The suns out, kids are playing with their new Christmas toys, you can smell that fresh summer air breeze, the beach is calling… and girl your looking good. you have prepped all those cold winter mornings to have your summer body ready… or like me you’ve opted for the lie in and regret every snooze.
You finally get out of bed and hit the beach for the first time and kick yourself for not having that spray tan you wanted to book! You’ve been lasered from tip to toe but you as white as a snow man.
You’re a wild child so you think you can speed up what should be a slow and safe tanning process. You didn’t opt for the SPF so that you can have that caramel tanned skin asap and for the rest of the holiday!
You have chilled on the beach all day. The golden sunset is setting and you’re getting ready for a dinner party you have been looking forward to all week. But disaster has struck and you can barely move or dream of putting on your strappy black number. The sun was not your friend and you are no paying the price for avoiding SPF. You’re a lobster!! Blistering red and in agony thinking of your dinner party you wont be attending and fomo starts to set in.
Now if your anything like us at TLB, one wants to follow the correct regime and use SPF every day, but what about all those nasty chemicals? Will I break out? TLB Beaugicians have done the research and it’s our mission to make sure you steal the day and night look flawlessly.
Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. (yikes try saying that fast!) Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.
Below we have elaborated more in detail:
1) Physical sunscreen, or sunblock, contains natural minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that cover the surface of skin to physically block or reflect broad spectrum of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Unless you’re using high-end physical SPF products, sunblock can be thick and messy to apply, sometimes leaving a white sheen and residue that can clog pores and require scrubbing and rubbing to remove.
2) Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, contains synthetic ingredients such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are absorbed into the skin to filter and absorb UV rays, effectively protecting deeper layers of skin. Because it is absorbed, chemical sunscreen can lead to skin irritation and other adverse reactions. Plus, the ingredients can generate cell-damaging free radicals when exposed to the sun.
At TLB we recommend our two product houses RegimA and Nimue SPF, and we have explained why below:
Sunscreen Pro SPF 25 (contains no titanium dioxide) ingredients are: Unival A which act as an anti-oxidant and often used in Anti – Aging creams, TinosorbS acts a UV (ultra-violet filter for UVA and UVB)
TLB Beaugicians recommend you re- apply more frequently when exposed to direct exposure for longer period of time. RegimA SPF 25 is very lightweight and can be applied under or over your make up and will not result in clogged pores or breakouts.
Cost R235-00 for 100ml.
Unfortunately RegimA SPR doesn’t come in a spray
Sun C SPF 40 ingredients are: Cyanoacrylate for protection, Yeast Polysaccharides (derived from yeast cell wall) for moisture and an anti-oxidant complex as well as Artemia Salina for skin protection against UV damage.
Nimue SPF 40 is light weight and non-comogenic (no blocked pores)
Nimue has a Body SPF 50 that is mattifying and for total light protection.
Cost R487-00 for 60ml
Body Spray R528-00 for 150ml
For those that want the deep scientific facts and research we have elaborated on the below for you regarding ingredients to avoid in your SPF.
• How to determine if your SPF’s Active ingredient are toxic?
Shall we start at the beginning? What is a sunscreen product?
Sunscreen is a unique face and body care product: consumers are directed to apply a thick coat over large areas of the body and reapply frequently. Thus, ingredients in sunscreen should not be irritating or cause skin allergies, and should be able to withstand powerful UV radiation without losing their effectiveness or forming potentially harmful breakdown products. People can potentially inhale ingredients in sunscreen sprays and ingest some of the ingredients they apply to their lips, so ingredients must not be harmful to lungs or internal organs. Further, sunscreens commonly include ingredients that act as “penetration enhancers” and help the product adhere to skin. As a result, many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body and can be measured in blood, breast milk and urine samples.
Laboratory studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones, and physicians report sunscreen-related skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended human health consequences from frequent sunscreen application.
