Hi loves! It's summer time, which means it's the perfect time to step up your sunscreen game and make sure you're getting the healthiest choice of product and ingredients for you. There are two types of sunscreen on the market, mineral (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and chemical (oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, etc). You likely see chemical sunscreen everywhere - it is seemingly more convenient as it's thinner, more translucent, and available in aerosol form for easy application.
However, many chemicals found in these sunscreens, even the main active sunblock ingredients, have been linked to multiple health hazards. Shall we take a quick look?
Studies with oxybenzone, the main chemical sunscreen, have shown that the chemical can cause skin allergies, interference with human hormones, high levels of toxicity in human cells, AND it is toxic to coral reefs! Also, oxybenzone (and the other chemical sunblocks) are found in mother's milk. Yuck.
Another point to consider is many chemical sunscreens have worrisome reports of ingredients containing carcinogens, particularly those containing oxybenzone. When you're wearing sunscreen to prevent sunburn and skin cancer, it seems pretty silly to use a product that could increase the risk of cancer itself.
Mineral sunscreen has proven to be the safer, healthier option for our skin, but which one? The answer is zinc oxide. Titanium dioxide, while an effective sunscreen, produces more free radicals that can speed up the aging process and contribute to oxidative damage to skin cells. No ingredient is perfect, but zinc seems to be as close as we can get for sun protection. If you're not sold yet, here's a list of 5 surprising benefits zinc has on the skin:
1. Anti-inflammatory properties: Zinc has been shown to soothe skin conditions including malasma, rosacea, and eczema. Research suggests that it calm redness and decreases inflammation and oxidative stress among older adults when used topically. Applying to problem areas every morning can help manage skin sensitivities and resulting symptoms.
2. Acne-fighting properties: Zinc has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that fight acne and prevent further breakouts. In fact, this is why some people swear by using diaper cream as an acne treatment - the zinc oxide in diaper cream that soothes irritated skin is the same zinc in ointments used to treat acne!
3. Treats tissue damage: Applying zinc pastes with zinc oxide tape was used successfully to treat EVERY SINGLE patient (out of 40) in a recent study with soft-tissue wounds that conventional dressings were not healing. It is supposedly good for reducing acne scars as well, as it targets the underlying scar tissue.
4. Anti-aging effects: As zinc offers protection to skin against oxidative stress and protection from UV rays, it is a great anti-aging tool to keep in your daily skincare routine. It also stimulates the immune and antioxidant defenses to combat aging and age-related diseases.
5. Sunscreen ability: Ok, maybe this one isn't that surprising, but it's still pretty cool. Zinc sits on top of the skin and creates a barrier, effectively blocking short and long UVA rays and all UVB rays. Zinc oxide is the ONLY active sunscreen ingredient that is approved by the FDA for use on children under six months, which is something to think about. Titanium dioxide is second best at blocking UVA rays (short, not long), but it's still not FDA approved for infants!
Zinc sunscreen can sit heavy on the face. Ever seen someone at the beach with a stripe of white across their nose? That's usually zinc oxide, and yes, it's meant to look like that when used thickly. If you'd like to use zinc in your sunscreen routine, but don't want to look like a ghost, check out our Sunshield Skin Tint Sunscreen. It feels and looks like a BB cream, is water resistant, and lab-tested to certify an SPF of 28 from active ingredient zinc oxide.
You can find it here:
Stay healthy and happy!