Why Mineral Sunscreen Is Safer for Us and the Planet


mineral sunscreen ingredients and safety

For those who’ve been studying Wellness Mama for some time, you most likely know that I don’t put on sunscreen commonly. For one cause, I need to get vitamin D naturally (which is vital for really defending towards sunburn and pores and skin most cancers). Additionally, I want optimizing my natural protection by eating foods that help it. I additionally keep away from being within the solar’s rays greater than is important for vitamin D manufacturing and use clothes and hats to guard towards an excessive amount of solar. However there are occasions that sunscreen is vital, like after we go to the seaside. However not all sunscreen is created equal, and a few might trigger extra hurt than good.

What’s the Distinction Between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreen?

There are two fundamental sorts of sunscreen: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreen makes use of chemical compounds to dam UVA and UVB rays, whereas mineral sunscreen makes use of bodily boundaries within the type of minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (these are naturally broad spectrum).

Chemical substances utilized in typical sunscreen embody the next:

  • oxybenzone
  • avobenzone
  • octisalate
  • octocrylene
  • homosalate
  • octinoxate
  • ethylhexyl salicylate

Nevertheless, some mineral sunscreens additionally include chemical sunscreen components, so it’s vital to verify the energetic components.

Risks of Chemical Sunscreens

These chemical sunscreen components aren’t innocent both. They have an effect on the physique and the surroundings in critical methods.

Questionable Substances

Within the 1970s, the FDA grandfathered in lots of sunscreen chemical compounds as a result of they have been already in use. These chemical compounds have by no means been evaluated for security.

In response to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), oxybenzone is essentially the most regarding of the chemical compounds in typical sunscreen. Oxybenzone can simply cross via the pores and skin and into the physique. It was present in 96 p.c of the grownup inhabitants and might trigger allergic reactions, particularly on delicate pores and skin. It was additionally discovered to be a weak estrogen and to have potent anti-androgenic results (block hormones like testosterone).

Due to its connection to adversarial start outcomes and potential hormonal interference, EWG recommends that everybody, particularly pregnant/breastfeeding girls and kids keep away from oxybenzone containing sunscreens.

Along with considerations about oxybenzone, EWG analysis has proven that retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A) can really cause cancer when activated by UV rays on the pores and skin. Satirically, this ingredient is added to some sunscreen merchandise as a result of vitamin A is an antioxidant recognized to assist struggle pores and skin getting older.

You’ll be able to learn the entire EWG guide to sunscreens here.

It’s Unclear Whether or not Sunscreen Actually Prevents Most cancers

Specialists don’t even agree on whether or not sunscreen is useful in stopping pores and skin most cancers. In response to the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management (CDC), pores and skin most cancers charges have doubled within the final 30 years. On the similar time, sunscreen use has solely elevated.

Power sunscreen use can cut back the advantages of solar publicity and doubtlessly enhance pores and skin most cancers threat. A 2004 examine revealed within the Lancet confirmed that indoor employees have been twice as more likely to get pores and skin most cancers than those that spent extra time within the solar. Researchers clarify that there could also be a protecting side of solar publicity.

We all know that low vitamin D ranges have been linked to most cancers in lots of research. So it could make sense that blocking solar publicity (and the vitamin D it creates) might have a unfavorable impact on the physique.

Sunscreen Can Trigger Unsafe Solar Publicity

Yet another concern with sunscreen use is that many chemical sunscreens have excessive SPF scores which can be deceptive to customers, inflicting them to spend an excessive amount of time within the solar. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has talked about banning claims over 50 SPF. That is doubtlessly true for bodily sunscreens as nicely, making the recommendation to remain out the solar and put on garments to cowl the pores and skin crucial.

Environmental Affect

Chemical sunscreen use additionally impacts the surroundings. Folks use sunscreen earlier than swimming and far of it’s washed off into the water.

Oxybenzone may be deadly to child coral and damaging to grownup coral in excessive concentrations, in accordance with a examine revealed within the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

This examine discovered that oxybenzone:

  • contributes to coral bleaching
  • alters coral DNA
  • acts as an endocrine disruptor (inflicting child coral to encase itself in its personal skeleton and die)

Concentrations of oxybenzone as little as 62 elements per trillion brought on damaging results. For perspective, the researchers clarify that that is the equal of 1 drop in 6.5 Olympic swimming swimming pools. Clearly, not a lot sunscreen is required to trigger environmental issues. It’s alarming then that they discovered that in Hawaii and the Caribbean (locations frequented by vacationers), concentrations have been 12 occasions greater!

