CHEMICAL BAD, MINERAL GOOD
Firstly, what's the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreen is the conventional sunscreen that you’ve always known and most big brand sunscreens are chemical. It protects you from the UV rays of the sun by first absorbing into your skin, and then absorbing and transforming UV rays into heat, which is then released into the air.
Mineral (or physical) sunscreen, contains tiny mineral particles which sit on top of your skin and act as filters, physically reflecting and deflecting the sun’s rays. The main active ingredients used in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Chemical Sunscreen Bad :-(
The thing is, unlike mineral sunscreen, chemical sunscreen gets absorbed into your skin. That means the active ingredients that are in the sunscreen also get into your body.
And it turns out, they aren't very good for us!
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), studies show that chemical UV filters such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone are all absorbed into the body after a single use, and can be detected on the skin and in blood weeks after application. In fact, it is estimates that about 97% of Americans have oxybenzone in their blood. Some of these chemicals have even been found in breast milk. It's very likely that there's some in your blood stream right now!
The chemical UV filters mentioned above are also under investigation as hormone disruptors in humans as well as in aquatic life. These are the reasons that chemical sunscreens are being banned in places like Hawaii, Florida, Thailand, Pulau.
They are also proven to harm coral reefs too, so whilst they do protect your skin from the sun's UV rays, they do damage to the environment and get into your bloodstream. They also cause irritation for people with sensitive skin.
Is there a better way? There certainly is. Read on!!
Mineral Sunscreen Good :-)
There is a better way; A more natural way to protect your skin - mineral sunscreen. It works by sitting on top of your skin and doesn’t contain active chemical ingredients, so you don’t run the risk of introducing possibly toxic chemicals into your body when you use it. Mineral sunscreen is also much less likely to cause allergic reactions, is broad-spectrum by nature thus providing both UVA and UVB protection. It does not harm coral reefs or aquatic life, making it a great alternative to chemical sunscreens.
How to Use Mineral Sunscreen
If you’re not used to using mineral sunscreen, there are a few things to note:
- Mineral sunscreen must be applied generously, to make sure that there are no gaps between mineral particles.
- Physical sunscreen contains either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. Zinc oxide sunscreen is generally considered better, because titanium dioxide has been shown to be more irritating to the skin, and is significantly less effective at protecting you from UVA rays.
- Physical sunscreen washes off more easily, so reapply if you are swimming, or sweating.
- Avoid powdered mineral sunscreen: inhaling mineral particles is associated with lung cancer.
Important Note: Although most sunscreen will fall into one of these two categories, combination products are increasingly common. Always read the label carefully and look for a 100% mineral sunscreen. And remember avoid sunscreens which contain oxybenzone. avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate or homosalate.