WHY WE SHOULD AVOID CHEMICAL FILTERS IN SUNSCREENS

This topic comes up time and time again and it is time to take note of what is in your sun protection products.  To often, people tell me they reach for the cheaper version in the supermarket or local pharmacy but yet come to me with skin sensitivity, irritation and other skin related issues regarding chemical related sunscreens.  If you are a believer in not paying that little extra for better quality ingredients then let me be the first to share with you interesting facts about Chemical versus Physical Sun filters.

Various studies have been carried out in the last decade by (EWG Environmental Working Group, 2015) examining the potential health hazards of small molecule sunscreen chemicals, including skin irritation or allergy, hormone disruption and skin damage that occurs when sunlight interacts with sunscreen chemicals .  Why do we reach for the lesser over the counter product.  This could be a budget issue or simply a case of been ill-informed or caught up with marketing and advertisements, which is often the case.  I’m a big believer in buying quality versus quantity and in my opinion with quality you use less and with quantity you tend to use more, so on that note its best to go with a product that may cost a little more and benefit your skin and overall health in the process.  As a skin specialist I encounter daily skin issues, particularly sensitivity and with one look I can almost be certain that the application of chemical ingredients are been applied.  Today with so much information available online we are more informed and there are no excuses for applying such harsh chemicals to our largest and most wonderful organ.- Skin

DIFFERENCE IN A CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN

Sunscreens filters fall into two classes

  • Chemical
  • Physical

Chemical filters are made up of small particles that penetrate the skin absorbing most UVA radiation that is then converted into heat energy. Examples include Oxybenzone,  Octinoxate, Octocrylene and Homosalate. These ideally would require reapplication every two hours due to chemical filters eroding much quicker than physical filters.

Physical filters on the other hand are the most stable and contain larger molecules mainly Zinc and Titanium dioxide that sit safely on the outer layers of the skin and scatter UVA radiation as opposed to absorbing them.  These cause longer lasting protection and are normally applied less often.

LETS TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT CHEMICAL CONTENT
Most of these chemicals are known or suspected hormone disruptors allergen and carcinogens and absorb UVA light….this is not what we want for our own skin nor our children.

Oxybenzone, a high hazard rating of 8/10 by the Environmental Working Group.  It can penetrate the skin and has been found in breast milk.   It is associated with skin allergies and is a known to be a hormone disruptor and an emerging marine contaminant.  Octinoxate,  also known as Octyl `methoxycinnamate (OMC) and has been given a hazard score of 6 by the EWG due to high concerns of biochemical or cellular level changes and endocrine disruption.  It can be absorbed quickly into the blood steam and has been found in urine, blood and breast milk.  Octocrylene, although an organic compound can penetrate into the skin where it acts as a photo sensitiser resulting in an increased production of free radicals that causes DNA damage amongst many other issues.  Homosalate, also known as Homomenthyl salicylate, HMS, HS; 3,3,5-trimethyl-cyclohexyl-salicylate.  It is a potential endocrine disruptor and studies in cells suggest it may impact hormones. In addition to direct health concerns following homosalate exposure, the chemical may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body.

CONCLUSION

In my opinion quality is better than quantity when it comes to topical applications of products.  There can only be one winner in this race and that is Physical filters, these are the way forward and there should be no need for product houses to add Chemical filters at all apart from cheapening the product.  It has been reported that changes in the chemical composition that occur releases free radicals that can cause cancer and premature ageing.  When choosing sunscreen filters look out for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as they are photostable and have no skin absorption and have an excellent safety record.  So the choice we have is chemical versus physical and only we can choose.  Point to ponder – children’s skin is so fragile and most of the damage is caused away back then, so choose wisely and protect you and your children’s skin in the most natural way possible to avoid damage to our wonderful organ – Skin

WHAT WE USE AND RECOMMEND

  • Prevention Daily 30

This lightweight formula doubles up as a daily moisturiser with a blend of antioxidants and built in broad spectrum UVA/UVB high sun protection that provides an even skin tone and healthy glow.  A lightweight sheer formula that absorbs quickly without any residue.  Highly recommend to use as a daily moisturiser every morning and can be used on holiday.

  • Broad Spectrum SPF 40

This silky sheer broad spectrum with an SPF 40 provides powerful protection and contains added powerful antioxidants that blends evenly on the skin.  It comes in different tints to suit your skin type.  Highly recommend to use as a daily moisturiser and also can be used on holiday.

 

Sophia