The Food and Drug Administration has not reviewed evidence of potential hazards of sunscreen filters – instead it grandfathered in ingredients used in the late 1970s when it began to consider sunscreen safety. The Danish EPA recently reviewed the safety of active ingredients in sunscreen and concluded that most ingredients lacked information to ensure their safety (Danish EPA 2015). Sixteen of the 19 ingredients studied had no information about their potential to cause cancer. And while the published studies suggest that several chemical filters interact with human sex or thyroid hormones, none of the ingredients had sufficient information to determine the potential risks to humans from hormone disruption. (sigh of relief here)
So what ingredients in a sunscreen are toxic/toxin?
1. Oxybenzone a.k.a. benzophenone-3 is a chemical added to most sunscreens to guard the skin from UVA rays. It also prevents other sunscreen ingredients from deteriorating. Sunlight causes oxybenzone to form free radical chemicals linked to cell damage. Oxybenzone is readily absorbed in the body and is present in 97% of Americans tested. More women had this toxin in their bodies, mainly because oxybenzone is used in personal care products such as, lotions, creams, and body washes. Studies have shown it’s a likely carcinogen and is linked with: Allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage, Low birth weight in babies whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy.
2. Nanoparticles are extremely tiny particles added to sunscreen because they are easily absorbed by the skin. However, not enough research has been done on these particles. It is known that due to their small size, they act differently in the body. “Spray Sunscreens” frequently contain nano particles and are more dangerous. This is because the particles can be inhaled. Safe metals such as zinc and titanium dioxide occurring in most sunscreens are safe as long as they aren’t put in nano particle form. Most sunscreens will not list nanoparticles as one of the ingredients, but sunscreens which don’t have nanos will say this on the label.
Studies show “nano” zinc oxide can kill colon and brain stem cells, penetrate the skin, and travel through blood and urine. In addition, one study linked “nano” titanium dioxide to genetic changes, alzheimer’s, autism, and epilepsy. So, while zinc and titanium dioxide are excellent choices for safe sunscreen, they must be in non-nano form. TLB TIP!!
3. Retinyl Palmitate [RP] received a lot of press a few years ago. RP is a form of vitamin A added to 41% of the sunscreens on the market and to other skin care products. In a National Toxicology Program (NTP) study, it was found when skin is treated with a mix of retinyl palmitate and skin cream and is exposed to ultraviolet light, the cream with retinyl palmitate stimulated lesion and tumour growth. While Vitamin A is a wonderful skin care ingredient when in it’s natural state, it obviously has no business being in a sunscreen when your skin is in direct sunlight.
4. Octyl methoxycinnamate, also known as Octinoxate, Eusolex 2292 and Uvinul MC80, creates free radicals inside the skin which post significant threat to DNA. Like oxybenzone, it works with other penetration enhancers to penetrate skin and accumulates in the body. Also, similarly to retinyl palmitate, it has phototoxic effects (toxic reaction provoked by light and often linked to photosensitivity!) In addition, it has been shown to have estrogenic effects and disrupt thyroid hormones.
5. Another ingredient used to block UVA rays is Padimate O, paraminobenzoic acid, or PABA. According to the EWG’s Skin Deep database, “Research shows this chemical releases free radicals, damages DNA, has estrogenic activity, and causes allergic reactions in some people.” A report done by the FDA a few years ago implicated padimate O as a nitrosamine, a class of compounds known to be carcinogenic. Many people avoid this because it is irritating to the skin.
Another negative effect of all these ingredients Is they are also damaging to the environment. Some of these toxins have been found in lakes, rivers, and oceans and this in turn harms wildlife, including coral reefs.
So while you should be on the lookout and avoid sunscreens with the preceding ingredients, know there are many non-chemical sunscreens available that do the job safely with no impact to your body or the environment.
