We went looking for safer sunscreens for our clients, to guard their skin against harmful UV rays and protect their health.
Here’s what we found.
TWO TYPES OF SUNSCREEN
There are two types of sunscreens chemical and physical (mineral), and they work in different ways.
Physical sunscreens contain the minerals zinc and titanium oxide. These minerals sit on top of your skin and block UV rays from penetrating the skin. They deflect (scatter) the sun’s harmful rays.
Then you have Chemical sunscreens, which penetrate your skin. They don’t block. Once UV light is absorbed into your skin, the sunscreen ingredients create a chemical reaction that converts UV light into heat that gets released via your skin.
WHY WE CHOSE PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS
Chemical sunscreen ingredients aren’t as thick as physical sunscreens, which is why they are often used by manufacturers of sunscreen sprays, face creams, makeup, and hair sunscreen products.
The coverage is also said to last longer. However, you do have to wait 20 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun to give chemical sunscreens enough time to penetrate your skin. Physical sunscreens protect you immediately.
It’s also important to know that sunscreens in Australia must be approved for safety by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or they can’t be sold.
Even though chemical sunscreens are TGA-approved, we still recommend physical sunscreens because we consider them a healthier option.
Many of our clients’ immune systems are low, affecting their ability to fight off infections and diseases. That’s why often we use stricter guidelines than regulators.
It’s argued that the risks of sun exposure outweigh the potential risks of absorbing sunscreen chemicals.
However, if you have sensitive skin, chemical sunscreens can cause allergic skin reactions and worsen rosacea and hyperpigmentation.
There are also concerns about the effects of chemical sunscreen ingredients on the endocrine system and hormones, as well as the risk of certain cancers.
We choose physical sunscreens because they are safer.
Ethical Zinc and Avocado Zinc are both physical sunscreens that we recommend for our clients.
The next time you buy sunscreen, or any cosmetic for that matter, please check the labels and avoid ingredients that could undermine your health.
Our blog Are Your Cosmetics Harming You provides links to databases you can use to research product ingredients.
We also recommend a mind-opening documentary called Toxic Beauty that every family should watch together.
Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and is suitable for even highly sensitive skin.
SPF 50+ Natural Clear Zinc Sunscreen is water resistant for 4 hours, and the ingredients are certified natural.
Preservative Free, Chemical Actives Free, Cruelty-Free, and Reef Friendly. Made with solar power in Australia.
- Zinc Oxide (227mg/g): A natural mineral that provides stable broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- Medium Chain Triglycerides: A fatty oil derived from coconuts rich in antioxidants.
- White Beeswax: Used to help improve the consistency of the cream.
- Coco-caprylate: A skin-conditioning agent naturally derived from coconut oil.
- Castor Oil: Oil derived from the castor bean plant.
- Coconut Oil: Obtained from the flesh of the coconut.
- Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate: Derived from castor oil.
- Isostearic Acid: A naturally derived fatty acid we use as a binder.
- D-alpha-tocopheryl Acetate: Also known as Vitamin E, that helps preserve the product.
- Vanilla: Derived from natural plant extracts.
SPF 50+ Avocado Zinc is a 3-in-1 sunscreen, moisturiser, and primer that contains a special blend of skin-boosting ingredients including Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Calendula Oil, and Kakadu Plum Oil, to soothe & moisturise your skin without weighing it down or leaving it oily.
And it’s also perfect for wearing every day under makeup.
Gentle on sensitive skin and suitable for babies, pregnancy, and breastfeeding mothers.
Avocado Zinc rubs in clear and is designed for everyday use.
Preservative Free, Fragrance-Free, Chemical Actives Free, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Reef Friendly and packaged in recyclable tubes made from recycled materials. Made in Western Australia.
- Active ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide 227.5 mg/g.
- Medium chain triglyceride.
- Castor oil.
- Candelilla wax.
- Coconut Oil.
- Polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate.
- Avocado oil.
- Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl acetate).
- Calendula Oil.
- Kakadu plum oil (Terminalia ferdinandiana).
- Isostearic acid.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
Your health is precious so it’s just plain common sense to avoid questionable ingredients in products.
These are the chemical sunscreen ingredients we recommend you avoid:
4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor • European researchers cite concerns over thyroid toxicity, and hormone disruption, and recommend this chemical not be used in sunscreen.
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) • May cause allergic reactions, disrupt the endocrine system, and has been shown to block testosterone in cellular studies.
Ethylhexyl Triazone • May cause skin rash or dermatitis for those with sensitive skin.
Homosalate • Acts as an endocrine disruptor and may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body.
Octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) • Has been found to mimic oestrogen and block thyroid functions; can also cause allergic reactions.
Octisalate (Ethylhexyl Salicylate) • Affects the endocrine system, weakly binding to the oestrogen receptor; has also been linked to allergic contact dermatitis.
Octocrylene • Breaks down into benzophenone, which is a mutagen (causes mutations in our DNA), a carcinogen (cancer-causing), and an endocrine disruptor (interferes with gland function and reproduction). DNA changes caused by mutagens may harm cells and cause certain diseases, such as cancer.
Oxybenzone • Behaves like an endocrine disruptor and potentially of greater harm to children; may increase the risk of breast cancer and endometriosis.
Downs C, Kramarsky-Winter E, Segal R, et al. Toxicopathological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), on coral planulae and cultured primary cells and its environmental contamination in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2016;70(2):265-28
Downs C. A, DiNardo J.C, Stien D, Rodrigues A, and Lebaron P, Benzophenone Accumulates over Time from the Degradation of Octocrylene in Commercial Sunscreen Products, Chemical Research in Toxicology 2021 34 (4), 1046-1054, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.0c00461
Ghazipura M, McGowan R, Arslan A, Hossain T. Exposure to benzophenone-3 and reproductive toxicity: a systematic review of human and animal studies. Reprod Toxicol2017;73:175-183.
Huo W, Cai P, Chen M, et al. The relationship between prenatal exposure to BP-3 and Hirschsprung’s disease. Chemosphere 2016;144:1091-1097.
Joanna A. Ruszkiewicz, Adi Pinkas, Beatriz Ferrer, Tanara V. Peres, Aristides Tsatsakis, Michael Aschner, Neurotoxic effect of active ingredients in sunscreen products, a contemporary review, Toxicology Reports, Volume 4, 2017, Pages 245-259, ISSN 2214-7500, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2017.05.006. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214750017300288)
Kunisue T, Chen Z, Buck Louis G, et al. Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type UV filters in women and their association with endometriosis. Environ Sci Tchnol 2012; 46(8):4624-4632.
Louis G, Chen Z, Kim S, et al. Urinary concentrations of benzophenone-type ultraviolet light filters and semen quality. Fertil Steril 2015;104(4):989-996.
Matta M, Zusterzeel R, Pilli NR, et al. Effect of sunscreen application under maximal use conditions on plasma concentration of sunscreen active ingredients: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2019; 321(21):2082-2091.
Schlumpf M, Kypke K, Vokt C, et al. Endocrine active UV filters: developmental toxicity and exposure through breast milk. CHIMIA 2008;62(5):345-351.
Your Health, Your Choice!