Why you Should Choose Reef Safe, Mineral Sunscreens
As the sun slowly starts to make a welcome appearance (yay!), it’s time to stock up on your sunscreen to protect you and your families skin. There are so many choices out there, so how do you know which brand or product is right for you? When it comes to sunscreen, there are 2 types of protection - Chemical or Physical. For overall safety, we prefer to opt for a physical sunscreen that uses mineral filters such as Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide to block the sun’s rays and create a barrier against the skin, deflecting UV light. Here’s why:
Mineral sunscreens protect the skin immediately once applied.
Because mineral sunscreens work by physically blocking UVA and UVB rays, as soon as they are applied this barrier takes effect and you are immediately protected. With chemical sunscreen’s, it can take up to 20 minutes for them to take effect. This is because they work by absorbing the UV rays, so you have to wait for the product to be absorbed into the skin for the protection to take effect.
Mineral sunscreens are safer for the environment.
If you look at the ingredients list of a chemical sunscreen, you will see a list of the active chemicals that absorb the UVA and UVB rays. Whilst they do a great job of protecting your skin, unfortunately, they are very damaging to marine life and coral reefs. The main ones to look out for are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Studies have proven that even very low concentrations of oxybenzone and octinoxate can kill coral reefs or cause bleaching which demonstrates the coral is under stress and in danger of dying. Thankfully, the use of these chemicals is being phased out, with a new law in the state of Hawaii coming into effect in January 2021, that bans these particular chemicals from being used in sunscreens.
There has still been little research into how the other active ingredients in chemical sunscreens can negatively impact the environment. We believe it is best to err on the side of caution and choose the mineral option of non-nano Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a safer option.
TOP TIP: Even if a brand uses the word ‘reef-safe’ in their marketing, it does not always mean they do not use any of the other chemical filters, it is always best to check the ingredients list.
Mineral sunscreens are less likely to cause skin allergies, sensitivities or aggravate acne-prone skin.
Whilst there is always a chance that some natural ingredients or mineral filters in sunscreens can irritate the skin, the likelihood of this is much, much lower because the physical filters don’t penetrate the skin. Mineral sunscreens are usually free from known allergens and harsh chemicals that should be avoided if you have particularly sensitive skin. For those with acne-prone skin, the barrier effect that mineral sunscreens have, mean that the product will sit on top of the skin rather than absorb into the pores and cause clogged or blocked pores that can lead to acne.
Mineral sunscreens have come along way since the days of a white, chalky, thick cream.
Mineral sunscreens have not always had a great reputation for their ease of use and for being pleasant to use. Some of the older formulations can leave a white cast on the skin, be difficult to spread over the skin and feel thick and heavy. Thankfully, times have changed and formulations are now much improved! Brands such as Hynt Beauty, have released their Sun Prep SPF 25 for the face, which is a lightweight gel and not only protects the skin but also provides moisturising benefits, and applies well under makeup. There is also SeventyOne Percent who have formulated their Dry Sun Oil SPF 30, to protect the skin, prolong a tan and also utilise nourishing plant oils to hydrate the skin.