Whilst pregnant in Portugal many years ago, I remember thinking, what chemicals are in the sun tan lotions we use and is this sun protection whilst pregnant safe?
Will the sun affect me even more now that I’m pregnant?
The NHS doesn’t advise pregnant women not to sunbathe and there are no proven risks to an unborn baby from sunbathing. You do need to make sure you don’t get burnt, dehydrated or overheated. As pregnant women are more susceptible to dehydration, its important to drink plenty of water! Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so Its important to protect your skin from sun damage, burning and all types of skin cancer. Sunscreen can also help reduce dark spots on the skin known as melasma. Some sun screens are safe during pregnancy, although, you will need to check the ingredients in a sunscreen for certain things.
Are Sunscreens safe during pregnancy?
Sunscreens block harmful UV rays by including ingredients such as oxybenzone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and retinyl palmitate. These ingredients are harmless to women who are not pregnant, but, for for women that are pregnant there are risks. When thinking of sun protection whilst pregnant, the key ingredient to make sure your sunscreen doesn’t list is oxybenzone . The chemical, which readily absorbs into your skin, can effect their hormones which may cause developmental problems in unborn babies and low birth weights. Hence, Its best to choose a physical or mineral sunscreen instead of chemical sunscreens. Its worth keeping with mineral sunscreens whilst also breastfeeding.
There are two minerals that make up a non-chemical sunscreen: titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Titanium oxide alone is not enough to completely protect against both UVA and UVB rays, so make sure that your mineral sunscreen contains either just zinc oxide, or a combination of both as the active ingredients.
Sunscreen should always be broad spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays), SPF 30 or higher, water resistant (if you will be swimming or sweating), and applied regularly.
Best Sun Protection Whilst Pregnant
1. Ultrasun Body Mineral Sunscreen for Ultra Sensitive Skin 100ml
Free from any silicones, chemical nasties, perfumes and preservatives, Ultrasun’s sensitive formula will suit any number of skin types.. They also offer a similar sunscreen for the face, although this would be suited for facial application too.
It has added antioxidants that not only protect but help with skin health, and applies very easily with a pleasant smell.
2. Avène Tinted Mineral Fluid 40ml
A protective tinted facial sunscreen, those wanting a sunscreen that can double as a foundation will love this non-comedogenic, water-resistant option with a highly protective SPF of 50+.
It’s suitable for sensitive skins and has a great matte finish, as well as being a handy size for toting in your suitcase or make-up bag.
3. Badger Unscented Mineral Sunscreen 87ml
There are no fragrances from this sunscreen making it family-friendly and non-irritating. It’s also biodegradable.
There are no chemical additives whatsoever, and the organic olive oil and cocoa butter make it gorgeous on drier skin whilst beeswax replaces silicone to form a protective moisture barrier. Those wanting a natural, nourishing cream will forgive the thicker texture.
4. Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Fluid For Face SPF50, 30ml
This is a light sunscreen that glides on easily, and would suit darker skin types too as it doesn’t leave behind a white residue.
It is oil-free and only uses zinc and titanium as the UV blockers, but it does contain a large number of added silicones and chemicals that some may prefer not to use.
5. Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
Featuring a 20 percent zinc oxide formula, this SPF 50 sunscreen offers maximum protection from harmful rays and is classified as “very water resistant” — it provides protection for up to 80 minutes, even in the water. Users rave about the non-white, non-greasy, non-stinky formula. It’s also available in a stick applicator. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Buy it here
6. Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen 113g
Enriched with vitamins and soothing plant extracts such as aloe vera and chamomile, this beautiful smelling sunscreen is a biodegradable marine friendly option. It is fairly rich so would suit drier skin types, but sensitive skins will find it non-irritating and calming.
It scores top marks for a non-nano sunscreen in terms of application and white residue too, as it becomes transparent soon after application.
7. Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
A great facial sunscreen. This tinted face formula features 20 percent zinc oxide for great sun protection — and it’s tinted, so it doesn’t leave your face ghostly white. It’s a pricier option, but users rave about how it looks and feels.
Buy it here
How to Apply Mineral SunScreen
Mineral sunscreens can leave a chalky or white residue on the skin due to the mineral ingredients, but there are some ways you can try to minimise this. You will need a lot less mineral sunscreen than you may be used to. Either dot on small blobs, or take a pea-sized amount and rub it between the hands, then blot it over before rubbing in well. Work bit by bit in each area, such as each arm or leg. This will also help reduce any whiteness from over-application.You should also apply your mineral sunscreen before you head outside, due to the fact it may take a little longer to put on the skin, and of course re-apply after swimming and every couple of hours just as you would a traditional sunscreen.
So, for all those mums-to-be out there. Enjoy the sun but keep safe.
Why not document your pregnancy with a maternity shoot. Visit here for further information on a maternity shoot