Moreover, a overview revealed in January 2019 discovered that sunscreen chemical compounds corresponding to oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, and ethylhexyl salicylate are in virtually all water sources all over the world. Researchers clarify that they don’t seem to be simply eliminated by widespread wastewater remedy plant strategies. These chemical compounds have additionally been present in fish all over the world, doubtlessly inflicting issues within the meals chain.

Harms Different Marine Life

Oxybenzone can also be poisonous to algae, sea urchins, fish, and mammals.

In response to MarineSafe.com, oxybenzone can have the next results:

  • Inhibits embryonic growth in sea urchins.
  • Causes gender shifts in fish (male fish tackle feminine traits and feminine fish have lowered capacity to provide offspring).
  • Probably acts as a mutagen and reveals carcinogenic exercise in mammals.

Different components in sunscreens are additionally trigger for concern. Organosilicon compounds like silicon polymers, which can be used as alternate options to grease in business sunscreen are one in every of these components. These can bioaccumulate in fish and different marine life in accordance with a case examine revealed in Environmental Science and Expertise.

Preservatives (like parabens) are one other regarding ingredient. They’re added to cease progress of fungi and micro organism within the product. Unsurprisingly, this ingredient might also disrupt the pure progress of those organisms within the ocean.

How you can Discover the Proper Mineral Sunscreen

As talked about earlier, some mineral sunscreens additionally include chemical sunscreen components. I prefer to make my own sunscreen and sunscreen lotion bars since I do know precisely goes into it. However there are occasions when a store-bought selection is extra sensible.

For those who’re searching for a mineral sunscreen that’s really protected, verify the components. If any of the above chemical compounds are listed, don’t purchase it. Moreover, if it’s made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide ensure that it’s non-nano. Because of this the particles aren’t nano-sized (i.e., capable of penetrate into the physique).

The EWG lists some mineral sunscreens which can be protected (and I’ve tried many of those personally):

Fortunately there are actually so many corporations making protected, pure sunscreen that there are too many manufacturers to listing!

Inner Solar Safety

As I discussed initially of this put up, sunscreen isn’t the end-all be-all to solar safety. Optimizing well being so the physique can defend itself in delicate publicity to the solar is vital. First concentrate on wholesome meals that help pores and skin well being.

  • Vitamin D3 is vital for total well being and rising proof suggests it’s additionally vital for avoiding sunburns.
  • Vitamin C helps defend towards the solar due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Coconut oil is utilized by the physique for brand new pores and skin formation and protects towards burning.
  • Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory fatty acids useful in stopping sunburns.
  • Astaxanthin is a extremely potent antioxidant which analysis exhibits acts as an inside sunscreen. I don’t give this one to the youngsters although.

Additionally, keep away from meals that enhance irritation and will enhance the possibilities of sunburn. These embody processed vegetable oils, processed grains,  and excess sugar.

Solar Safety With out Sunscreen

The very best type of solar safety is avoiding extended occasions in direct daylight. Some solar is okay (and vital) however after getting sufficient solar for vitamin D, cowl up with lengthy sleeves and hats or keep within the shade.

My Tackle Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens that don’t include chemical sunscreens or nano bodily sunscreen components are our greatest wager for sunscreen safety. Nevertheless, it’s at all times vital to take different solar security measures too. Getting sufficient vitamin D and different vital vitamins, staying within the shade, and sporting protecting clothes within the solar are all sun-protection strategies that go with mineral sunscreen.

Do you have a favourite model of mineral sunscreen? Please share beneath!


  1. Ewg. (n.d.). EWG’s 2018 Information to Safer Sunscreens. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
  2. Rivers, J. Ok. (2004, February 28). Is there a couple of highway to melanoma? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15005091
  3. Downs, C. A., Kramarsky-Winter, E., Segal, R., Fauth, J., Knutson, S., Bronstein, O., . . . Loya, Y. (2015, October 20). Toxicopathological Results of the Sunscreen UV Filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-Three), on Coral Planulae and Cultured Major Cells and Its Environmental Contamination in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00244-015-0227-7
  4. Evaluate of environmental results of oxybenzone and different sunscreen energetic components. (2018, November 14). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962218321893
  5. Bioconcentration and Aquatic Toxicity of Superhydrophobic Chemical substances: A Modeling Case Research of Cyclic Unstable Methyl Siloxanes. (n.d.). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/acs.est.5b03195
  6. Sunscreen Air pollution. (2016, Could 03). http://www.marinesafe.org/blog/2016/03/18/sunscreen-pollution/
  7. Ewg. (n.d.). EWG’s 2018 Information to Safer Sunscreens. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/8-little-known-facts-about-sunscreens/

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