Monday, July 25, 2011

Yoga Safely with Sunscreen: A Badger Review

Being the daughter of a red head means that I've thought about skin cancer. A bunch. 

Practicing yoga outside and skin cancer kinda go together now... Don't get me wrong, I used to lay out on a tanning bed when I was a young-un (ok, 17-18yrs old) and the thought of actively exposing my delicate skin to Ultraviolet rays makes me feel a little nauseous. Unfortunately, unlike my red headed dad (and my pale pale husband) I tan *very* well and easily. 

Weirdly, the UV index has been extremely high in the past few weeks... I never thought about it before, but it seems it's just permanently set to '9-Extremely High'. Didn't there use to be lower UV numbers? 

According to the World Health Organization, there's been a marked increase in skin cancers worldwide, and although we've made great strides in eliminating ozone depleting chemicals we're still exposed to high levels of UV radiation. Exposure to Ultraviolet radiation is the cause of 20% of 12 to 15 billion global cases of blindness, 130,000 malignant skin cancers and has been linked to suppressing cell-mediated immunity; limiting the efficacy of vaccinations (WHO). According to this article in National Geographic, the ozone layer was thinner this spring- awesome. (check out this fantastic post at Balance Blog for a more in depth look at sunscreens!)

For a successful Yoga in the Park, a Yogi(ni) MUST wear sunblock (and have a 'YITP friendly' mat- a cloth  mat or old mat that won't break down from the sun). 

Of course, sunscreen has some pretty nasty chemicals that seep right into your skin. EEP. Oxybenzone; a weak hormone disruptor found in 95% of 6-8yr old girls' urine and found in our soil and waterways, estrogenic octinoxate, hormone disruptor homosalate and possible carcinogen enzulizole all are found in common sunscreens (Ecoholic 2007).

So- This year I was determined to find a fabulous eco-friendly sunblock for my staple weekend Yoga in the Park.

I thought Badger SPF 30 was the winner. Non-nano with certified organic ingredients and made the Environmental Working Group's best sunscreen list for 2011.

Too bad it was an epic fail as a sunscreen. (sorry no pics of the actual sunscreen, it was thrown out in a fit of anger).

The Review:
Smell: Yummy, like shea butter. mmmm...
Look and texture: icky white oily paste that is difficult to rub in. 

Casual walk around the city test: 
Both of our arms turned pink and my arms tanned while his face pinkened.

Yoga in the Park between 10h30-12pm Saturday:
Despite both of us slathering the stuff on, we both burned to a crisp. Sadly, Andrew burned even worse as he doesn't acquire base tans. It was honestly as if we hadn't been wearing sunscreen at all. In fact, Andrew's non-sunscreened legs (yep he forgot) burned *just* as badly as his supposedly 'protected' face, arms and neck. 
Andrew's lovely legs- TWO days post Yoga in the Park. Saturday evening he was crowned 'Lobster Man'. Only a very supportive husband would let me post pics of his legs on my blog... lol
Lesson- Avoid Badger Sunscreen. As it's late in the season and we're not risking any more skin cancer or cataracts, we bit the chemical bullet and bought regular sunblock. Eff-it, we'll try again next year.

Any environmentally friendly sunscreens that actually work? 

Yoga Safely- wear sunblock!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Try California Baby or Goddess. I don't burn easily, but these work for me. Perhaps stop at the store to dab on some of the tester samples before you head out.


  2. Oh dear! Poor sunburned legs. I have a redheaded complexion (only my hair isn't a beautiful shade of red, just boring reddish-blondish-brownish). I am one huge freckle, and a melanoma survivor. I was lucky, I found it early enough and escaped lengthy treatment. However, I do go 2x a year for a head to toe check by my dermatologist (the only "medical" dr I really trust, everything else in naturopath all the way!). And while I do worry about the chemicals in regular sunscreen, I apply it faithfully, every single day. I even use it on my face in winter. It's just not worth risking a recurrence. And I haven't found a natural sunscreen that works well enough for someone as fair complected as I.

    If you find one that really works for redheads, please post. In the meantime, I'll keep slathering on the regular stuff :)

    Oh yeah...I highly recommend everyone having their doctor check them over for skin cancers. Early detection is crucial.

  3. That is too bad about Badger. We have used there products for the past 2 years. This year was the first fot the Baby Sunscreen on my 2 1/2 yr. old and even on the boat in open water for a day-nothing. Aubrey Organics is another one that was rated high. They do have samples if you call them. Good Luck!
    Fellow yogini

  4. I like Yes to Carrots sunscreen. It's a bit pricey, but it works well for me.

  5. I thought that if you tan easily (and don't burn at all) you're less likely to be at risk for skin cancer. Which is why skin cancer rates are high where the weather is always sunny and most of the people are white and thus more likely to burn (like Australia and California).

