Maintaining the health and radiance of your skin requires proper skincare, with sun protection being a critical aspect. Sunscreen plays a vital role in safeguarding your skin against harmful UV rays. In this article, we will explore the importance of non-toxic sunscreen and provide expert guidance to help you choose the right products for your skincare routine.
Understanding Non-Toxic Sunscreen
When discussing non-toxic sunscreen, it's crucial to clarify the term "chemical." All substances, including those we encounter daily, are composed of chemicals. Therefore, when referring to non-toxic sunscreen, we mean products that are free from harmful chemicals.
In the realm of sunscreens, we differentiate between chemical sunscreens and physical or mineral sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens contain synthetic chemical filters like Oxybenzone to block UV radiation from the sun, while physical sunscreens employ mineral filters (UV blockers) such as Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide.
Ingredients and Reproductive Health
Certain chemicals found in chemical sunscreens have been linked to reproductive issues due to their hormone-mimicking effects. For example, the chemical Homosalate has shown interference with sperm function, raising concerns about its impact on fertility. It is advisable to avoid sunscreens containing controversial chemicals, especially during pregnancy, as these products are not specifically tested on pregnant women.
The primary purpose of sunscreen is to protect the skin, but some chemical ingredients like Cinoxate and Octocrylene have been associated with skin irritation and photosensitivity, ironic as it may seem. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, it is recommended to opt for organic and natural sunscreens to minimise the risk of irritation.
Photostability of Chemicals
Sunscreen chemicals should ideally be photostable, meaning they retain their chemical structure even when exposed to light. However, some synthetic chemicals, like Avobenzone, can become unstable and potentially toxic when broken down by sunlight. Therefore, it is important to choose sunscreens with photostable ingredients.
The negative environmental impacts of synthetic chemicals in sunscreens cannot be overlooked. For instance, Oxybenzone has been linked to coral reef damage when it washes off swimmers into the ocean. Opting for reef-safe sunscreens not only protects your health but also contributes to safeguarding the environment.
The Advantages of 'Physical' Sunscreens
Physical or mineral sunscreens, containing ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, offer effective sun protection without the health and environmental concerns associated with toxic alternatives.
Physical ingredients, particularly zinc oxide, are in our opinion, the safest choice for sunscreens. Most Zinc Oxide is made synthetically but does occur naturally as the mineral Zincite. These minerals sit on top of the skin, reflecting UV rays away, instead of being absorbed like chemical sunscreens. Zinc oxide also boasts numerous health benefits, including soothing skin irritation, combating sunburn, non-comedogenic properties (doesn't clog pores or cause acne), antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and improving skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles.
Zinc oxide provides excellent UVA protection, often surpassing that of chemical sunscreens, making it a superior form of sun protection.
What about Nanoparticles?
Particles less than 100 nanometers in size are considered nanoparticles. There are concerns however that nanoparticles can change our skin cells, this is particularly important to look out for in anti-ageing products but suncreams also use nano-sized Zinc or Titanium Dioxide to avoid the whitening effect on the skin.
OK I know it all sounds doom and gloom and 'too complicated' but choosing a non-toxic sunscreen is vital for protecting your skin and overall well-being. By opting for 'physical' sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, you can confidently enjoy effective sun protection without compromising your health or the environment. Prioritise your skin's health and make informed decisions when selecting sunscreens to maintain radiant and protected skin.
If you're unsure where to start, 'Google': 'Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreen' there are plenty of options out there.