Is Wearing Sunscreen “Natural”?

We tend to associate the term “natural” with being a positive thing. We look for natural ingredients in our food and body products, and we try to make good choices. But is it “natural” to use products like sunscreens at all? Weren’t we made to be in the sunlight?

Mother Earth’s sunscreen

The sun’s light is definitely essential to life, but so are natural defenses against getting too much. Even the world wears a sunscreen all her own: the ozone layer. Thanks to the ozone layer, UVC rays never reach the Earth, and we don’t need to worry about the unpleasant effects UVC radiation would have on our skin and eyes. However, human activities have led to ozone depletion, placing our planet and us at greater risk of ultraviolet radiation. The ozone layer also blocks some of the sun’s UVB rays (the burn rays), and in that way, protects us from sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers. It doesn’t block them all, however, so many animals evolved physically and developed behaviors to protect their own skin from sunburn. Unlike animals, we weren’t born with protective fur or thick skin to protect us. Instead, we have the ability to think of creative solutions. Our newest line of defense is topically applied sunscreen.

Sunscreen in the animal kingdom

Feathers, fur, pigments or thickened skin are all biological forms of sunscreen. Giraffes’ tongues are multicolored, with the first eight inches tinted black to prevent ultraviolent radiation while they munch on shrubs and trees. A sunburned tongue would be unthinkable! Likewise, hippos sweat their own “sunscreen” in the form of a pink liquid that absorbs UV light and prevents bacterial growth.

For most animals, though, sunscreen comes in the form of natural resources. Pigs and rhinos protect their skin by rolling in mud, and elephants throw sand on their backs and on the backs of their young.

Founder Nova Covington took a hint from Mother Nature and did the human (and much more gentle) equivalent of “throwing sand” on her daughter to protect her. She combined minerals with nourishing, plant-based ingredients to keep her daughter—and now anyone—protected from the sun.

It’s natural to be safe in the sun, whether you choose to seek shade, cover up or wear sunscreen. And choosing a mineral sunscreen is a natural and safe way to protect yourself, your family and the planet!

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1. Urbach, Frederick. “The Negative Effects of Solar Radiation: A Clinical Overview.” Sun Protection in Man. Ed. Paolo U. Giacomoni. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2001. 39-65. 53.
2. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/UVB/
3. Holick, M. F., and Mark Jenkins. The UV Advantage. New York: I, 2003. 6.
4. Urbach 53.
5. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ask-an-expert-do-animals-get-sunburned-28218217/#fl2evH5DvKzLvvIh.99

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