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A Colorado Springs Chiropractor’s Guide to Choosing the Best Sunscreen Ingredients

Discover Top Sun Safety Tips to Stay Healthy

Here in Colorado Springs, we’re exposed to A LOT of glorious sunshine. Which means you need to apply sunscreen daily to protect your skin. Especially during the sweet summer months.

The only problem?

Most sunscreen brands on the market are riddled with harmful chemicals that can actually end up causing more harm than good.

As a Colorado Springs Chiropractor and holistic health professional, I make a point to educate my patients about which sunscreen ingredients are safe and which to avoid. 

So today, we’re diving into this very topic! Plus, I’m also serving up more sun safety tips to protect your body, while soaking up all the goodness the summer sun brings! 

Let’s get into it.

What’s the Harm in Common Sunscreen Ingredients?

So, why are we talking about this, anyway? How much “harm” can sunscreen, something that was designed to protect you, really do?

A growing body of research suggests that conventional sunscreens are toxic. The chemicals in these sunscreens can cause allergic skin reactions, endocrine disruption (hormone system), and impact healthy development. [1] [2] [3] [4]

This can lead to an array of health issues, including:

  • Skin rashes, like eczema
  • Disturbance to the nervous + immune systems (anxiety, depression, & other diseases)
  • Interference with the reproductive system
  • Decreased birth weight 

Beyond seriously impacting our own health, research also points to the fact that toxic chemicals in sunscreen can also cause severe damage to coral reefs and marine life. [5]

Picking the Right Sunscreen Ingredients

At this point, you’re probably wondering: 

“If sunscreen can do all this harm to our environment and our bodies, should I even use it?”

My answer?


You should apply sunscreen every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Because the thing is – sunscreen isn’t ALL bad news! 

At its core, sunscreen was created so you can spend hours playing outside with your family in the Colorado Springs sunshine, without worrying about the dangers of sun damage. 

And this is still true.

You just need to know which sunscreen ingredients are safe to use.

I’ve put together the list below for you to use as your guide when navigating the sunscreen aisle.

Safe Sunscreen Ingredients:

  • Zinc oxide
  • Titanium dioxide

Look for natural sunscreens with these mineral-based ingredients to receive strong protection against UV rays without the potential side effects of chemicals.

Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Oxybenzone / Benzophenone-3 (BP-3)
  • Octinoxate / Octyl Methoxycinnamate (OMZ) 
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate / Ethylhexyl Salicylate 
  • Avobenzone 
  • Octocrylene 
  • Parabens

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a trusted source for navigating healthy sunscreen brands. Check out their website right here to explore safe options.

And since everyone is always curious to know… 

Here are a few of my favorite natural sunscreen brands: 

  • Solara Suncare
  • Hello Bello 
  • Sun Bum
  • All Good 
  • Blue Lizard 

Colorado Springs Sun Safety Tips

Did you know there’s about a 6-10% increase in UV exposure for every 1,000 ft. you climb in elevation? [6] 😮

Living in Colorado Springs, we sit at about 6,000 ft, which means we get quite a bit more exposure compared to those living at sea level! 

That’s why it’s SO important to practice sun safety.

In addition to choosing a safe sunscreen… 

Here are a few more bonus tips to protect yourself from UV exposure. 

Tip #1. Wear a hat

Keep a few of your favorite hats on hand for when you head out on a hike or camping trip. Baseball caps work just fine, but bonus points for picking a wide-brimmed hat that covers your ears, too! 

Tip #2. Put on sun-protective clothing 

Wearing clothes that cover your skin is one of the simplest ways to protect yourself. Of course, the sun is HOT up here at elevation! So, choose lightweight clothing if you know you’re going to be out in the sun for hours. They even make UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing now that is specifically designed to protect you from sun exposure.

Tip #3. Don’t forget sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement! They protect your eyes from direct UV exposure, which can cause corneal damage and lead to decreased vision. [7] Keep one pair of sunglasses in your car, and one close to your front door, so you never find yourself without ‘em!

Tip #4. Find relief in the shade

If you’re going camping, or spending 6+ hours outdoors in general, try to find periods of relief from direct sunlight. Set up your hammock or lounge chair under a tree and give your body a break.

Remember! These tips should always be used in addition to (not in place of) wearing sunscreen.

The Health Benefits of Sun Exposure

I can’t let you go without mentioning that there are certainly positive health benefits of getting sun exposure, too!

Sunlight has been proven to:

  • Help you get your daily dose of vitamin D
  • Improve your mood
  • Lessen anxiety and depression
  • Improve your sleep
  • Boost your immune system

Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. 🙏

Being in the sun can be nourishing for your mind, body, and soul. But even too much of a good thing can cause harm.

Protect Your Health This Summer

The bottom line?

Stock your cabinets with non-toxic sunscreen, grab your favorite bucket hat, then get outside and enjoy the sunshine!

If you’re heading out for the whole day (or weekend), take the proper steps to protect yourself from too much exposure.

For more holistic health tips from your Colorado Springs Chiropractor, explore Brain Candy – the blog dedicated to helping you feel good!


  1. Suh, S., Pham, C., Smith, J., & Mesinkovska, N. A. (2020). The banned sunscreen ingredients and their impact on human health: a systematic review. International journal of dermatology, 59(9), 1033–1042. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.14824 
  2. Tanoko, M. H. (2021, June 3). Yes, your sunscreen might be causing your eczema to flare. Here’s why. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/blog/sunscreen-avoid-flaring/  
  3. Suh, S., Pham, C., Smith, J., & Mesinkovska, N. A. (2020). The banned sunscreen ingredients and their impact on human health: a systematic review. International journal of dermatology, 59(9), 1033–1042. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.14824 
  4. Krause, M., Frederiksen, H., Sundberg, K., Jørgensen, F. S., Jensen, L. N., Nørgaard, P., Jørgensen, C., Ertberg, P., Petersen, J. H., Feldt-Rasmussen, U., Juul, A., Drzewiecki, K. T., Skakkebaek, N. E., & Andersson, A. M. (2018). Maternal exposure to UV filters: associations with maternal thyroid hormones, IGF-I/IGFBP3 and birth outcomes. Endocrine Connections, 7(2), 334–346. https://doi.org/10.1530/EC-17-0375 
  5. Madhusoodanan, J. (2022, May 6). A common sunscreen ingredient turns toxic in the sea – anemones suggest why. Nature News. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01271-4 
  6. World Health Organization (2016, March 9). Radiation: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)
  7. Kuo, I. C. (2019, July 24). How to protect your eyes from UV damage. JHM. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/articles/2019/07/how-to-protect-your-eyes-from-uv-damage#:~:text=UV%20light%20ages%20all%20structures,thinnest%20of%20the%20whole%20body