Choose Green, Not That: Natural Skincare for Summer

When you’re out in the garden or park this summer, skip the toxic chemicals—choose natural skincare options instead.
person spraying kid with natural bug spray outdoors
Source: Shutterstock

For those who have spent the past year staying safe at home, the chance to get outside is more alluring than ever. While we continue to practice covid-19 precautions even as vaccinations roll out, the good news is you can get out and stay safe at the same time. We put together this list of natural sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer to help prepare for play days in the sun that draw near. For more skin-safe, green products for this summer, head to

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brittanie's bug repellent

Green: The greenest option is to forgo chemicals altogether if you can. The organic bug spray from Brittanie’s Thyme{GBN} ($10) is made with white vinegar and a blend of essential oils. It repels over 50 species of mosquitoes and other insects. 

Brittanie's Thyme

off deep woods bug spray

Not that: Though the EPA does not warn of any major threats DEET poses to health, the ingredient is linked to skin irritation when left on for too long, according to the National Pesticides Information Center. It has also been tested in studies that found toxic effects from ingestion or skin application with >30 percent concentrations of DEET as the active ingredient. Cyfluthrin and permethrin are other chemicals commonly found in bug sprays and have been linked to neurotoxicity according to the National Library of Medicine. Aerosol versions release compressed gases and volatile organic compounds that can be avoided by buying a spritz version. 

all good zinc sunscreen

Green: All Good {GBN} Sport Sunscreen Lotion ($13) contains zinc oxide, a mineral that cannot be absorbed into the skin, reflects UV rays, and is not associated with coral bleaching. Because it is not absorbed into skin, it is considered a physical barrier form of sun protection, a true sun "block," rather than a chemical barrier, which is more common today.

All Good

neutrogena sunscreen

Not That: Some conventional chemical sunscreens contain toxic ingredients that are proven to adversely affect human and environmental health. For example, oxybenzone is a common ingredient found in 40 percent of sunscreens according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and is also linked to estrogen disruption and cause skin irritation. 

Max Green alchemy hand sanitizer

Green: Max Green Alchemy’s {GBN} hand sanitizer spray ($16) is 80 percent alcohol-based antiseptic with glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, and purified water—a formula approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Max Green Alchemy

bath and body works hand sanitizer

Not That: Hand sanitizers made with harsh chemicals like fragrance can cause skin irritation and may contain retinyl palmitate which is associated with cancer risks and reproductive toxicity. Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer products received the lowest scores on the EWG’s 2020 Skin Deep database for these reasons. 

From Green American Magazine Issue