In my household, sunscreen is kind of a big deal. Up on my bathroom shelf there are no less than 15 different bottles of it (I counted). There are sprays, gels, lotions—hell I even have a sweet sunscreen powder that doubles as make-up. Take that premature aging!
Recently my sunscreen affinity received a deflating blow. I was informed that a certain ingredient found in literally 95-percent of my sunscreens (oxybenzone) has been found in some (admittedly small) scientific studies as possibly harming endocrine function and leading to free radical damage and possibly even skin cancer. What the what? Where do I go from here? Do I just fry like a lobster? And no, the third option of staying out of the sun is not in my vocabulary, so step off please.
After a few agonizing moments and feelings of self-defeat, I decided on a compromise. I would continue to empty out all 15 bottles of sunscreen, because they ain’t cheap, while simultaneously seeking new, less-chemically versions to eventually replace my anti-wrinkle arsenal. I still believe that sunscreen of any kind is better than none at all, but it’s important to remember that skin is your body’s largest organ, and you wouldn’t slather questionable ingredients on your liver now would you?
It didn’t take too long to discover that there is a world of oxybenzone-free choices out there (for a helpful list go to the Environmental Working Group’s website for smarter sunscreen choices), but so far my favorite has to be Endurance Shield High Performance SPF 45. The sunscreen is part of Endurance Shield’s entire line of protective products, including a chamois crème, lip protection and muscle rub.
The sunscreen is made with micronized zinc, which is basically the way-cooler version of that bright pink stuff I occasionally slather on my nose when I go surfing. No streaks of paint here, folks. It disappears like butter onto your skin, and stays in place through a sweaty workout or a splash in the water.
The list of ingredients in the sunscreen include sunflower seed, aloe vera, cucumber extract, borage oil and slippery elm. Despite containing a lot of moisturizing ingredients, I found the sunscreen to feel incredibly light. And I also didn’t notice any excessive sweating after applying the product, which has always been an annoyance for me with some of my other sunscreen lotions.
So far, I’ve tested this stuff under make-up (it’s a great primer and moisturizer), during a pool workout in the mid-day sun (no tan lines here!), and even on a 90-degree ride out in East County. What I like most about it is that it works so well without ever feeling like a heavy paste. There’s a time and place for painting on zinc and reliving your summer lifeguarding days, but if you want a great, all-around sunscreen that works just as well for everyday protection as it does on hard days of swimming, biking and running out in the sun—then this is the product for you.