A Sephora Addict Goes Clean - Part 5

You can read part 4 of this series of blogs here.

What About Sunscreen?

According to the Environmental Working Group, 73% of sunscreens contain troublesome ingredients or sell formula’s that do not meet the SPF claims on their labels, whether they contain too little of the active ingredients and/or contain ingredients that break down and become inactive in sunlight. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that ingredients in chemical sunscreens, specifically oxybenzone, might be dangerous to wildlife, marine environments and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs. Up to 14,000 tons of sunscreens end up in coral reefs every year (CBS, 2017), oxybenzone is found in 56% of beach and sport sunscreens, triggering an ordinarily dormant virus in their symbiotic algae, rapidly bleaching corals.

Chemical vs Natural Sunscreen

Chemical filters work by penetrating into your bloodstream. This prevents sunburn, but does not defend against the ageing effects of UVA rays. Moreover, they have hormone-disruptive and carcinogenic effects (Environmental Working Group).

Natural sunscreen works by remaining on the skin’s surface (rather than absorbing into the blood stream), where they remain stable and there is no evidence to suggest they cause any hormonal disturbances.

Zinc Oxide provides extensive protection against UVA and UVB rays (source).

Titanium Dioxide provides partial protection against UVA rays, and extensive protection against UVB rays (source)

Look for products that only contain zinc oxide, as it is the only one that offers complete protection against UVA and UVB rays. For every 1% Zinc Oxide you get 1.6 SPF units (Dr Denis Dudley).

  • Less than 15% Zinc Oxide is SPF 24 or less
  • 15-20% Zinc Oxide is SPF 24 to 32
  • More than 20% Zinc Oxide is at least SPF 32
  • If you see a figure between 15 and 20% Zinc Oxide, it should also contain another sunscreen filter - either titanium dioxide or the encapsulated oxtinoxate (in at least a 7.5% concentration). For every 1% of titanium dioxide gives you 2.6 SPF units)
  • Some sunscreens contain polyunsaturated oils that are unstable in nature. E.g. Almond oil, Canola oil etc (source)
  • To check whether an oil is polyunsaturated, you can google the oil name + “fatty acid profile”. Any oil that is more than 10-15% polyunsaturated should not be in the first 5-10 ingredients in the product. When UV light interacts with these types of oils, it can cause pigmentation, premature ageing and cellular damaged.
  • Check for silicones. They form a surface film on your skin which can trap debris in the pores that can breakout your skin, especially whilst sweating.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen is a water-resistant sunscreen, and perfect if you do lots of outdoor activities but want a natural, silicone-free product.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturiser could also replace a daily face cream. While it is creamy and hydrating, it is okay for acne-prone skin, too, because it is oil-free and unlikely to clog pores. However it can leave skin shiny, but this is remedied by powdering it down.

Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face is recommended for oily and acne-prone skin. Although a white lotion, it blends out clear, sinks in fast and lightweight to wear. However, this one is prone to balling up if you wear it over a moisturiser or serum. Try layering a couple drops of face oil underneath it instead.

This is the final post in the series. Below are the links to the previous blogs in this series.

Part 1 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean

Part 2 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean

Part 3 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean

Part 4 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean