Sunscreen protects our skin from the sun, reducing our chances of sunburn, skin cancer, and wrinkles.
A key element of sunscreen is SPF - Sun Protection Factor. This is how we measure the level of protection from the sun’s UVB rays. For example, SPF 30 blocks 97% of the UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98%. It’s important for all skin types to be protected from both the UVB and UVA rays of the sun, in order to help our skin stay healthy.
Who should use
Everyone should use sunscreen. This includes children over 6 months old. Sunscreen should also be used daily, since skin damage by the sun is something that happens over the course of our lives, and can harm our skin even if we do not burn.
Do you need water
Yes, dermatologists recommend that you apply water resistant sunscreen. It’s important to note that waterproof sunscreen does not exist - Water resistant, however, tells you how long the sunscreen will stay on wet (and therefore, how often you should reapply).
How does sunscreen
Sunscreens can either have chemical-based ingredients or mineral (physical) ingredients.
While both can filter out the sun’s harmful rays, they do so differently. Chemical-based
ingredients work by sinking into the top layer of your skin and absorbing the UV radiation
before it damages your skin cells.
Rather than going into your skin, mineral-based sunscreen creates a barrier on top of your skin that keeps the UV rays off by reflecting it.
Benefits of Sunscreen:
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the benefits of wearing sunscreen include:
- Decreases our risk of skin cancers and skin precancers. In fact, regular daily use of SPF 15 can lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.
- Prevents premature skin aging, including wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
- Reduces our change of sunburn
- Protects our skin
But sunscreen and its various advantages to our health is not a new concept. It first came around in the 1930’s, when Australian chemist H.A. Milton Blake created sunscreen to protect his skin from sunburn. The idea of SPF was later developed by Franz Greiter, a Swiss chemistry student. In fact, his original sunscreen SPF was only a 2, offering much less protection than we can receive today in sunscreen products.
Over the next 40 years, sunscreen would continue to evolve as more and more people around the world realized its benefits. The U.S. military even used a thick substance mixed with cocoa butter and coconut oil during World War II, created by American pharmacist Benjamin Green.
By the 1960’s and 70’s, tanning had become increasingly popular and therefore, concern from scientists over protecting the skin. Scientific research began to show that the sun’s UVB and UVA rays were dangerous and posed many threats to our skin health. It’s during this period that sunscreens began to contain filtering agents to reduce UVB and UVA exposure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed that sunscreen should be regulated in 1978, but it wasn’t until more than 30 years later
in 2011 when new rules were created that required sunscreen products to protect against both UVA and UVB (making them “broad spectrum”).
Sunscreen has come a long way since it was first created. Today, we have a variety of SPF options, as well as creams and sprays. The ingredients of modern day sunscreens also seem to be endless - So how do we know which ingredients are the best for our skin and which are harmful?
Below are a list of sunscreen ingredients you should always try to avoid, and a list of natural ingredients that are good for the skin while offering protection. Because after all, what good is sunscreen at protecting you if the chemicals within the product are actually harming your skin?
Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid
The below sunscreen ingredients have the potential to cause serious health issues and should be avoided. They are each absorbed into the skin when applied.
This organic compound found in plastic toys is known to cause allergic skin reactions. Studies also show that it can interfere with how our hormones work, according to the American Cancer Society. Oxybenzone has even been found in breast milk, urine and plasma.
Octinoxate is a chemical made by combining alcohol and organic acid (specifically methoxycinnamic acid and 2-ethylhexanol). Aside from these ingredients used to make it, the worrisome part about octinoxate is animal studies have concluded it can cause reproductive issues and change the size of a uterus, as well as other internal issues.
This fast-absorbing organic compound, belonging to chemicals known as salicylates, penetrates our skin quickly. The issue is that it accumulates faster than our bodies can get rid of it. This can potentially become toxic to our hormones and overall health.
How Can Harmful Ingredients Harm You?
Sunscreens that penetrate the skin, such as the ones mentioned above, have numerous potential health risks, including:
- Negatively affecting our hormones
- Causing allergic skin reactions
- Harming our metabolic system and thyroid production
- Being found in breast milk, which could then be passed onto infants
- Reducing pregnancy time and forcing early childbirth
- Causing birth defects
The full scope of potential health issues that can be caused by these harmful ingredients is still being studied.
Safer Sunscreen Ingredients
Mineral (physical) sunscreen ingredients such as the ones below, protect your skin from UV rays, but do not penetrate your skin. Instead, they block and scatter the rays from entering into your system. The FDA has even said that of the 16 active ingredients commonly found in commercial sunscreens, only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are generally recognized as safe and effective.
A mineral ingredient, titanium dioxide particles are non-nano and occur naturally in the earth’s crust. It has been known to effectively block and protect our skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
Zinc oxide is a naturally occurring compound that contains one zinc atom and one oxygen atom. This mineral ingredient is considered a photostable, which means it resists change in the presence of light. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide are an effective choice for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin.
Organic Sunscreen Ingredients
Butterbean Organics strives to make products that are safe for every customer. By packing our products with nutrients and antioxidants instead of harsh chemicals, including our SPF 30 sunscreen, we are able to provide customers with clean, skin-nourishing items that are perfect for anyone. The natural and botanical ingredients that make up our product line provide a pleasant, uplifting smell that any person would prefer over supermarket products.
Our organic skincare products are FDA compliant and have been tested on human subjects with FDA-approved laboratory procedures.
At Butterbean Organics, our
natural ingredients include:
Sunflower Seed Oil
(plant-derived and non-toxic, it’s used to stabilize our sunscreen and create a smooth even coverage)
Our sunscreen and skin care products are:
- Made with certified organic ingredients
- Water and sweat resistant (up to 80 minutes)
- Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection
- Uncoated pure zinc oxide
- Cruelty-free, reef safe, biodegradable
- Top-rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
By infusing all of our products with nutrients and antioxidants that naturally provide protection to the customer, we are able to avoid hazardous chemicals that many other skin brands tend to use. Butterbean Organics is dedicated to providing chemical-free and effective products in a way that provides benefit to both the people that use them and the environment that they are used in. We take skincare beyond the product, reconnecting customers with nature through Organic ingredients that can not be replicated in a lab.Shop Our Organic Skincare Line
How to Choose the Best Sunscreen Based on Ingredients
When it comes to choosing the safest and best sunscreen, look for natural ingredients and ones that shield your skin from UV rays, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Avoid ingredients that are absorbed like a sponge into the skin (including oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate), as this is when sunscreen can cause significant harm to our health. Additionally, look for sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and is water resistant.
The risk of skin cancer from UV rays doesn’t mean we should avoid the outdoors altogether. It does however mean we need to be smart about the sunscreen ingredients we are putting onto our bodies. Plus, when we use organic, toxic-free ingredients, we can relax and have more fun in the sun.