You only get one skin. And with sunscreen products coming with a list of chemicals as long as your arm, do you really know what you’re putting on your skin, and how can you make the right choice?
In the quest for healthy, radiant skin and effective sun protection, choosing the right sunscreen is crucial. The association between ultraviolet (UV) radiation and skin cancers is well-established, with estimates suggesting that UV exposure contributes to 90% of skin cancer cases. However, when it comes to selecting the best sunscreen for your needs, it's important to understand the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens, along with their respective benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will explore these distinctions and emphasize the significance of making informed choices for both personal health and environmental well-being.
Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreens - What's the difference?
Chemical sunscreens contain active ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, avobenzone, octisalate, and homosalate. These ingredients work by absorbing UV radiation. While effective in dissipating UV rays, there are legitimate concerns associated with these chemicals:
- Chemical Absorption: These ingredients are absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. Recent research even suggests that traces of these chemicals can be detected in the blood and on the skin up to three weeks post-application.
- Health Implications: Chemical sunscreens have raised potential health concerns. For instance, oxybenzone has been linked to hormone disruption, and some studies indicate that certain sunscreen chemicals may interfere with sperm cell function.
- Environmental Impact: Some chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as benzene, are harmful to the environment, particularly coral reefs. The adverse effects of these chemicals on aquatic ecosystems underscore the importance of choosing eco-friendly alternatives.
Further studies, this time by scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, have demonstrated in their research the nature of hazardous chemical compounds formed as a result of the breakdown of avobenzone, a component of many sunscreen products, when it interacts with chlorinated water and ultraviolet radiation.
Mineral Sunscreens (also called “reflectors”)
In contrast, mineral sunscreens, particularly non-nano variants, offer a safer and more environmentally-friendly choice when compared to chemical sunscreens. This is because mineral sunscreens rely on physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals sit on the skin's surface and form a protective barrier, reflecting and redirecting UV rays away from the skin. This fundamental difference in how they operate provides several advantages:
- Safety and Effectiveness: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are recognized as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They do not penetrate the skin or enter the bloodstream, making them a safer choice.
- Eco-Friendliness: Mineral sunscreens are less harmful to the environment, especially coral reefs. Opting for a sunscreen without harmful chemicals can contribute to the preservation of our oceans.
- Long-Lasting Protection: Mineral sunscreens may offer more stable protection as they do not degrade as rapidly when exposed to sunlight or air. This translates into less frequent reapplication compared to chemical sunscreens.
How Do You Know If Your Sunscreen is Chemical Or Mineral?
It’s easy - just look at the back of the box or the product itself and look at the ‘active ingredients’ section. If you see either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, it's a mineral-based sunscreen. But if it lists active ingredients instead of those, it's a chemical sunscreen.
The Significance of choosing a Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreen
When choosing a mineral sunscreen, it is imperative to consider whether it is "non-nano." Nano refers to particles smaller than 100 nanometers, which can penetrate the skin and potentially enter the bloodstream and lungs. Research is ongoing to understand the full extent of the risks associated with nanoparticles for the skin and the environment. Non-nano mineral sunscreens, with larger particle sizes, represent a safer choice, as they cannot be absorbed by the skin.
Our recently launched holi (sun) skin drops are dewy, tinted, 100% mineral SPF 50 skin drops, formulated with ingredients you would find in your skincare, with the added protection of non-nano zinc oxide, to protect against harmful UV rays and sun damage. This two-in-one-product delivers a lightweight, natural and easily-blendable coverage (with zero white cast) that corrects imperfections and builds a daily, radiant glow, all while delivering 98% of UVA and UVB radiation protection too.
And the benefits don’t end there! The non-toxic formulation is rich in antioxidants, reducing pollution-induced free radicals and forming a luminous shield that also blocks over 35% of blue light (HEVL).
Skin cancer, including melanoma, is a pressing health concern, affecting 1 in 5 Americans in their lifetime. The consistent use of sunscreen is essential for safeguarding your skin, not only during vacations but throughout the year. Even during routine activities, your skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays, so you really can’t afford to go without daily protection.
But remember - it’s not just about you! Selecting the right sunscreen is pivotal for both personal well-being and environmental sustainability. Daily sunscreen application, coupled with informed decision-making, can help shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation while minimizing your ecological footprint.
So, the next time you reach for a sunscreen, do your research, and opt for a product that not only protects your skin but also contributes to the well-being of our environment.
After all, we only get one planet.
Get your holi (sun) here!
*** THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RESEARCHING FURTHER IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS SUBJECT***