Chemical vs. Mineral SPF

“Can you recommend a safe sunscreen that isn’t opaque white?”

Mama’s sliding into my inbox every day asking this and tottalllly understand! Toxin-free SPF can be one of those clean living annoyances… especially if you’re used to conventional sunscreen. 😅 So let’s dig a little deeper…

Conventional SPF products use chemical filters to absorb the suns UV rays.

Then, through a chemical reaction, the sunscreen dissipates the UV rays. This means that your skin is protected because the UV rays never actually hit your body. Most commonly you’ll see these 6 chemical filters:
Oxybenzone
Octinoxate
Octocrylene
Octisalate
Homosalate
Avobenzone

❗️For these ingredients to be effective, they’re designed to absorb quickly into the skin. Once absorbed, these ingredients become part of your bloodstream, and have even been found to transfer into breast milk.
❗️These ingredients are not only becoming banned in certain parts of the world for killing the coral reefs (take a minute to think about that…) but they’ve also been linked to endometriosis, decreased sperm count, and lower testosterone in men.
❗️They’re endocrine disrupters. They mess with your hormones. Your hormonal balance, especially in rapidly developing children, is a vital part of your wellbeing.

❗️The only positives to chemical sunscreens is that they apply clear and absorb quickly… two VERY minimal benefits when you weigh them against the massive health risks.

‼️ So why are Mineral sunscreens preferred over chemical ones?

Utilizing the minerals, non-nano zinc and/or titanium dioxide…
☀️ They offer protection against broad spectrum UV rays (UVA/UVB) whereas chemical sunscreens typically block only UVA or UVB rays.

☀️These minerals do not penetrate the skin’s barrier and enter into the bloodstream like the ingredients in chemical sunscreens do.
☀️ They are gentle on the skin and are recommended for people with skin conditions like eczema.
☀️ They work immediately upon application, unlike chemical sunscreens where you have to wait 20 minutes before they work.
☀️ They don’t break down as quickly in the sun like chemical sunscreens do, so you don’t have to reapply as often (does not mean you don’t have to reapply at all!! You should but you won’t have to quite as often).
☀️ They are environmentally friendly and great alternatives to protect coral!

❕A few things to note:

  • The best recommendation, even safer than mineral sunscreen, is to wear clothing that protects your skin.
  • Avoid spray on sunscreens if you can, but if you want to use one, hold your breath because breathing in Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide still risks respiratory concerns.
  • Just because these two minerals are listed on a sunscreen doesn’t automatically mean they are safe! There are soooo many mineral sunscreens that still contain very toxic carrier ingredients and preservatives.

Tips for applying mineral sunscreens to avoid the white tint:

  • Moisturize your skin before putting on sunscreen. We like to slip up with coconut oil first. This is important because if your skin is dry, it will quickly absorb the lotion part of the sunscreen before you can spread the minerals out and you get left with the white cast.
    Start by using a little sunscreen at first, rub in, and then add some more. If you put too much on at first, the lotion will absorb faster than you can spread the minerals.
  • When you apply, also work with small areas versus one giant area to help you spread the minerals evenly before the lotion gets absorbed.
  • If your skin is white, you aren’t done. If the minerals were not rubbed in and spread evenly, you’ll be left with a dry, white cast that will stay until it is washed off.
  • It’s really not too difficult to put these on if you work in small sections and rub the sunscreen in well.

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