Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound.
“100% Mineral” may sound safe. It is a marketing term placed on sunscreens to inform the consumer that the sunscreen contains only mineral filters, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both, without chemical UV filters.
But sunscreen contains two types of ingredients. Active ingredients, as listed above may be chemical or mineral. The UV filter or filters may be mineral, but this does not imply:
- The formulas contain adequate concentrations of the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide
- The mineral or minerals are reef safe
- The inactive ingredients are natural, safe or non-allergenic
Low Concentrations of Mineral Ingredients do not Provide Effective UVA and UVB Protection
It is important for sunscreens to contain adequate concentrations of the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. An issue that was illuminated as the EWG researched its 2017 guide, is growing SPF values with mineral sunscreens and very low concentrations of active ingredients in many of them.
The majority of mineral sunscreens do not provide effective UVA and UVB protection due to low concentrations of active ingredients.
Recommendations for high concentrations of zinc oxide in a product are growing, ranging from over 15 percent to 20 percent.
Less Than 15% Zinc Oxide
15-20% Zinc Oxide
More Than 20% Zinc Oxide
SPF 24 or less
SPF 24 to 32
At least SPF 32
It is best to avoid any sunscreens that are less than 20 percent zinc oxide. At low concentrations, the UVA protection is insufficient. A 15 percent zinc oxide formula is only about SPF 24, ideally, we want a minimum of SPF 30. For every one percent of zinc oxide, you get 1.6 SPF units. Every one percent of titanium dioxide gives you 2.6 SPF units. You want a zinc-dominant sunscreen to protect from UVA.
In the nations regulated by the European Commission, manufacturers voluntarily comply with a recommendation that broad spectrum protection by the ratio of UVA to UVB protection, requiring one third of the SPF number to be UVA protection. This provides a significantly greater amount of UVA protection than many American sunscreens, ensuring adequate UVA protection.
Not Reef Safe
Two chemical UV filters in sunscreen, oxybenzone and octinoxate are destroying the oceans around the world, according to scientists whose research has shown that the chemicals break down coral by leaching it of nutrients and disrupt the development of fish and marine life, like sea urchins and algae. Coral reject symbiotic organisms and lose their color. Currently, somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters coral reef areas around the world each year, according to the U.S. National Park Service. That is a lot of sunscreen considering how little it takes to cause toxic effects.
But given the evidence, there has been a push in recent years for “reef-friendly” alternatives. While these options, typically in the form of mineral sunscreens, have been considered safer, more environmentally friendly in the media, some new research has suggested that is not the case.
Since 2009, according to marine ecology researcher Cinzia Corinaldesi who has studied the impact of sunscreens on coral reefs since 2003, has been putting these “reef-friendly” ingredients to the test. She has proved, along with other researchers, that some mineral sunscreens and those marketed as “eco-friendly” are no safer for coral reefs than chemical ones.
Confirming previous research, Corinaldesi and her team found in a newly published study, Impact of inorganic UV filters contained in sunscreen products on tropical stony corals which demonstrates that zinc oxide causes severe coral bleaching, damaging hard corals and their symbiotic algae. “Our studies indicate that zinc oxide nanoparticles are very harmful for marine organisms, whereas titanium dioxide with surface coatings and metal doping, have a much lower impact,” she says. “Unfortunately, despite several cosmetic products and sunscreens available in the market are defined ‘reef-safe’ or ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘biodegradable,’ they are not so, and indeed lack specific tests on marine organisms.”
What is Reef Safe?
Non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide are the only coral-safe sunscreen filters and they are safe and effective in blocking UV rays. Sunscreens formulated with non-nano particles will clearly state "non-nano zinc oxide and/or non-nano titanium dioxide on the products active ingredient list".
Synthetic chemicals are more toxic than natural chemicals. This definition means a synthetic chemical can be made from a natural product (i.e. naturally derived). Note that in the food industry, “artificial” is used instead of “synthetic”.
Skin Specialists Suggest that patients who suffer from certain skin conditions, prone to acne or oily skin and pregnant women avoid using products containing silicone and dimethicone.
Also known as polymethylsiloxane, dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer that is being largely used in the manufacturing of cosmetic products of all types for about 60 years now. Dimethicone belongs to a group of polymeric organosilicon compounds that are usually addressed to as silicones. According to a white paper released by Dow Corning, about half of personal care products released in 2015 contained at least one silicone derivative.
Cosmetic products, such as soaps, lotions, face and eye makeup, fragrances, etc. and sunscreens can provoke allergic reactions in some people. Many people suffer from allergies and anyone at any age can develop allergies. Allergic reactions are the immune system’s overreaction to substances that may otherwise be harmless. An allergen can trigger the immune system to release chemical substances such as antibodies that result in allergy symptoms. Many people are familiar with seasonal allergies brought on by pollen from blooming plants, or with food allergies. Allergic reactions most often appear as itchy, red rashes on the skin – or contact dermatitis.
Common Allergens Found in Cosmetic and Sunscreen Products
The FDA has compiled the list below of common allergens found in some cosmetic products. These are allergens that cause most allergic reactions from the use of cosmetic products.
Common allergens fall into the five classes: natural rubber, fragrances, preservatives, dyes, and metals.
Certified 100% Natural
At Love Sun Body, we are united by our sustainability strategy that is built around pillars that put health and a green initiative at the heart of our work, "Safe for your body & the planet".
Each plant and mineral ingredient that we source is certified Cosmos natural. COSMOS was created in 2010 by the five leading organizations, BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert Greenlife, ICEA and Soil Association (both associations and certifiers) to protect and promote organic and natural cosmetics, and to launch a global harmonized standard for the benefit of both manufacturers and consumers.
The Cosmos standard is the global certification for natural and organic cosmetics. The standard divides the type of ingredients used in cosmetic products into five categories and specifies the requirements for each. We source ingredients from manufacturers that start with natural raw ingredients sourced from sustainable practices and use methods that are environmentally sound and good for communities.
All our products are biodegradable, all our packaging is recyclable, minimized and is environmentally friendly. Our manufacturing incorporates natural cleaning ingredients.
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are the first and only sunscreens in the U.S. certified by Ecocert Cosmos Natural and have been clinically tested hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and are reef safe.
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens meet the regulatory requirements of the FDA OTC Monograph System and the European Commission’s recommendation on UVA protection. Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are made with the safest UVA and UVB filters - SPF 30 formulas non-nano zinc oxide and SPF 50 formulas non-nano zinc oxide and non-nano titanium dioxide and plant-based moisturizers.