Tag Archives | sunscreen

MY Perfect Sunscreen: Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen {Review}

This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood  but, as always, the opinions are my own.

MY Perfect Sunscreen: Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen {Review and Giveaway} #ggorganics {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}


As a child I loved summer! We had a pool in the backyard and I literally lived in my bathing suit.  In the 1970’s and even in the early 80’s, we didn’t quite understand the dangers of the sun.  Sunscreen?  Yuck, that’s the white stuff you put on that looks and feels horrible!  Unfortunately, years later I am paying the price.  Wish we had Goddess Garden Sunscreens back then – great ingredients, great smell, great feel.


Why Am I Wishing For Better Sunscreen? 

It all started with a mole on my ankle that seemed to just appear one day.  I was pretty sure I didn’t have one there before.  Did I?  I had 3 children under the age of 5 at the time so I was too busy to notice. I was lucky if I showered regularly. I made an appointment with a dermatologist.  He said it looked completely normal, but since I was sure there wasn’t one there before we should biopsy it.  When the diagnosis came back as melanoma, I was shocked.  I am not your stereotypical skin cancer patient.  My skin is not pale and I have brown eyes.  I remember having a few sunburns as a child, only one particularly bad burn at age 10, but other than that, I tanned easily.

The next couple of months were a series of doctor’s appointments aimed at finding out the severity.  Luckily, we had caught it early and I would only need surgery.  Throughout these appointments, several doctors told me to stay out of the sun, wear protective clothing and hats and wear sunscreen year round regardless of the weather.  My children were also at higher risk and they should follow this advice as well.

Protecting ourselves from the sun is even more serious now.  However, the choices in sunscreens, thus far, have not been great in my opinion because of the ingredients and the hard-to-rub-on white mess most of the heavy duty sunscreens are made of.  I have been able to find better shampoo alternatives without questionable ingredients relatively easily but sunscreens are a completely different story for me.  Alternatives were not readily available when I was first diagnosed 7 years ago. So I used popular commercial sunscreens I found in local stores, figuring my family’s risk for skin cancer was greater than the side effects from the chemicals in them.  Or so I hoped.

This is why I was so excited when given this opportunity to try Goddess Garden Organics that are made with non-toxic, mineral and natural ingredients.  Its ingredient list looked extremely promising to me.  Had I found MY perfect sunscreen?

Now please remember, I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on my blog.  This is my story and my conclusions alone.  You should absolutely do your own research and choose the option that is best for you.

Let’s back up a bit and talk about how the sun damages our skin.


How the Sun Damages Our Skin

MY Perfect Sunscreen: Goddess Garden Organics Sunscren {Review and Giveaway} #ggorganics {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

The sun contains two major types of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVB rays are also known as the burning rays.  UVA rays, the aging rays, penetrate much deeper and can cause more serious damage to cells.  UVA rays are able to penetrate clouds and are around even in winter months.  

In addition, the damage to your skin caused by exposure to the sun (both UVA and UVB rays) is cumulative.  Even tanning is evidence of sun damage.  Tanning is actually your skins attempt to protect itself from the sun.  Sun exposure can cause wrinkles, sun spots, sunburns, and cancer.

The best option is to avoid the sun during peak times and to use clothing and hats to shade your skin.  This is great advice, but you can’t avoid the sun ALL the time.  Sunscreens must be part of this equation.


Trouble Finding The Perfect Sunscreen

For years, I bought the sunscreen I was told to buy.  This was one area where I was not comfortable straying from my doctor’s advice.  I heard the word CANCER and freaked!   At the time, there weren’t many other alternatives that did the jobs I needed them to do – products that would protect my skin but not cause potential damage because of the ingredients.   I felt like I was choosing between tanning a bit or preventing skin cancer for my children!  Talk about Mom guilt!

As I did more research on personal care products, I really became conflicted.  I wasn’t entirely comfortable putting some of the chemicals on my skin and on my children.  But “family history of melanoma” loomed in my head.  

And in comes Goddess Garden  sunscreens, I was very excited!    


What I Like About Goddess Garden Sunscreens

MY Perfect Sunscreen: Goddess Garden Organics Sunscreen {Review and Giveaway} #ggorganics {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

  • According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), their toxicity rating is very low.

  • The sunscreens are very stable.  Sunscreens that are not stable can break down over time and with exposure to heat making them less effective.  Sunscreen stability was something my doctor’s stressed.

