Dollars and Sense–The Real Cost of Sunscreen

You’re grabbing some last-minute items for your fun in the sun. You’re proud of yourself for remembering the sunscreen. You walk to the aisle and see rows and rows of products. You think, “This one promises a high SPF. This one is water resistant. Wait, wasn’t there a “waterproof” sunscreen? Where is that? What is reef-safe? Forget it. This one is the cheapest…”

Sometimes price is the tipping point. All these products boast multiple benefits, but price is the one thing every shopper has in common. We understand—we’ve been there and we all want to save money—but it’s important to consider what the term “cost” really means.

What is cost?

Merriam-Webster defines costs as: the price of something; the amount of money that is needed to pay for or buy something. It also gives this definition: something that is lost, damaged, or given up in order to achieve or get something.

That last part is the part we want to address. By going with the cheapest brand on the market, you are spending less. We know that’s a benefit, but what are you losing, damaging or giving up in order to get it?


You’re probably thinking, “It’s just sunscreen. What could possibly be lost besides a sunburn?” How about your skin’s elasticity? What about your health? Many chemical sunscreens are not broad spectrum, meaning they don’t protect from UVA rays, the rays that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Not to mention, most chemical sunscreens work by creating a chemical reaction on your skin to absorb, rather than reflect the harmful rays. You won’t get a sunburn, but you aren’t fully protecting your skin. Then there’s the obvious: you’re absorbing unnecessary chemicals into your skin! These chemicals can cause serious health issues. Some, like oxybenzone, are known hormone disruptors.


Nature is what we crave when we want to get away from it all. Does it make any sense to damage the very thing we’re trying to spend more time in? Many chemical sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that damage the environment. The reefs are the ocean’s equivalent to the rainforest and an important ecosystem. They are particularly susceptible to these chemicals. An article by National Geographic warns that 10-percent of reefs are already threatened. And since researchers estimated between 4,000–6,000 metric tons of sunscreen are washed off swimmers annually, this cost will continue to climb.

Giving up

This one speaks for itself, but these choices don’t have to be overwhelming. Safe alternatives are readily available—and we can’t just give up!

Why do some sunscreens cost more than others?

The term “you get what you pay for” holds true, but it doesn’t help if you don’t know what you’re paying for. So what actually makes mineral sunscreens, like Goddess Garden’s more expensive? Firstly, the minerals aren’t cheap. They can’t be “made” in bulk, so they do cost more than their chemical counterparts. The preservative system we use also costs more. We choose to keep harsh preservatives, like parabens, off the skin. Studies have shown they’re potentially dangerous since they’ve been linked to various cancers. Like many things, there is debate on the safety of parabens, but we choose to err on the side of caution and leave them out.

Of course, no one wants gross, moldy goop—a highly scientific term—to spoil a day in the sun, so we do use preservatives. We just make sure they’re safe for the environment and gentle on your skin. Sometimes, that means they’re also more expensive! However, we feel the extra effort and cost is worth it to protect your skin. We hope you agree—after all, the skin is the body’s largest organ.

You get what you pay for

Healthcare is certainly no bargain. Anti-aging procedures will quickly empty your pocket book. Over-the-counter wrinkle reducers cost a pretty penny. And can you even begin to give a dollar value to a coral reef—the home to 25-percent of all sea life?

Dollar for dollar, the cheapest sunscreen isn’t necessarily a bargain in the long run. The skin-nourishing ingredients in mineral sunscreens, like Goddess Garden’s, cost a little more, but not all costs can be measured in immediate dollars. Our sunscreens are reef safe and free from toxic chemical sunscreens. They won’t wreak havoc on your hormones or wreck the planet. It’s a sensible investment that will pay off handsomely in the long run.

And protecting yourself, your family and the planet is priceless!

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