you are protecting your skin from UVA rays all year round, even in the colder winter months when you may not feel like you need to.
UVA rays are also the kind of rays that penetrate deeper into our skin and are most responsible for skin cancer development and skin aging.
UVB rays, on the other hand, are the kind of rays that are most responsible for sunburns and skin redness as they impact the outermost layer of the skin. While UVB rays also play a role in causing skin cancer and aging, they do vary in intensity throughout the year based on both location and season. This is why at very high altitudes UVB rays can actually be very strong, even when the weather is cold.
Because both UVB and UVA rays impact the skin in different ways, it is important that you make sure that the sunscreen you are using protects against both kinds of rays. Physical sunscreens are safe, non-toxic sunscreens that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays naturally, and would be considered "broad spectrum".
Physical Sunscreens Vs. Chemical Sunscreens
Choosing a sunscreen can feel complicated, especially with so many options available in stores today. But when it comes to choosing the best sunscreen that is safe during pregnancy there are two different kinds to know about, but only one you should be choosing!
Chemical sunscreens are the sunscreens you will want to avoid during pregnancy (and in general, we really can't wait for the day when they are removed entirely from the market).
Chemical sunscreens are sunscreens that contain known harmful compounds like oxybenzone that have been found to be damaging to coral reefs, and capable of being absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream and even milk supply of pregnant and breastfeeding women!
Chemicals like oxybenzone that are found in chemical sunscreens work by absorbing into the skin and creating a chemical reaction that absorbs UV rays keeping them from ever penetrating the skin. These chemicals have been found to irritate sensitive skin, exhibit hormone-disrupting qualities, and cause photosensitization.
To put it simply, these are the types of sunscreens and chemicals that everyone should avoid, but especially pregnant and breastfeeding women.
So if you shouldn't be using chemical sunscreens then what sunscreens should you be using? The answer is physical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens (commonly referred to as mineral sunscreens) contain minerals that work to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting damaging UV rays away from your skin.
These types of sunscreen are also known as "physical sun-blockers" and the two most common minerals you will see being used as active ingredients in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is our ideal mineral of choice though as it has better UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection (titanium dioxide should really be combined with zinc oxide for the best broad-spectrum protection). Zinc is also helpful for healing the skin which makes it a healthy ingredient both for topical use and for protection from the sun.
Lastly, physical sunscreens are also are much less likely to irritate sensitive skin and are safe during pregnancy, and best for babies and children (but we think that all adults should be using them as well).
The Best Pregnancy Safe Sunscreens For Expecting Mamas
Now that you know what types of sunscreen you should be looking for (physical/mineral zinc oxide sunscreen) and what types of sunscreen to avoid (chemical sunscreen), it's time we got to our favorite pregnancy-safe sunscreens that all expecting mamas can feel comfortable and confident using throughout their pregnancy.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the above nontoxic sunscreen options this summer, and you can rest assured that you are safely protecting both your skin and your baby with these pregnancy safe sunscreens.