Just as America is a potpourri of varied cultures, modern medicine is a melting pot of traditions from all over the world. Borrowing from 5,000-year old Indian traditions, the Ayurvedic system may seem like an exotic approach to skin care, but new brands are changing that. DoshaCare launched this past September with the goal to make Ayurveda accessible to the Western consumer by simplifying the process of selecting a skincare regimen. On DoshaCare's website, a quick online questionnaire identifies your primary and secondary doshas (worldly elements that define your well-being) and recommends products based on your results. The Sakala Sunscreen is one of the few items in DoshaCare's line that isn't exclusive to a specific dosha and embraces all skin types.

After years in pursuit of the perfect sunscreen for everyday use, I have found a new favorite. Sakala Sunscreen has been an addition to my morning ritual for the past several weeks, serving as an intermediary between my moisturizer and makeup. It is rare to find a mostly natural sunscreen that doesn't yield a shiny mug and/or a ghostly pallor. Sakala beats the odds. With just a small squirt of the white potion, I can coat my entire face with a layer of pearlescent, protective, mattifying magic. It absorbs instantly, leaving a scent-free, grease-free shield from UV light. The level of protection was even strong enough to survive yesterday's sun- and sweat-drenched Turkey Trot.

The texture is so smooth and consistency so lightweight that Sakala sunscreen is the perfect base for makeup. Though it's not deeply hydrating enough for my winter-parched skin, normal-oily skin types probably wouldn't need an additional moisturizer. I have applied Sakala sunscreen over nearly every cream and lotion in my emollient arsenal, and it has adapted well to every single of them, absorbing excess oil like a sponge. As is true for the rest of the DoshaCare line, Sakala's formula clings as close to nature as possible and harbors no less than 98% botanical ingredients.

Many of these ingredients are remnants of the ancient Ayurvedic balancing system. There's turmeric, an antiseptic and skin lightener, aloe vera, a versatile anti-inflammatory, and sandalwood, a soothing tonic. Found in comfrey root, allantoin is believed to aid in the healing of damaged skin by stimulating new tissue growth. Macadamia nut oil softens and protects the skin's natural moisture barrier, while jojoba oil nourishes dry and wrinkled skin. Neem extract, which imparts anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, also normalizes oil production. The formula is further enriched by eucalyptus, shikakai, tulsi, hibiscus, and fenugreek extracts.

With such botanical bounty, you might think that Sakala sunscreen can do no wrong. Unfortunately, its paraben-free preservative record is marred by the ubiquitous phenoxyethanol. Aside from sodium benzoate, the remainder of the formula is for the most part helpful or harmless- until it reaches the sunscreen portion. Micronized zinc oxide blocks both UVB and UVA rays without interfering with the lotion's look and feel. Though it may allow for complete protection with a sheer layer, it also raises concerns about nanotechnology. No matter how safe zinc oxide is deemed by the Environmental Working Group, there is little doubt that nanoparticles can enter the bloodstream and bring toxicity risks into the body.

The "oct-" screens, chemical sun blockers, present a set of separate dangers. Both octisalate and oxtinoxate undergo a certain degree of degradation when exposed to sunlight, which reduces their UV-filtering power. While octisalate has been linked to contact dermatitis, octinoxate has the potential for estrogenic and adverse developmental effects. Octocrylene has been shown to not only bioaccumulate in fish but also to increase free radical production in human skin, inducing indirect DNA damage. All in all, however, the combination of sun-shielding ingredients amounts to thorough broad-spectrum protection. The lotion's lovely feel on the skin leaves you reminiscent for the simpler time of Ayurvedic tradition, when chemicals and nanoparticles weren't yet conceived.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5 %, Octocrylene 7.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Zinc Oxide 2.9%

Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Polysorbate-60, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Leaf Extract, Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi) Leaf Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Wood Extract, Eucalyptus globules (Eucalyptus) Leaf Extract, Acacia Concinna (Shikakai) Fruit Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Eclipta Prostrata (Maka/Bhrigraj) Extract, Trigonella Foenum – Graecum (Fenugreek) Extract, Allantoin, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Essential Oil Blend.