Staying Safe in the Summer Sun: What's Really in your Sunscreen?

So, HAPPY SUMMER! The longest day of the year has finally come + I could not be happier. As a true Leo, I am most definitely ruled by the sun. My mood changes with it + I can feel the energy from the summer solstice already.

Not only was the first day of summer a seriously GORG day, we had an even more incredible weekend here in Jersey. I spent the entire weekend down the shore with friends + family + it couldn't have been more perfect. I legit caught myself saying. "OMG, it's SO beautiful out, look at this water, look at it!!" literally a hundred times (sorry, Ting...).

But for real, it was picture perfect in every way. An ideal 75 + sunny with a slight southeast breeze. Perfection.

Anyway, because it was SO beautiful, I parked my ass on that beach + wasn't movin' for no one! As I've gotten older (I'll say I've "matured") I've developed a decent understanding that if I continued my usual sun bathing habits, I'd most likely look like George Hamilton by the time I'm 30.

Although I'm banking on there being some sort of super laser that will erase all sun damage by then, I'm gonna err on the side of caution with this one + take some preventative steps.

The first major move (for me) was a hat. Yea, I know. BIG MOVE, Kendall. But really, prior to last year, a hat was only used to cover my head while I napped on the beach + most certainly would not be used otherwise as it would prevent the beautiful browning of my face...*eye roll*

Because I've become ever so evolved, a hat now makes a daily appearance on the beach (+ sometimes just in life). I've come to understand + appreciate the use of bronzer to cover the geisha look I got goin' on my face. 1 point for me.

The other thing I've gotten more serious about in sunscreen. Since last year I've been using SPF 50 on my chest + face, SPF 30 on my body. This worked. I still tanned + never burned. WIN. ....Or so you think?!!

It wasn't until this weekend that I really gave sunscreen a HARD once over. I've been hearing about tons of research on the effects of sunscreen + the harsh chemicals contained in them. This past weekend I used SPF 50 from an aerosol can...+ I burned. Actually, we both burned, the BF + I. Pretty bad, too, I might add.

Now I'm not saying we burned from the sunscreen not really working (well, kinda I am) but it made me question how this light mist really did it's thing (or didn't, in this case).

It got me thinking about everything I had been reading on this topic + why I wasn't curious enough about it in my own life. So like anything else that I don't know enough about, I head to the College of Google...+ man did I learn alot.

The biggest culprit in my findings was this Oxybenzone guy. It is said to cause endocrine disruption + possible cell mutation (which is what causes cancer, ironic, no?). You can read more on that here, here + here.

I am NO expert on this + by no means advocating to take my word 100%. I merely wanted to start the conversation + give you something to think about if you haven't already done so. ALWAYS do your own research + form your own opinions on these issues! There are so many cases out there that claim to cause this, that + the other thing, that you may wanna roll up in a ball + call it quits. But knowledge is power + knowing what you value is important.

For me, it was simple. I eat organic foods, I'm aware (+ sometimes wish unaware) of where my food comes from + what skin care products I use. I am always aiming to use the most easily understood ingredients from brands I believe in. So why did I never think twice about sunscreen?? Like, wtf?!

Well, better late than never I guess. But this weekend, after burning, I learned alot. I'm a sun worshiper on the road to recovery (kind of...). I wanna know how I can indulge in laying about on the beach in the safest ways possible so that I can do this for the rest of my life. Make sense?

What I've found, according to the interwebs + my gynecologist (who is also an anti-aging junkie) you want Zinc Oxide + Titanium Dioxide. These compounds (they are compounds, right? Chem people--help me out?!) sit on TOP of your skin + reflect UVA (the aging rays) + UVB (the burning rays) from your skin. These are usually the formulas that are thick + make you look a whiter shade of pale. Not cool. BUT, in recent years they've developed a way to make them not so thick + chalky so you can spread them more easily + lounge like a happy clam, damaging sun rays-free.

The OTHER sunscreen stuff (like oxybenzone) permeates your skin to ABSORB the damaging rays so they don't damage YOU. This is all very interesting to me because these chemicals are actually "organic" meaning they have a carbon "backbone".

The marketing on these sunscreens loveeeee the word organic because we associate it with "safe". Techincally, Zinc Oxide + Titanium Dioxide are "inorganic". Interesting. And because I'm a BIG believer in being objective until I can form a solid opinion of my own, here's the article that gives you a more science-y perspective from the other side. For me, for now, I'll take the option that sits on TOP of my skin + isn't easily absorbed into my bloodstream thank you.

There is SO much research on this topic + it's really a good one to take a look at when you get a chance. I really like this site that gives you a bunch of info to make an informed decision about sunscreen.

Again, I am not a doctor or sunscreen expert, I'm a consumer just like you looking to make the best decision possible for my body! The first step in that is digging deeper into information + studies. I will be sure to test out a few + report back!

Until then, this is your chance to don that fabulous hat you've been afraid to wear + those killer shades.

If anyone has some more info on this, I'd love to hear from you! Shoot me an email at or find me on Insta @kendallmariez.

Be safe out there, kids.

Lots of love + a big hug!