  • Goddess Garden uses a mineral sunscreen.  Mineral or physical sunscreens block and deflect the sun’s rays.  The alternative, chemical sunscreens, absorb the UV radiation and convert it to a small amount of heat.  Personally, I like the idea of reflecting as opposed to absorbing into my skin.  So does this doctor.

  • The mineral sunscreens they use, zinc and titanium dioxide, in all of their products are NON-NANO sized.  According to Goddess Garden, ” The average particle size is 120nm. The range in particle sizes is 100nm to 130nm. Most definitions of “nano-particles” are under 100nm.”  The issue here is that nano -particles, very small particles, could be absorbed into the skin and then the bloodstream and cause problems.
  • They are broad spectrum, meaning they protect against UVA and UVB rays.

  • Goddess Garden does not leave a whitish glow!

  • They smell and feel great!  They feel light and not greasy at all.  Can’t say that about many sunscreens!  This makes them very easy to wear all year long.

  • The other ingredients used are fabulous for your skin!  Among them are aloe vera, sunflower oil, shea butter and, in the facial sunscreens, Helichrysum essential oil!  This essential oil is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which is great for anti-aging.


I have been using the Sunny Face Natural Sunscreen with SPF 30 daily.  It feels wonderful!  It is light, non-greasy, non-whitening, and feels very hydrating.  And oh did I mention the lavender scent!  I have replaced my morning moisturizer with this one.  By the way, I still have the occasional issues with breakouts and this has not caused me any troubles.

My children have been trying the Sunny Kids Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 and the Kids Natural Sunscreen Continuous Sports Spray SPF 30.  Great success!  They are easy to rub in and don’t feel heavy and greasy.  My children thank you, Goddess Garden!  I do not let them out of the house without sunscreen and they don’t fight me so much with these.

Personally, I feel like I have found a great product.  No questionable ingredients and it will do the job of protecting our skin from the sun.  I of course urge you to do your own research, talk to your dermatologist, and come to a decision that is best for you.


What do you look for in a sunscreen?



The Greening Of Westford readers will save $2 off purchases of Goddess Garden Organics  from May 1 through July 30.  Just use the discount code #GGOrganics.  


Goddess Garden Organics is also giving you a chance to win several cools prizes:

One GRAND prize (valued at $183) includes:

4 continuous sprays

1 facial sunscreen

1 kids’ pump spray

1 kids’ 3.4 ounce tube

1 adult 6 ounce tube

1 kids’ 6 ounce tube

Twenty people will receive a second prize of a 3.4 ounce tube of Natural Body 30 SPF sunscreen.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunscreens That Shine

Last week I featured sunscreens on Greene Westford.  Here is the article re-printed from Westford Patch.


Summer is here!  Fun in the sun also means staying safe from the sun’s rays. However, it’s not as simple as avoiding sunburns. 
The sun contains two major types of ultraviolet (UV) rays – UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburns while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause more dangerous cell changes such as wrinkles and skin cancer.  A sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) tells you how effectively the product blocks UVB rays.  Currently there is no such label for UVA rays.
Most skin damage is the result of years of cumulative sun exposure. That is why doctors say it’s important to use sunscreen year-round.  It is especially important to protect children. Many doctors believe that melanoma (the most dangerous skin cancer) can be caused by severe sunburns before the age of 18.
The safest thing to do is to limit your sun exposure:  staying in the shade, wearing clothing, hats and sunglasses.  Sun guard shirts have become much more popular recently and easier to find.  I recently bought some at Olympia Sports in Westford.  You can find several online as well. 
However, this is not always possible.  A good sunscreen is still a must.   Not all sunscreens are created equal. While some may be great at blocking the harmful rays of the sun, the chemicals they use can cause some damage on their own. What to do now?  This is where I turn to the Environmental Working Group’s 2011 sunscreen guide
The EWG is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting people from toxic contaminants.  The EWG’s guide rates 1700 sunscreens based on how well they protect you from UVB and UVA rays as well as the ingredients used.   Each product is given a value from 0 to 10, where 0 is the best (has the least harmful ingredients and protects against the sun) and 10 the worst.
When looking for sunscreen, there are several ingredients to avoid such as Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), added insect repellent and especially Oxybenzone.
Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen which can interfere with our own hormones. There are studies that indicate Vitamin A absorbed into the skin may cause tumors to grow quicker, and if you need insect repellent, it’s better to add that as needed.  
Sprays, powders and SPFs above 50 should also be avoided.  Sprays and powders spread through the air and may not be safe to breathe.  SPF higher than 50 may tempt you to stay in the sun longer than you should.  Remember, UVA rays do not burn, but they are more dangerous overall than the burning UVB rays. 
Look for products that contain Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Avobenzone as their active ingredients.  Not only do these products better protect against the sun, but they won’t harm you in the process.
Most of the safest choices are only available online.  However, here is a list of some more commonly found sunscreens that still rate low on the danger scale.  The number is parentheses is the EWG rating.
  • Elemental Herbs (1) – Available at The Whole Body Spa
  • Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick SPF 50 (1)
  • Kiss My Face Kids SPF 30 Sun Stick (pink, blue, white) (1)
  • Aveeno Active Naturals Natural Protection Mineral Block Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (3)
  • CVS Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 60+ (3)
  • Walgreens Baby Pure and Gentle Sunscreen Stick SPF 60+ (3)
  • Walgreens Sport Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 (3)
  • Walgreens Sunscreen SPF 45 (3)
  • Coppertone Kids Pure and Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 (3)
  • Coppertone Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 (3)
  • Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Simple sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 (3)
I was able to find quite a few of these in Westford at CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens.  Just remember to apply sunscreen before you go outside (15 – 30 minutes) and reapply as directed.



