Natural Sunscreens - Do They Work?
Many sunscreens contain harmful ingredients, so consumers are switching to natural (otherwise known as organic) sunscreens. But a number of questions arise when making the switch, primarily, "What Makes a Natural Sunscreen Different?" and "Do Natural Sunscreens Work?"
"What Makes a Natural Sunscreen Different?"
To understand a sunscreen that is natural, we must first define what is a chemical sunscreen. This type of sunscreen contains synthetic chemical substances that serve as filters in order to reduce ultraviolet radiation that penetrates the skin. The ingredients are intended to absorb UVA and UVB rays from the sun, but they can produce free radicals which can cause skin aging and melanoma. Also, many do not do this because the chemicals themselves can break down and become ineffective. Most chemical sunscreens are odorless (unless specifically manufactured with an aroma), are colorless when rubbed in, and they feel light on the skin.
But a natural, or organic, sunscreen (also known as sunblock) do not contain any chemical substances, but alternately use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are mineral, not chemical. These ingredients physically block the sun's rays, and they aren't absorbed into the skin. These types of sunscreen block against both UVA and UVB rays and they do not cause free radicals. Natural sunscreens typically do not cause allergies, but some can apply thicker than chemical sunscreens, and they can leave a whitish tint on the skin.
"Do Natural Sunscreens Work?"
Natural sunscreens protect the skin by deflecting the sun's rays. These sunscreens are generally considered very stable (as opposed to chemical sunscreens which have many ingredients that are not considered stable - avobenzone, a common ingredient, is considered very unstable). The overall amount of protection depends on the particle size of the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and both help protect against UVA and UVB rays. The Food and Drug Administration has approved organic sunscreens.
Consumers report that natural sunscreens are thicker, making them more difficult to apply, and they can leave a white cast on the skin. However, these issues are dependent on the individual manufacturers. There are organic sunscreens that do not have these complaints, or the effects are minimal. However, if one is trying to choose a healthier option, managing a couple of small details like those listed is a small price to pay for a lifetime of good health.
Significant controversy surrounds chemical sunscreens, and research continues to be done on their ingredients. But why would one want to take a chance on a sunscreen that could harm the body? Take the time to educate yourself on all the ingredients in chemical sunscreen, and then choose a healthier, safer, option. Organic sunscreens are safe and effective, and some even work without the common complaints. You owe it to yourself to protect your health, and that of your family.
Related articles: Chemicals in Sunscreen
Badger Natural Sunscreen
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Renee Pawlish offers advice and tips on safe sunscreen and organic living. She extensively researches these topics and shares the information so anyone can live a better, healthier life. Her online resources are a valuable educational experience!