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Vegan Sunscreen for the Face – Is It Better?

Exposure to sunlight is not necessarily a bad thing. Sunlight is proven to help boost and stimulate our bodies and mood. But this doesn’t mean prolonged exposure to sunlight is healthy. Most dermatologists suggest wearing some type of protectant against the sun. But what if you are someone with sensitive skin and prone to acne breakouts? Here are some benefits and advantages of using vegan sunscreens.

Advantages/Benefits: Believe it or not, you don’t need to be vegan to use vegan sunscreen. Vegan sunscreens do not contain any animal by-products and are also animal cruelty-free. Keep in mind that if you do opt for a natural ‘organic’ sunscreen, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product doesn’t contain animal byproducts. So, be sure to check for cruelty-free and also free of animal ingredients. Products to be aware of for possible toxic animal byproducts are sunscreens like chitin, crustaceans, and beeswax.

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Angie Seelal, PA-C at Advanced Dermatology PC stated that another great thing about vegan sun protectants is that they are environmentally friendly. Unlike vegan sunscreens, chemical sunscreens according to Seelal, unfortunately, can contain oxybenzone and octinoxate which are damaging to the environment as these chemicals are extremely harmful to coral reefs.

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Seelal also stated that vegan sunscreens can be worth the purchase for those with sensitive skin. The ingredients in vegan products are far more natural to the body and they contain ingredients that don’t damage the skin or environment. Vegan sun protectants are overall suggested by dermatologists because it is almost guaranteed to not irritate those with sensitive skin.

According to Dermatologist Anna H. Chacon, if you are someone with a sensitive skin type, you should try finding a hypoallergenic vegan sunscreen that is mineral-based rather than chemical-based. She said, “The difference is that mineral-based sunscreens do not absorb the UV rays like chemical sunscreens, and reflect them instead. Thus, sitting atop the skin—because of this it may not be as irritating to the skin but the sunscreen lacks durability when the body gets wet or sweats—this could be a disadvantage.”

Disadvantage: While your skin is protected and not likely to experience irritation and clogged pores with vegan sun protectants, you will however have to reapply the product more frequently. Chacon stated that while chemical sun protectants may be more irritating, the upside is that because it is chemical it will be far more absorbent and offer protection without the frequent need to reapply. Chemical sunscreens are far less degradable, hence more damaging to the environment, but they do last longer on the skin and protect against harmful UV rays effectively.

Overview: With the depletion of the ozone layer becoming increasingly worse year after year, the sun has very little barrier to penetrate—this includes your skin. So, the best way to protect yourself and prevent skin cancer is to wear your sunscreens. Choosing an effective sunscreen for your skin type doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it simple and try vegan sunscreen.

Your skin is not the only thing that is being impacted—the environment will benefit from you making a simple switch to vegan sunscreen. Not only that, do you wish to put unnecessary toxic chemicals into your body? The benefits of vegan sun protection far outweigh the negatives. Remember that you can always consult with your dermatologist before trying new products. The best way to self-test a sun protectant product is to sample them. Don’t apply unnecessary amounts, especially at the start of your trial run with these different brands. Though none of the vegan sun protectants will likely cause skin irritation, your best bet is to always start applying in small amounts.

Always do your research to ensure the products that you are applying to your skin are worthy of being used. When looking for good vegan sunscreens, look for products that contain non-nano titanium dioxide, which is considered environmentally friendly (reef safe). Again, there are organic sunscreen products that don’t contain the harmful chemicals derived from animal byproducts, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is cruelty-free. Check the fine print on a lot of these items because they will likely try to sell you by just stating “organic.” So, the next time you have that beach day or spring break, think about the simple ingredients that you are having to apply to your skin to protect against harmful UV rays. Don’t just choose vegan sunscreen for your skin, but the environment.

Anna H. Chacon, M.D. is a dermatologist and author at MyPsoriasisTeam
Angie Seelal, PA-C at Advanced Dermatology PC at
The Best Vegan Sunscreen: A Cruelty-Free Buying Guide | The Vegan Word

Written by Haleigh Couture
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

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