The real dirt on mineral sunscreens


I was happy to jump on the healthy living bandwagon long before it became trendy. The more popular the green lifestyle becomes, the more products that become available for every part of my life. I think it is truly amazing to walk into almost any store these days and find organic or alternative items on store shelves.

Now about sunscreen. There are chemical sunscreens and there are mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are said to be better for your skin because your epidermis is not absorbing chemicals in the cream to block UVA and UVB rays (read more about the dangers of chemical sunscreens and the possibility that they may cause cancer rather than prevent it, here). Instead a mineral such as titanium dioxide is in the cream and physically blocks the UVA and UVB rays from getting to your skin. And when reading a few things while writing this post, I also read that the jury is out on titanium dioxide and its long term safety on our skin, too. Great.

Last year I grabbed two bottles of Alba Botanica’s SUN mineral sunscreens, one for face and one for everywhere else. I liked that it was even scented – yummy aloe vanilla. I don’t consider myself too fixed on appearances, but I admit, I had trouble walking around with a white sheen all over. I am in and out of my car most days, touring property for sale or rent for my work, and being of Swedish descent from way back, I have already been sunburned this season. So I am back to trying to find a healthful solution for my skin that doesn’t make me look like a pasty freak (my skin naturally has two colors – white and red. Putting on a layer of titanium dioxide was just scary looking). Most products claim to not leave a white residue – I only tried one and it did – maybe I just need to try more.

body&soul; magazine just put out a review of different healthful sunscreens. Of course, I know from personal experience that I may have to look at some alternatives to physical sunscreens. But I am trying to avoid chemical ones, too. If I ever find something I like and can live with, I will let you know! I may just have to try the Sport SPF 45 Unscented by Coola mentioned in the review – altho I prefer something that smells yummy! If you have a suggestion for one that you love, post a comment!

Read more about it : Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens

From The World of Skin Care

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens
Chemical Sunscreens are synthetic chemical substances with the following properties:
~ they are powerful absorbers of UV radiation
~ when they absorb radiation they remain relatively effective

These sun filters are formulated with other compounds in order to obtain highly effective products with protection factors varying from 4 to 30. Importantly, they often have to be reapplied quite frequently. For many people, however, the advantages of chemical sunscreens outweigh the disadvantages. With all products it is advisable to read the label, to check that the product blocks both UVB and UVA radiation.

Physical sunscreens contain inert mineral particles that reflect UV rays like a mirror. The most common type used is ultrafine titanium dioxide (TiO²), made up of minute particles only 20-30 mm³ in size.

These products have advantages over chemical sunscreens in that they are inert substances that do not break down over time. They are far less liable to cause skin irritation, since they are in the form of insoluble particles that are not absorbed through the skin. Because of the small size of the particles, modern physical sunscreens reflect radiation in the UVB and short UVA regions better than earlier products did. Also, whereas their predecessors left a slight residue on the skin that looked like a trace of make-up base, which some people found unattractive, today’s products have better transparency and avoid this problem.

There are formulations for use on the face and lips, and special preparations that can be used by small children. All should be reapplied after sweating or swimming, even if the product claims to be waterproof and rub-proof, or to offer ‘all-day protection’. Ideally, whichever sunscreen you choose, make sure that it blocks both UVB and UVA and has a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 15.

Slip, slap, slop
In Australia the Government and
doctors led a public information program to reduce the effects of sun damage.
They used the slogan ‘Slip, slap, slop':

Slip on a tee-shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sun cream.

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