6. Octinoxate One of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with SPF, octinoxate is readily absorbed by our skin and helps other ingredients to be absorbed more readily. While allergic reactions from octinoxate aren’t common, hormone disruption is: the chemical’s effects on estrogen can be harmful for humans and wildlife, too, should they come into contact with the chemical once it gets into water. Though SPF products are designed to protect skin from sun-induced aging, octinoxate may actually be a culprit for premature aging, as it produces menacing free radicals that can damage skin and cells.
7. Homosalate This UV-absorbing sunscreen ingredient helps sunscreen to penetrate your skin. Once the ingredient has been absorbed, homosalate accumulates in our bodies faster than we can get rid of it, becomes toxic and disrupts our hormones.
8. Octocrylene When this chemical is exposed to UV light, it absorbs the rays and produces oxygen radicals that can damage cells and cause mutations. It is readily absorbed by your skin and may accumulate within your body in measurable amounts. Plus, it can be toxic to the environment.
9. Paraben Preservatives Associated with both acute and chronic side effects, parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-) can induce allergic reactions, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity. While butylparaben was reported to be non-carcinogenic in rats and mice, but it has been previously suspected that parabens and other chemicals in underarm cosmetics may contribute to the rising incidence of breast cancer.
… phew Im glad that’s over with… Thanks TLB Beaugicians.
If you’re looking to be a general knowledge boffin at Christmas dinner the below will be super helpful… What does the toxic sunscreen ingredients actually do to your body?
1) Hormone disruption:
Several common chemical filters appear to be endocrine disruptors. A large number of studies in animals and cells have shown that the chemicals affect reproduction and development by altering reproductive and thyroid hormones. Animal studies report lower sperm counts and sperm abnormalities after exposure to oxybenzone and octinoxate, delayed puberty after exposure to octinoxate, and altered estrous cycling for female mice exposed to oxybenzone.
2) Mineral sunscreens:
Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, usually in the form of nanoparticles.
There is good evidence that little if any zinc or titanium particles penetrate the skin to reach living tissues. Thus, mineral sunscreens tend to rate better than chemical sunscreens in the sunscreen database. However, it is important that manufacturers use forms of minerals that are coated with inert chemicals to reduce photoactivity. If they don’t, users could suffer skin damage. To date, no such problems have been reported.
The FDA should set guidelines and place restrictions on zinc and titanium in sunscreens to minimize the risks to sunscreen users and maximize these products’ sun protection.
The FDA must also take a close look at the so-called inactive ingredients in sunscreens. These typically make up 50 to 70 percent of a sunscreen product
One ingredient in particular is a cause for concern: the preservative methylisothiazolinone. Methylisothiazolinone is used alone or in mixtures with a related chemical preservative called methylchloroisothiazolinone. Laboratory studies indicate that methylisothiazolinone is a skin sensitizer or allergen. Over the past several years, physicians have reported serious cases of skin allergies, most notably in children exposed to methylisothiazolinone, from baby wipes and other products meant to be left on the skin. That methylisothiazolinone has become relatively common in sunscreen is a matter of concern because sunscreen users are likely to be exposed to significant concentrations of this chemical. The products that contain it are intended to be applied to large portions of the body and to be reapplied often.
We always have to ask this one… What does toxic sunscreen do to the environment?
When zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles wash off skin, they enter the environment, with unknown effects. The implications of nanoparticle pollution for the environment have not been sufficiently assessed (Börm 2006).
The potential negative environmental effects of nanoscale and conventional zinc and titanium should be carefully studied and weighed against the environmental impact of other UV blockers. Sunscreen ingredients have been shown to damage coral, accumulate in fish and the environment, and disrupt hormones in fish and amphibians.
For all sunscreens, including nanoscale zinc and titanium, there is an urgent need to carry out thorough environmental assessments so that regulators have the data they need to begin to control hazards associated with widespread use of these and other chemical ingredients in personal care products. But one of the reasons is that a Vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate, that is often used in sunscreens was shown to speed up the growth of cancerous cells by 21%.