4 Tips on Finding the Best SPF This Summer
After the recent study was released from Valisure, it's come to consumers' attention that benzene may be in their sunscreen... even if it's not an ingredient listed in the ingredients. How? Sounds like some batches were "contaminated." The findings were a little worrisome due to that residual benzene being found in reputable sunscreen brand products, cue in Elta MD.
Tip 1: avoid benzene
"78 sunscreen and after-sun care products contained benzene, an industrial chemical known to cause cancer and other potentially serious health risks." - Valisure
The reason benzene is so worrisome is because it is a known carcinogen. As a day to day goal, we want to limit the amount of carcinogens we expose our body to for obvious reasons (too much could lead to cancer.) We're left with a pretty shitty choice. Get sunburned or suffer sun damage or use a product with a known carcinogen. Thanks a lot FDA.
Cue in the mineral sunscreen
The Washington Post wrote about this recently and said:
"Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body. ... Physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun's rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks."
Tip 2: use a mineral sunscreen
Luckily we now have an option to pick between chemical and mineral based sunscreens now, which is why I am 100% mineral based moving forward. The chemicals do not need to be absorbing into my skin, but the minerals are okay (in my mind.)
Tip 3: find the highest % of Zinc Oxide in SPF
The higher the percentage of zinc oxide in your mineral sunscreen, the higher the SPF will be so if it's 20% zinc oxide, you're likely getting the highest level of known mineral sunscreen at this moment in time. However if you have lower levels of zinc oxide, your SPF is likely going to be a little lower.
Usually mineral sunscreen will be a mix of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The reason they are mixed together is to get the formula to a higher SPF level with a cost effective approach. Also pure 20% zinc oxide (no titanium dioxide) mineral sunscreen is more expensive to make than an 11% zinc oxide mixed with titanium dioxide, even if they have the same SPF 30 rating for example. Having a pure zinc oxide formulation takes more formulation, and there are a few pure zinc oxide options in my favorite sunscreens below.
Tip 4: find SPF with Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
What does Non-Nano Mean?
Babo Botanicals explains what non nano means, which is common in higher quality mineral based sunscreens.
Nano comes from the Greek word “nanos” and means “dwarf.” The term “non-nano” refers to nanometers.
One nanometre is one-billionth of a meter, meaning a nanoparticle is a particle smaller than 100 nanometers. Therefore, a non-nano particle is larger than 100 nanometers.
Let’s put this into really simple terms: a nanoparticle is super small. Non-nano refers to particles that aren’t so tiny. And, it turns out, non-nano is what you want when it comes to mineral sunscreen.
The concern with these super-small nanoparticles is that they can find their way into your body by penetrating your skin and getting into your bloodstream. And while a nanoparticle will enter your bloodstream, a non-nano particle won’t. For that reason, non-nano is considered safer.