  6. Just to see the sun right now would be nice. Love from me in cloudy grey England :(

  7. Hey girl, thanks for the heads up on Badger, I saw Five Seed mention you on facebook, and had to come say hello. I just spent some time browsing your blog, and gotta say I LOVE you,,,, in a very good not weird way, he he.

    I've been slowly getting into yoga for several years now, and while I am FAR from being a YOGINI,,, which I don't even know what that is, lol, I still LOVE all things yoga, eco, and all around everything you talk about here.

    I am so following along, and I should be getting my first Diva cup to review within the week, CAN't WAIT!!

    So nice to meet you girl!

    Namaste :)

    Stop by anytime to say hello!!!
    Hugs, Bella :)
    **AMAZE ME AUGUST** @ Bella Before and After Any projects, recipes, diy welcome.
    **PARTY PLANNING TUESDAYS** @ Euro Style Cakes. All your party planning tips, decorations, invitations, and recipes welcome at my NEW party.

  8. @Rainee: thank you for the suggestions, i'll have to look for samples- a great idea!

    @Nicole: SO true! thank you for the reminder, getting checked out and investigating strangely shaped or new skin formations is SO important!

    @E: ahhh- i've heard this from someone else, perhaps we got a bad batch?

    @Diana: I've tried some of their other products and liked them- thanks!

    @Mardhiya: from my understanding, tans and freckles are our natural way of defending against a sunburn (which is definitely damaging to our skin cells and can lead to cancer), but I also thought that a tan was essentially damage already done.
    Plus- although i tan easily, i burn first. Andrew just burns and then turns pale again. According to WHO:
    "It is a popular misconception that only fairskinned people need to be concerned about overexposure to the sun. Darker skin has more protective melanin pigment, and the incidence of skin cancer is lower in darkskinned people. Nevertheless, skin cancers do occur with this group and unfortunately they are often detected at a later, more dangerous stage. The risk of UV radiation-related health effects on the eye and immune system is independent of skin type."

    @Rachel: ahhh- yep i can relate- we had a rainy June...

    @Bella: thank you very much- so glad you're enjoying the posts :) Also- yay Diva Cup!!!

  9. I've been using the Green Beaver's SPF 30 sunscreen and have had really good results. I don't burn as easily, but this seemed to work perfectly for me.

  10. This is one of those areas that I fail as a health educator... although I always advise my students to use sun protection practices and sunscreen.... I'm not a fan and tend to only use it if I'm knowingly going to be out for majorly prolonged periods of time directly in the sun (ie a 12 hr day on a boat on water and in a bathing suit). Otherwise I pass...mainly because of the chemicals IN the sunscreen. I suppose I personally feel (and this sounds horrible) that I'd rather have a cancer removed from my skin than one that is inside my body. Either way, it's a depressing thought....

  11. After reading comments, EcoY, two main risks for skin cancer are 1) extreme burns/high rates of burns and 2) lifetime exposure. The misconception of the it being the burning makes people think it's okay to be out in it all the time if they don't burn, however it's probably one of the reasons the rates are so high. Plus I do believe (although I don't necessarily have the research at my fingertips to quote this) that there is even a genetic susceptibility for if you have family members, it's more likely.

  12. This is the one I was mentioning the other day.

    I hope Andrew's burn is better!

  13. Hi Eco Yogini!

    I'm a friendly Badger representative, and I'm terribly sorry you didn't have a good experience with our sunscreen! :/
    We want everyone to love it as much as we do.

    One thing to remember with natural sunscreens (in general) is that they protect you from the sun by physically blocking the rays - this is different than the chemical sunscreens you are used to. This means that if you do not apply enough you're not getting the full SPF on the package. My guess is that you might not have applied enough (To be effective, sunscreen must be applied liberally to all exposed skin. An average sized body (in a swimsuit) requires about 1oz for full and complete coverage. The FDA tests sunscreen efficacy using 2 miligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. The average human body is 18,000 square centimeters. By our calculations this means 1.2oz of sunscreen would adequately cover an entire human body). Just something to keep in mind if you try other natural sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active sunscreening ingredient.

    We hope you'll try some of our other fabulous products, though! Hey, did you know we make a Yoga & Meditation balm?? :)

    If you ever have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us:

    Happy Holidays,
    Your Friends at Badger


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