Shedding light on safe sunscreens

I’m so pleased that global authorities like the FDA are finally embracing a message that I’ve been trying to convey for over 15 years! The media has recently been buzzing regarding the safety of chemical sunscreen ingredients, particularly in relation to wellness and eco-toxicity.

As we transition into the warmer months, let’s recap on the safety aspect of sunscreens.

What’s safe and what’s not?

A recent report released by the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration of the USA) stated that only Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide (both natural earth minerals) are recognised as safe and effective sunscreen ingredients. These ingredients are known broad spectrum, physical sun protection ingredients which reflect and scatter harmful UVA and UVB rays from our skin.

Chemical sunscreen ingredients such as Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Avobenzone and Oxybenzone absorb UV energy and create heat within the skin. As of 2021, the FDA has ruled that these ingredients will be banned in Hawaii, Palau and the Virgin Islands, in the hope that other US states and countries around the world will follow suit.

Why get physical when it comes to sun protection?

Bans on chemical sunscreen ingredients have been legislated in order to protect our oceans, coral reefs and marine life, as well as our human health.

According to a non-profit group called the Island Green Living Association, a report claims that chemical sunscreens wash off swimmers’ bodies into the ocean, causing coral bleaching and sterility. Tests have also shown chemical sunscreen ingredients to be present in human urine and bloodstream just a few hours following application.

Some chemical sunscreens have also been linked to hormonal imbalance and are able to mimic oestrogen in the body. Many chemical sunscreens are also known to produce allergy and skin irritation.

Enter physical sunscreens. Not only is Zinc Oxide (found in Synergie Skin’s ÜberZinc moisturiser and all Synergie Minerals foundations) a physical sunscreen which protects against UVA and UVB, it also ticks so many boxes when it comes to maximising skin health. Its anti-inflammatory action can reduce skin redness and healing making it ideal for sensitive skin. With its antibacterial and oil controlling activity, Zinc Oxide is also a go-to ingredient for acne sufferers, not to mention completely baby safe and eco-friendly.

So, next time you shop for sunscreen, take the time to read your labels, look out for the ‘no-no’ ingredients and ‘think zinc’ when it comes to your sun protection and overall skin health.