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Sunscreen Types and Effective Sun Protection

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The topic of sunscreen is well circulated throughout the beauty industry and consumers in general.  Finding ways to enjoy the sun but still balance vitamin D levels is a hot topic, as is keeping safe and protected from the chemicals that are used in many sunscreens on the market.

Believe it or not, many people choose to go without sunscreen due to concerns about the potential negative health impact some chemical sunscreen ingredients contain. They are also worried about becoming deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a nutrient that has received a lot of attention in the media over the last few years because of the vast amount of research being undertaken on it. Too little sun, or too much blocking of UVB in sunscreen may contribute to a deficiency in Vitamin D. Why is Vitamin D so important? Vitamin D is essential for helping to maintain healthy bones, a well functioning immune system, modulating cell growth, reducing inflammatory pathways, and for brain development in children.

Consumer trends show that the demand for natural or organic skin care products is growing and that includes sunscreens. Up until recently, the only natural/organic sunscreen alternatives were pasty, sticky, left a white residue that stained clothing, and wasn’t water resistant amongst other non-user-friendly things.

Fortunately effective high quality and truly natural sunscreen and skin care products are becoming available and that means the expectations of savvy experienced users of high-end skincare can be met.

Many ingredients used in skin care are derived from petrochemicals, and considering how unknown the impact of many chemicals are to many consumers, having a natural sunscreen is essential because of the frequency of application and use over large areas of the body.

Some examples of the chemical filters used in many sun screens are:

Oxybenzone:
This substance can act like the hormone oestrogen in the body. It can alter sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women. It can also cause irritation to the skin.

Octinoxate:
This substance also has hormone like activity – impacting on thyroid and reproductive systems, and altering behaviour in animal studies.

Both these substances have been detected in breast milk of women, indicating that the developing foetus has experienced exposure.

Mineral filters such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide can be used as safe alternatives for protecting the user from UV rays, and as well as showing no evidence of hormone disruption.

To be successful in producing sunscreen that doesn’t have the myriad of problems mentioned previously, it takes a formulator who really wants to create a high-end product. In order to create a non-sticky/pasty or ghost-like effect on the skin, it is essential to incorporate high quality raw ingredients. Interestingly, a zinc oxide that is going to mix well (that is not nano) costs six times more than the average cosmetic grade zinc oxide, a cost that many manufacturers aren’t willing to meet.

Mineral filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide act differently to chemical filters in that they reflect or scatter the UV rays rather than absorbing them and releasing them as heat.

The mineral filters are well known broad spectrum sunscreens due to the fact that they block both UVA & UVB rays, unlike chemical filters which mainly block UVB rays. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is only measuring the way that sunscreen protects against the UVB rays that causes sunburn. UVA rays can cause damage that leads to premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots.

The rates of skin cancer in Australia and New Zealand are amongst the highest in the world, something we in the industry should be actively changing by helping our clients to change their habits. If clients are not using sunscreen, educating them about the amount of damage that is happening within their dermis is essential, as well as looking at options for sunscreen that will meet all their needs.

Avoiding sunscreen is not an option in this part of the world, but looking at ways of protecting our health of our clients with products that doesn’t cause harm is essential and creates good will and loyalty.

Click here to learn more about the PROTECT™ line.

 

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