Founder of Greenify Organics.
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What Are Natural (Mineral-Based) Sunscreens?
The short answer is that they use naturally sourced sunscreens, instead of synthetic chemicals. Rather than chemicals such as Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, they’ll use zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or another natural sunscreen. Natural brands also tend to avoid parabens, phthalates, and other harsh preservatives.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding ingredients such as Oxybenzone, which is a known-allergen and may affect hormone levels. Octinoxate is also an endocrine disruptor and is believed to have other potentially unpleasant side effects. These types of synthetic ingredients are easily absorbed and can make their way into breast milk. So you might want to go natural if you have sensitive skin, are pregnant, or are buying sunscreen for babies or children.
What Are Chemical Sunscreens?
Chemical sunscreens are sunscreens that contain compounds like Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, and Avobenzone. These compounds work to protect the skin by absorbing into the skin and creating a chemical reaction that absorbs UV rays keeping them from ever penetrating the skin.
However, because chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin they also pass into the bloodstream and can make their way into other body fluids like breast milk, making chemical sunscreens potentially hazardous especially for breastfeeding women.
What Are The Pros & Cons of Chemical Sunscreens vs Mineral Sunscreens?
Pros of Chemical Sunscreen
- Easier to rub into the skin and is usually invisible once applied.
Cons of Chemical Sunscreen
- Endocrine and hormone-disrupting qualities.
- Found to irritate the skin in those with sensitive skin and children.
- Chemical blockers have been linked to coral bleaching, which has had an impact on marine life.
- Some chemical blockers have been shown to increase the risk of free radicals and cause photosensitization.
Pros of Natural & Mineral-Based Sunscreen
- Immediately protect the skin from the sun and do not require any wait time after application.
- Ingredients are safe for our skin and do not cause damage to the environment.
- Physical sunscreens naturally block both UVA and UVB rays meaning that they are always a broad-spectrum sunscreen and will protect your skin from both kinds of harmful rays.
- Better for sensitive skin and acne-prone skin as the ingredients using in physical sunscreens are less likely to irritate the skin or clog pores.
Cons of Natural & Mineral-Based Sunscreen
- Tend to be more difficult to rub into the skin when compared to chemical sunscreens and can leave a whitish color on the skin
- Need to be reapplied frequently and can be rubbed off more easily when doing activities or swimming.
In our next article you will find out about the common sunscreen ingredients you would better avoid, to stay on the safe side.