Safe and Gluten Free Sunscreen: Review of Goddess Garden Organics
It’s that time of year: sunscreen time! Or should I say, gluten free sunscreen time?
Experts agree that sun protection should be used to prevent skin cancer, but at the same time, strict sun protection can create other problems, namely vitamin D deficiency. Our bodies form vitamin D on the skin when exposed to natural sunlight; immune system cells also create vitamin D to help the body defend itself against disease.
I like to joke that I “need” to be out in the sun to be healthy, but it’s only partially in jest. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased mortality from heart disease and colon cancer. It’s also linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, skin cancer, metabolic disease, hypertension, obesity, upper respiratory tract infections and other infections.
Since my diagnosis with celiac disease almost twenty years ago, I have struggled with vitamin D deficiency. Recent tests showed that I’m one of the 8% of the population with a serious vitamin D deficiency; another 25% of us is at risk of developing a deficiency.
So how do we stay safe but still expose our bodies to the sunlight critical to our need for vitamin D? One answer is to spend some unprotected time outdoors in the early morning, and then apply a good sunscreen at mid-day (note: consult your doctor if you have a vitamin D deficiency, as you may need a prescription or other supplements).
You don’t have to look far to find loads of information out about which sunscreens are better for you and which contain chemicals of questionable safety, but being gluten free adds another layer of worry for many — do we need gluten free sunscreen?
Those with celiac disease generally do not need to worry about gluten exposure if it’s not through the gastrointestinal tract (i.e. eating), however, there is new information indicating that where there is a break in the skin, even topical gluten in skincare may be absorbed into the bloodstream and create an immune response similar to that caused by eating gluten. Furthermore, those with wheat allergies or gluten intolerance may experience sensitivities to gluten in skincare and sunscreen, completely apart from it affecting the immune system, as with celiac disease.
All this precautionary information means that those of us who live gluten free for medical reasons need to at least be aware of the possibility that gluten in topical products may cause us problems, which is why choosing gluten free sunscreen may be a wise choice.
When you combine the need, or at least desire, for gluten free sunscreen with an informed search for safer products in general, the field of viable product options becomes slim indeed. Which brings me to Goddess Garden Organics products.*
Goddess Garden Organics offers natural mineral sunscreens and lipbalms that are certified organic and are designed with sensitive skin in mind. They are also free from oxybenzone, parabens and synthetic fragrances, unlike many other brands which label some ingredients generically as “fragrance.” Instead, scented Goddess Garden Organics products actually use essential oils like lavender for aroma.
All their products are free from hormone disruptors and ingredients which can cause irritation. They are also vegan, not tested on animals and certified cruelty free. One step further, they’re also considered reef safe (so if I only had a ticket, I could hop on a plane to Hawaii with their sunscreen right now! Anyone want to send a ticket my way?).
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) considers natural mineral sunscreen products like these the safest and most effective. In fact, the EWG selected Goddess Garden as one of the top 23 sunscreens for babies and kids. Another bonus: these products provide immediate protection, unlike chemical sunscreens which need time to undergo a chemical reaction on the skin before they begin to work.
I also like that the Goddess Garden products don’t go on really white, like traditional zinc oxide mineral sunscreens. Goddess Garden uses a shea butter lotion base that makes their sunscreens non-greasy, sheer and easier to apply. The After-Sun Gel also absorbs quickly and isn’t sticky like many others we’ve tried.
Regarding its gluten-free status, their website states “Our sunscreens do not contain gluten or wheat-derived products. The xanthan gum we use in our sunscreens is fermented from wheat or soy, but our supplier has also tested for both of those specific allergens and none remain after processing. However, we are not a gluten-free facility. For those with a gluten sensitivity (or any allergy or sensitivity), we recommend trying our sunscreen on the inside of your elbow 24 hours prior to use to make sure it works for you.”
All in all, I highly recommend this product line. I’ve been impressed with all the products I’ve tried and even my teenage daughter regularly reaches for their After-Sun Gel and their Daily Facial Routine products. While I prefer sunscreen lotions, my kids always opt for the spray-on sunscreens (instant gratification generation, I suppose).
After extensive experimenting, I feel good about recommending this line to you.* Please leave a comment if there is another natural, non-chemical sunscreen brand you also like, or if you’ve tried Goddess Garden Organics, how you like them.
*Goddess Garden Organics was founded by a mom wanting safe skin care for her daughter. I first tried their products several years ago when I discovered them at Natural Products Expo West. A friend of mine had recommended I stop by their booth because she really believed in their products and their mission. Since then, I’ve tried many of their products and have loved every one. Their sunscreens, in particular, are really a step above so many others, which is why I am now an ambassador for their brand. I want my readers to know what I choose for my family and why I trust their products.
I’ve partnered with Goddess Garden as one of their ambassadors. As always, all opinions are my own. See my disclosure policy for more information. Working with select brands I love allows me to keep bringing you free recipes, and I hope that in the process, you’ll learn about some of the safe gluten free products I choose for my family. Thanks so much for your support!