Most of us are aware that too much sun can cause cancer, premature aging, and damage to the eyes. But many of us have no idea that many sunscreens do not provide effective protection and may contain hazardous active and inactive ingredients.
Here are five common misconceptions about sunscreens:
Just because it states a specific SPF, don’t assume it meets its SPF Claim
There are four key techniques used to measure the degree of protection a sunscreen offers from UV rays. Sunburn protection ratings are based on testing human volunteers, and are not always repeatable from laboratory to laboratory. SPF is tested using an unrealistically thick coat of sunscreen, far more than people use in the real world.
The test requirements for sunscreen specify application of an unrealistically thick coating of sunscreen to the skin surface or test slide. This would be the equivalent of a family of four using a four-ounce bottle of sunscreen for a two-hour visit to the beach. In reality, people apply far less sunscreen to their skin and do not reapply it often enough to achieve the advertised SPF. UV protection does not follow a linear relationship, meaning that if you apply half of the recommended amount you get less than half of the labeled SPF protection. Under-application of sunscreen results in far less sunburn protection and UVA protection. A thinner coating of sunscreen diminishes UVA protection slightly more than UVB protection.
Just because it states broad spectrum, don’t assume it offers sufficient UVA Protection
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.
Modeling, to estimate UV protection based on the concentrations of active ingredients on a product label. Modeling generally correlates well with laboratory measurements and allows us to look broadly at sunscreen performance across the U.S. market.
Many mineral sunscreens do not provide effective UVA and UVB protection due to low concentrations of active ingredients. 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.
Just because it states natural on the label, don’t’ assume a sunscreen is an all mineral (physical) formula
Don't make assumptions from the packaging alone. A sunscreen may look like it should be mineral (physical), based on the name and the fact that the brand does sell other non-chemical sunscreens. But it may contain one or more chemical filters than most (homosalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate and avobenzone So you always have to inspect the ingredients.
Her are the most common chemical and physical filters below:
- 4-Aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
- Diethanolamine methoxycinnamate
- Drometrizole trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL)
- Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX)
- Octinoxate (non-encapsulated)
- Padimate O
- Triethanolamine salicylate
Mineral (Physical) Filters
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium dioxide
Just because it states “reef safe” on the label, does not make it a reef safe sunscreen
The majority of the sunscreens contain chemical filters and inactive ingredients that are hazardous to humans and the environment. At present, many of these chemical ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate are being banned by states like Hawaii and cities like Key West, Florida.
The reason? 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.
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".
Just because it’s an all mineral formula, don’t’ assume it contains all-natural ingredients
A sunscreen may have natural active mineral active ingredients and it may also contain synthetic and/or natural inactive ingredients.
Silicones form a surface film that can trap debris in the pores, which can lead to breakouts (among other skin issues). I think they're especially problematic in products you wear while sweating!
Here are some of the silicone names you may see on ingredients lists:
At Love Sun Body, we developed revolutionary sunscreens, Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens. Love Sun Body sunscreens are the first and only sunscreens in the United States that have been certified by Ecocert Cosmos Natural.
COSMOS stands for "COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard", which sets certification requirements for organic and natural cosmetics products in the Europe. The standard is recognized globally by the cosmetic industry.
The Cosmos standard is the global certification for natural and organic cosmetics. These standards are used by over 1600 companies manufacturing and selling over 25,000 products in more than 45 countries worldwide – some 85% of the certified cosmetics market. COSMOS-certified products are produced to the highest standards for organic and natural cosmetics, and are safe, effective and good to use.
- No animal testing
- No GMO ingredients
- No controversial chemicals
- No parabens and phthalates
- No synthetic colors, dyes or fragrances
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Mineral Sunscreens have been clinically tested hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and are reef safe. Love Sun Body formulas offer truly effective sunscreens, meeting and exceeding the regulatory requirements of the FDA OTC Monograph System, the European Commission’s recommendation on UVA protection and Health Canada Natural Health Products Regulations. Love Sun Body 100% Natural 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 titanium dioxide and plant-based moisturizers.
Love Sun Body was given the best score for safety and efficacy by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Love Sun Body sunscreen formulas are certified PETA Cruelty Free and Vegan with no eye stinging ingredients.