Have They Been Lying to Us? 

I was in Target over the weekend when I spotted an end-cap highlighting some brand new mineral based sunscreens. This triggered my mind and I flashed back to all of the recent talk I’ve heard purposely or subliminally around mineral based sunscreens. Lately I’ve noticed a surge, this push of mineral based sunscreens. Now I’m seeing the result of the push on store shelves. I am happy that people are paying closer attention to what’s in products which is causing companies to change the status quo and create new alternative product options.

The downside to a sudden rise of awareness by what feels like everyone at once is, it starts to feel very trendy. Like a pushed agenda. You have no idea if the initial onslaught came as a result of a genuine search for a better way or from some corporate machine trying to solve a false problem that they created in order to push products.

Learning more about skincare and ingredients has opened my eyes to the importance of wearing face sunscreen especially for highly concentrated products like chemical exfoliants or peels. I appreciate the skincare brands that explicitly state on the package that sunscreen should be worn. For example, Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum states on the bottle that sunscreen should be worn while using the product.

Knowing this, I decided to keep an ear out for some good mineral based sunscreen options. I decided to try a brand called BARE Republic that I heard nothing but good things about.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I have to say I love it. There is no white cast, it applies beautifully, and does not leave an oily residue. In fact, it feels almost like a powder once you’ve rubbed it in. The package I bought came with a lip sunscreen which I also love. It does however leave a white cast but it makes my lips feel soft and smooth so I don’t mind the white cast. I just apply lipstick or gloss overtop and I’m good to go.

Today, while listening to a podcast they briefly mentioned a report done by the Environmental Working Group. Basically the report breaks down EWG’s research on sunscreens and ranks the current ones on the market both chemical and mineral based. I also stumbled across two additional articles published by EWG that I thought were useful. The Trouble W/Ingredients in Sunscreen that had a wonderful chart that broke down  UV filters (chemicals) by toxicity concern and Top Sun Safety Tips that listed multiple ways to stay protected from the sun. The last and final fantastic tool I found on EWG’s website was the “search you sunscreen tool” that allows you to search EWG’s database for any sunscreen, chemical or mineral,  to see where it is on a scale from 1 – 10. 1 being amazing and 10 being DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! (that’s a Lost in Space reference for all my youngin’s)

I know what your thinking, “so where does BARE fall?”  not where I thought. BARE face sunscreen is a 6. Yes a 6. I was not happy when I saw this, not happy at all! I made the mistake of assuming all mineral sunscreens are created equal. ENNNNN! Not so. Similarly, not all chemical sunscreens are created equal. There is/are some ingredients in the face version of the sunscreen that makes it a six. The funny thing is the stick versions of the body sunscreen and the baby formula are all 1’s (excellent). When I looked to see why the face version is a 6 and the other versions are 1’s it’s because there is Cyclopentasiloxane in the face formula which has cancer and reproductive concerns listed among other concerns.

Safe to say, I will not be repurchasing this particular sunscreen for the face. I found one by Badger that was listed as a 1 which I plan to purchase. Badger is a brand that Hey Fran Hey has talked about and I trust her opinion.

After reading a few publications, here’s a quick and dirty list of what I’ve learned:

  1. Roughly 90-95% of chemical sunscreens possess ingredients that can disrupt hormones in men and women.
  2. Look for zinc oxide or titanium oxide in mineral based sunscreens as the active ingredient.
  3. Not all sunscreens protect from UVA or UVB rays so make sure the sunscreen says broad spectrum.
  4. Avoid spray sunscreens altogether. The particles that linger in the air from spraying tend to be inhaled meaning ingredients are inhaled into the body.
  5. Chemical sunscreens tends to absorb and disburse sun rays while mineral sunscreen tends to create a barrier that simply blocks sun rays.

If you want more information be sure to check Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen homepage where they have everything you need to know and more. The homepage is also where you can easily search sunscreens to see where they fall 1 – 10. I’ve book marked the website on my phone, you should too!

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