The main active ingredients used in mineral sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is found in the sunscreens that are recommended by dermatologists because they don’t contain oxybenzone (a harmful chemical), which is very common in most other sunscreens. Are all sunscreen ingredients equal? Physical sunscreen is also called “mineral sunscreen,” since the two active ingredients on the market—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—are natural minerals. He adds that those using retinol or glycolic acid in their skin-care routine should look to mineral SPF as well, “since the ingredients are inert and won’t cause further irritation.” Fun fact: Zinc is the main ingredient in diaper cream, so you know it’s good at calming redness and irritation. SPF (sun protection factor) is a measure of a particular sunscreen’s ability to protect you from UVB rays (note: NOT UVA rays). Top 10 Zinc Oxide Sunscreens Of 2020 “Oxybenzone causes deformities in the larval state of coral—the same thing as it does with humans,” Dr. Downs says. The data collected by the FDA shows that six of the most prominent chemical actives—avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate—absorb into the bloodstream after a single application. Many people choose chemical sunscreen because it is easier to apply than physical sunscreen, it tends to be more waterproof, it can easily be combined with moisturizers, and less product is needed to get protection. That’s when we begin to see the evolution of the chemical sunscreens.”. That research helped inform the current legislation in the state of Hawaii and the city of Key West, Florida, which bans the sale of oxybenzone as well as octinoxate. You may also hear them referred to as mineral or natural sunscreens. Enter this mineral option, which uses, you guessed it, zinc oxide. “If it’s anything below six, you’re going to start dissolving the zinc oxide, and that’s not a safe product.”. by Christie Sacco What was once a pretty straightforward practice—apply sunscreen, and apply it often—suddenly seems complicated. That said, studies also link “sensible” sun exposure to optimal vitamin D levels, lowered blood pressure, and increased survival rates for other types of cancer. A formulation that shields against all types of UV light is considered a “broad-spectrum sunscreen,” the gold standard of SPF. Mineral sunscreen, also known as physical sunscreen, and chemical sunscreen help protect the skin from the sun in different ways, and it is important to know the difference between them. Physical sunscreen contains either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. Any form of microplastic sphere or beads. We have rounded up the best zinc oxide sunscreen lotions available on the market right now. Having used a sample of this sunscreen, I find this more suitable for normal & combination skin types. Badger: Clear Sport Sunscreen Cream in a Tin – SPF 40, 2. “That is not only fake news, that is intentional misinformation and propaganda,” according to Dr. Downs. Chemical sunscreens are most likely the culprit; when they absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, that heat has the potential to irritate the skin. 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. So what’s going on here? “But once you get out of that nano size”—anything larger than 120 nanometers—“it becomes innocuous and non-toxic.”. But this is the common nomenclature in the industry, so we’ll stick with it. “It’s an afterthought.” After struggling to find a safe SPF product that didn’t leave behind a chalky, ashy residue, “I thought to myself, ‘I can’t be the only Black girl who’s looking for a sunscreen that applies evenly.’” This was the aha moment for Black Girl Sunscreen. Avocado Benefits: How Healthy is this Trending Superfood? While some instinctively shy away from chemical sunscreens in favour of physical options, this can be a hasty decision. You can read more about how SPF is measured here. The Coveteur, Coveteurs, and Coveteur'd are trademarks of The Coveteur Inc. The sunscreen ingredients classified as “physical”—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—are definitely chemicals: ionic compounds, specifically. “Nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can be harmful to wildlife, and there are a number of studies showing zinc nanoparticles can cause adverse effects in coral,” Dr. Downs says. This category includes avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate, among others. Is sunscreen bad for you? Really, it’s no wonder you’re starting to wonder WTF is in your SPF. “A good way to ‘see’ the difference is a chemical sunscreen is normally light in texture and easily absorbs into the skin, whereas a physical sunblock appears thicker and whiter on the skin (don’t think traditional zinc here, rather micronized zinc oxide that absorbs quicker and does not stay white on … Zinc oxide sunscreen is often recommended as the safest and most environmentally friendly (more on that later). This second set of facts explains why countries across the globe, like the United Kingdom and Australia, recommend getting 10–15 minutes of sunlight per day sans sunscreen. Zinc oxide sunscreen is often recommended as the safest and most environmentally friendly (more on that later). Ahead, the experts answer all of your (sun)burning questions. What does “broad spectrum” mean? What does that even mean? 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. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the energy of UV … What does SPF measure, again? Although several studies have shown that nanoparticles in physical sunscreen do not penetrate the skin, the utter lack of FDA regulation surrounding nanoparticles still makes many people uncomfortable. “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. Inorganic, or physical sunscreens contain metal oxides such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that reflect and scatter UV light. *Everything* is a chemical! It has a balm like feel on the skin which sets to a non-greasy finish. “Now mineral sunscreens are coming back into favor because people are realizing the health implications and the environmental impact of [some of the] chemical sunscreens,” says Guadagno. “Wear SPF” is a platitude so pervasive in the skin-care community that it’s a meme, and for good reason. Other, older studies indicate that a handful of chemical sunscreens act as endocrine disruptors—that is, they interfere with the body’s hormonal system. One dermatologist says that you need to apply less physical sunscreen compared to a chemical sunscreen. © 2010-2017 The Coveteur Inc. All Rights Reserved. While this is true for some sunscreens, it is not necessary when using brands containing zinc oxide. In contrast, chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays, “convert the rays into heat, and release … To help you see the complete sun safety picture, we’ve rounded up the pros and cons of both types of sunscreen. There has also been some concern as to whether nanoparticles could be absorbed into the human bloodstream. “Reapplication [every two hours] is paramount.”, Zinc-based physical blockers aren’t necessarily better. However, the easiest way to know whether or not an SPF is chemical is to look for zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. When applied to the skin, these ingredients reflect light, much like a mirror. 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? “Oxybenzone is linked to [the birth defect of] Hirschsprung’s disease,” Dr. Downs adds, “and over 98 percent of the population can show that it’s in their blood or in their urine.” (The scientist notes that, “like secondhand smoke,” people who don’t personally use oxybenzone can still encounter the chemical via public swimming pools, where “the oxybenzone concentration can be in the parts per thousand, and you’re unknowingly absorbing it.”) Animal studies have linked octinoxate and homosalate to hormone disruption, as well. Physical sunscreen, sometimes called mineral sunscreen, contains tiny mineral particles which sit on top of your skin and act as filters, physically reflecting and deflecting the sun’s rays. You can consult with both your dermatologist and primary care doctor to determine the ideal amount of sun for you. “Put a little dab on the pH paper, and if it’s below a pH of seven, I wouldn’t trust it, because it’s acidified,” he says. Currently, the brand formulates with avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene—but a physical, zinc-based formula is on the horizon. While physical sunscreens have not been found to absorb into the bloodstream or negatively impact hormonal health, any sunscreen ingredient—physical or chemical—can be harmful if inhaled into the lungs via aerosol formulations (because sunscreen belongs on you, not in you). The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks. Confused? As with most things cheap and easy (plastic bags, Amazon Prime, makeup wipes), that convenience may come at a cost. However, there’s one area where the physical blocker still lags behind, and that’s wearability—specifically, wearability for Black and brown skin. The recent concern over the safety of chemical sunscreens largely stems from an early 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If that’s not enough fun for you, ingredients like oxybenzone and octocrylene are reported to generate allergic reactions in the skin at a high rate. Chemical sunscreens include ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, ecamsule, and octinoxate. “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. 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