Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen

I've often been known to joke that I'd love to visit Hawaii but I'd have to wear a burka at the beach. Although I grew up in Southern California, I was never a sun worshipper and rarely had any kind of tan. My genetic background is mostly Scottish, Swedish and British and it shows in my blonde hair, whiter-than-liquid-paper skin and my tendency to burn if I think about sunshine for too long. After one or two bad incidents as a child, I learned to stay out of the sun for the most part.

Now I live in Seattle, WA. I love Washington and, in reality, it's great for me because we don't have a lot of really sunny days in a row and I could just slap on some sunscreen when I went out on a sunny day but it certainly wasn't year round. Maybe fewer than ten days in the summer.

Then about three years ago, I developed rosacea. This is an auto-immune disease that makes my face really red, gives me acne-like breakouts and if it's irritated too much, the skin on my face starts to burn and tingle like a bad case of ant bites. It also means I'm extremely susceptible to irritation from many topical products.

So I stayed inside pretty much all the time - which is not actually very good for me.

Now I'm both on my path to losing weight and becoming a runner as well as being the team photographer for my ten-year-old son's soccer team. And I've discovered I like walking outside in nice weather (and running is in that plan, too). Now, I'm not stupid and I still usually wear a hat & sunglasses and I don't stay out all day, but the further I get into my exercise program, the more I resent being stuck inside for long periods of time. I have dreams of even going for outdoor runs in the dead of winter!

I need a good sunscreen that isn't full of chemicals that will irritate my rosacea and is safe. There are a lot of products out there but how do you know their safety?

Well, the Evironmental Working Group (EWG) has a database of sunscreens out that allows you to look up the ones you have or are considering. EWG's Skin Deep is a site I recommend everyone read and user their database. If you look up your sunscreen, you can get detailed information on overall risk and risk for each individual ingredient. It's a GREAT resource.

I've tried several sunscreens so far based on their limited contents and the recommendations in this dabase.

Last year I tried Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen. It was pretty thick and required some muscle to dispense from the tube but seemed to cover well and didn't smell bad. It didn't cause my rosacea to react and it didn't leave me with a ghostly white sheen either. I never burned with it on, either. I had intended to use it this year but when I pulled it out, it was separated and smelled rancid. Apparently I don't go through sunscreen fast enough to be able to use the majority of the tube and I've not been able to find a smaller size. So it got discarded because it was costly when I only used about 1/4 of it. (This has an EWG rating of 1: Limited, by the way).

This year I went on the hunt again and tried Mexitan's Sunscreen Lotion. This was quite a bit thinner so it dispensed well and was easy to rub on. It smells very tropical and very nice, actually. It caused no rosacea reaction either. The issue with this product is that, particularly noticeable on my face because of its redness, I was left looking a bit like I was growing mold or had become a zombie with a serious white haze. Ugh. I've kept it because I can still use it on my arms and legs but I wanted a different solution for my face lest someone think the Zombie Apolocolypse has arrived. (This has an EWG rating of 1: Limited, as well).

So back to the database. This time I decided to try Goddess Garden's Natural Sunscreen and Goddess Garden Natural Facial Sunscreen. (EWG Rating 1: Limited on the facial and 2: Limited on the regular sunscreen). I tried them out yesterday at my son's soccer game where I would be in the full sun for two hours, taking pictures.

Both sunscreens were easy to dispense and spread and smelled nice - not too perfumey and not too oily. They soaked in quickly and I could not see a perceptible white haze on my arms or face. My rosacea didn't react at all and my skin didn't feel oily or heavy. Slapping on a hat anyway, I went off to the game and stood in the full sun for the several hours, sweating and hot and even wiping my face periodically. I didn't burn in the least! An extra bonus for me was that I could buy them in smaller sizes than many brands.

I looked up Goddess Garden's story and was happy to learn the company was founded by a mother in need of products for her daughter and has grown a lot since then. I try hard to support smaller niche companies when I can and it makes me happy that I like this product so much.

If you're looking for a great, natural, organic sunscreen with excellent safety ratings that works well, give the Goddess Garden line a try!

(Products bought by myself.)

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