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Safer, Non-Toxic Beach Bag Swaps

By Sara Butler

Summer isn’t over yet! There’s still plenty of time to get to the beach and enjoy the sun and surf or any other outdoor activities you love, such as hiking, picnics or just hanging out by the pool. Even though your priority it so have some fun in the sun, you also need to stay responsible about your health, which is why your beach bag is full of sunscreen, lip balm and the plethora of other products to "protect" you. The problem is some of those products are full of toxins that you really shouldn’t put anywhere near your skin. Here are some healthy swaps for a few of the summer’s most popular products.


You need sun exposure in order to produce Vitamin D, but too much sun isn’t a good thing for the health of your skin. Sunscreen is how most people choose to protect themselves from the more harmful rays of the sun, but they can have some rather unsavory ingredients that aren’t good for you.

When you’re choosing sunscreen you need to make sure you look at the ingredients list. If it contains something called oxybenzone you need to pass on it. Oxybenzone is a known allergen that can cause a nasty reaction if you’re sensitive to it, so best to just stay away. You should also avoid any sunscreens with added fragrance, and avoid spray sunscreens and anything over SPF 50. Instead, use zinc oxide, natural butters and oils, avobenzone and something under SPF 50.

Lip Balm

Heat can be murder on the lips, and no one wants dry, cracked lips! That’s why you reach for your trusty lip balm. The problem is some lip balms actually contain things that can make your lips even drier and aren’t exactly healthy.

Some of the ingredients, such as parabens, may seem to moisturize but they actually seal the pores of your lips and keep any moisture from getting in. They might also contain flavors with hidden ingredients, mineral oils that can be damaging, and synthetic dyes derived from heavy metals.

You should choose balms made from organic waxes, butters or oils. Coconut oil, olive oil, plant wax and shea butter are all great choices. If you want sun protection, look for a lip balm with zinc oxide in it, too.


After a day in the hot sun your skin might feel a little tender, so why not slap some aloe on it? Aloe gels seem like a great choice because they’re natural, but if you look at the ingredient list you might find a litany of other ingredients you weren’t expecting. Look for gel that is just pure aloe vera gel!

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