In contrast, chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, “convert the rays into heat, and release … But these early products were pasty, pricey, and, uh, really white, so the industry started searching for alternatives. Are all sunscreen ingredients equal? Perhaps that’s why you’re here. While some instinctively shy away from chemical sunscreens in favour of physical options, this can be a hasty decision. © 2010-2017 The Coveteur Inc. All Rights Reserved. Whether you choose chemical or physical sunscreen (mineral sunscreen), some form of protection is an absolute must. Enter this mineral option, which uses, you guessed it, zinc oxide. Yes. “Any acidic sunscreen will cause zinc oxide to dissolve into zinc, so you lose your SPF,” Dr. Downs explains. Hence also, there is no chemical reaction. It has a balm like feel on the skin which sets to a non-greasy finish. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. “But once you get out of that nano size”—anything larger than 120 nanometers—“it becomes innocuous and non-toxic.”. The main active ingredients used in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Physical sunscreens are made of chemicals too. Inorganic, or physical sunscreens contain metal oxides such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that reflect and scatter UV light. Zinc oxide and mineral sunscreen are one in the same. In 2008 Dr. Downs began investigating why the coral reefs in particular areas of the Virgin Islands National Park were dying. “And most manufacturers aren’t pH-balancing their products.” He recommends purchasing pH strips to test sunscreens yourself, since most brands don’t share (or perhaps aren’t aware of) the pH levels of their goods. You can find the full chart of active ingredient toxicity here. “Zinc oxide was the original sunscreen in ointments—think back to the white lifeguard nose of the 1970s,” Guadagno shares. A dermatologist explains how physical and chemical sunscreens work, the ingredients to know, which one is safer, and how to choose the best one for your skin. Avocado Benefits: How Healthy is this Trending Superfood? In other words, chemical sunscreens do not protect against blue light (which is a form of visible light, not UV light), but physical sunscreens do. Bubble Recipes: How to Make a DIY Bubble Solution For Kids, Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Clearing Tips and Tricks, How to Store Ginger Root: 6 Ways to Keep Your Ginger Fresh for Longer, Zero Waste Bathroom: Tips for Using Less Plastic, 11 Flowers for Bees: Turn Your Garden or Balcony Into a Bee Paradise, Food Waste: 10 Pro Tips for Reducing Food Waste. The creation of free radicals is thus minimized. “Reapplication [every two hours] is paramount.”, Zinc-based physical blockers aren’t necessarily better. You may also hear them referred to as mineral or natural sunscreens. Always read the label carefully! “For sensitive or rosacea-prone skin, I only recommend mineral sunscreens because they’re less likely to cause an immediate stinging or burning sensation,” Dr. Geria says. Zinc oxide is a stable sunscreen ingredient that is much less likely than chemical ingredients to break down in the bottle or on your skin. “Chemical” Sunscreens; Zinc Oxide Titanium Dioxide: Octocrylene Avobenzone Octinoxate Octisalate Oxybenzone Homosalate Mexoryl SX Mexoryl XL Tinosorb S Tinosorb M … You’ll often find different rules and advice for using “physical” and “chemical” sunscreens. Yes, I’m talking about sunscreen, and no, it’s not a simple subject to cover. The Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, a non-profit scientific organization has developed a “Protect Land + Sea” Certification Seal. But particles that are very, very small, or nanoparticles, reintroduce environmental risks, because they can be ingested by coral reefs and other marine animals, causing internal damage. “Three or four or five chemicals together block the full UV range,” Guadagno notes. “Oxybenzone has appeared in human breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine, and blood plasma,” says Dr. Zenovia. Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work by sitting on top of the skin to deflect damaging UV rays away from the skin.” “Both chemical and physical sunscreens have their own set of pros and cons,” added Dr. Natalie: Chemical Sunscreen. UV radiation is divided into three main categories: UVC rays are mostly filtered out by the atmosphere, so we don’t have to worry too much about those. “I have so many patients who say they break out or get a rash when they wear sunscreen,” Dr. Ebuluk says. All fully mineral-based physical sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection by design. “No matter what amount of time you are in the sun, you should always wear sunscreen,” counters Dr. Zenovia Gabriel, a board-certified dermatologist known as Dr. Zenovia. Why? Basically, mineral sunscreen has multiple names and is made from ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. The Must-Have Jewelry on Our Editor’s Holiday Wish List, The Must-Have Beauty & Wellness Items on Our Staffer’s Holiday Wish List, In the Kitchen with Purely Elizabeth Founder Elizabeth Stein, Countersun Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30, Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30, Clear Zinc Unscented Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++, Eryfotona Actinica Daily Mineral Sun Protection, Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen, Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30, How to Reapply Sunscreen When You’re Wearing Makeup, Our 21 Favorite Beauty Products for a Day at the Beach, Zinc Up Your Beauty Routine for Clearer Skin. Tinted, blendable zinc formulations are becoming more common nowadays, but “mineral sunscreen has historically had more of a thick, white, pasty look,” Dr. Ebuluk says. To make it worse, many of these chemicals have been shown to disrupt hormones like estrogen, androgen, and progesterone, and have even produced thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies. Hence the name mineral. UVB rays burn the surface of your skin, causing things like sunburn and skin cancer. (Absorption doesn’t necessarily equate to harm.) “That is not only fake news, that is intentional misinformation and propaganda,” according to Dr. Downs. Zinc oxide sunscreen is often recommended as the safest and most environmentally friendly (more on that later). You get the easy-to-use benefits of a spray, added antioxidant protection, and a naturally-derived tropical scent. Tags: beauty consumerism healthy living Instagram sustainability, Subscribe to our newsletter Informative, free, inspiring, How to Choose UV Protection: Physical Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen, Nutrition Secrets: Foods That Are Good for Skin, Hair and Nails, Swai Fish: 5 Reasons Not to Eat Pangasius, Body Positivity: 5 Steps Towards A Positive Body Image, Walking Barefoot: Reasons to Lose Your Shoes More Often, How to Clean Your Water Bottle: Keeping Your Reusable Bottle Germ-Free, Important Information regarding Health-related Topics, Decluttering Your Home: 4 Tips for Sorting Out Your Belongings, Why Injecting or Ingesting Disinfectant Might Kill You, Fighting Coronavirus: This isn’t About You, Healthy Inca Grain? Chart of active ingredient toxicity here Clear Sport sunscreen Cream in a Tin – SPF 40,.... ’ ll stick with it t looking, the topic of sunscreen has multiple names and is made ingredients! 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