Aveeno is on a mission to promote healthy habits with its Road to Healthy Skin tour. The tour will be in different cities throughout July, August and September to educate the public about the dangers of sun exposure and promote the use of sun protection. The Tour bus (a 38-foot RV with two exam rooms) will provide free, full-body skin exams by local dermatologists, free sunscreen samples, and you can drop off your empty AVEENO lotion tubes to be sent to TerraCycle! $0.02 for each tube collected on the tour will be donated to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until the tour passed Boston and Cambridge. But as a melanoma survivor, I still wanted to post this.

One day I noticed a mole on my inner ankle. Never remember seeing it before. I ignored it for a while. I’m a mom, who has time to call a doctor for yourself, plus I didn’t have a current dermatologist. You know. All the lame excuses we moms use. A while passes and I finally found a dermatologist and figured I should get it checked just in case. When I called in April 2007, the next available appointment was in August. As the receptionist checked other locations and for cancellations I debated “Should I tell her that this is an emergency? No, it’s probably nothing. I’ll wait.” Luckily, there just happened to be a cancellation for that Friday so I took the appointment.

At the doctor’s office, I told him that I noticed this mole a while ago and honestly had no idea if I had one there previously. Either way, it definitely was not this big. I would have known about it. So he took a biopsy. After about 2 weeks I hadn’t heard anything and was about to call. Meanwhile, still thinking “If I haven’t heard that probably means it’s nothing.” It was a Friday afternoon, right before Mother’s Day and the Dermatologist called. It was melanoma. The reason it took so long to get back to me – they sent the sample for a second opinion to an expert in Boston.

Lucky for me, we caught it early. However, I didn’t know that right away. For a month I lived with the fact that it might have spread to my lymph nodes. Melanoma runs the gamut in severity – it can be “nothing” all the way to , “let’s just make you comfortable” I did have surgery on my ankle to remove a large part of tissue in that area. I was on crutches for 6 weeks during the summer, with a 5yo and twin 3 yo!

I never thought this was a possibility for me. I am Armenian so my skin is not super pale. I have always tanned. Yes I did burn a few times as a kid. I guess that was enough for me. Now I wear sunscreen ALL the time, along with hats and clothing to cover more of my skin. And I avoid the sun completely when I can. So do my children.

The Environmental Working Group has a study on the safest sunscreens. To see the results, click here. This is a tricky one for me. I feel like in this case, my and my children’s risk of developing melanoma is greater than what might be caused by a risky toxin in sunscreen. I feel like my best defense is to avoid the sun and use clothing, umbrellas, and hats as protection instead of relying solely on any sunscreen. The sunscreen I do use is what several dermatologists have told me to use. I am hoping that I am not exposing myself and my family to something else. But you make decisions and trade offs all the time on what is best for you.

But back to Aveeno! I think what they are doing is fantastic. I love that they have teamed up with TerraCycle to upcycle their product tubes. They will also accept any brand of cosmetic or beauty tube. Should Upcycle It! add this brigade?


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