Monday, May 19, 2014

Safe Sunscreen: Choose Wisely!

As spring turns to summer, our seasonal display (and the products we make a lot of) changes from spring liver detox to bug spray and sunscreen. As you have come to expect from Boline Apothecary products, our Sunscreen and SPF Cream has been researched and tested thoroughly to find a safe recipe for you and yours.

Many folks turn to large national conglomerates for cosmetics and sunscreens and if you are one of them, you need to know about The Environmental Working Group. They rate cosmetics, body care, and cleaning supplies in a huge database- make sure any product you ingest orally, through the skin, or through the respiratory system has a good rating from the EWG before getting it.

Fo those of you that prefer to shop local, I make an artisinal sunscreen in two formulas: a lotion in a 4 ounce pump bottle (easy to apply!) or a thick cream in a 4 ounce jar (great for noses, tips of ears, and baby skin). I use a deliberately simple formula that is good for the skin and uses minerals, among other things, to provide sun protection.

Facts about sunscreen that you should know

The FDA recently passed new rules about labeling, but these may actually make things worse for consumers. For example, sunscreens can claim “broad spectrum” coverage, even without research.

Sunscreen doesn’t prevent cancer. Most scientists and public health agencies, including the FDA itself, have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer.

Higher SPF doesn’t provide more safety. Sunscreens claiming 50+ do not provide greater protection than a 30 and are much more toxic to you and yours.

Avoid sunscreen containing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, or retinol. These ingredients have been shown in federal studies to speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Not exactly healthy skin care!

Europeans have safer options. Much like food regulation, the European Union is way ahead of the US. They’ve banned over 1300 chemicals, whereas the FDA has only banned 11. European sunscreen offers safer and superior protection.

Some sunscreen ingredients disrupt hormones and can cause skin allergies. In fact, the most popular ingredient in chemical sunscreens, oxybenzone, is a hormone-disrupting chemical. It only blocks UVB anyway. It does not protect against UVA at all! Many sunblocks are petroleum based and have petroleum based fragrances which can cause allergies, among other issues.

Mineral-based sunscreen provides more protection. We need to protect against both UVA and UVB. UVA is complicated, but zinc and titanium offer broad spectrum protection against it. Chemical sunscreens only block a portion of the UVA spectrum. Due to the new FDA rules mentioned above, labels will be very misleading, promising "broad spectrum" where there isn’t any.

Even some mineral-based sunscreens have risks. Most commercial titanium and zinc based sunscreens contain nano particles. We don’t know enough about nano particles, but they can easily enter the body through the skin or lungs.

How do you choose a safe sunscreen?

Look for titanium dioxide and zinc based sunscreens.
Choose non-nano products (the label should say what the nm of the particle is).
Look for unscented or scented only with essential oils.
Choose lotion or cream based sunscreens (not liquids or solids).
Choose broad spectrum that protect against both UVA and UVB.
Make sure the EWG rating is between 0-2.

How does Boline Apothecary make their sunscreen, and how does it compare?

We use non-­nano zinc oxide as the active sunscreen ingredient. It’s the safest, most effective sunscreen filter. This means it is white when you apply it and it gradually turns clear as you rub it in. All safe sunscreens do that. If they don't, they are using something other than minerals to block UVA and UVB and it is not safe.

All of the ingredients in Boline's sunscreen were selected for their safety for you and the environment; we use no harmful chemical sunscreens, no hidden fragrances, or preservatives (as with all our products).

No make no outlandish claims about being waterproof (This is the most common concern I have gotten from the public. Any company that can beat water and sweat is using something fishy. You must reapply a suncreen.)

We formulate our suncreen with a specific percentage of non-nano zinc oxide to make it 30 SPF. We label our sunscreen 30+ SPF because we also use coconut oil and some essential oils that add an unquantifiable amount of additional SPF to the formula as well. Hence, "30 plus": both our formulas are 30 plus!

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