I haven’t been able to wear “traditional” sunscreen in about 13 years, when I developed an allergy to the main ingredients in what I call traditional sunscreen. By traditional sunscreen, I am referring to the broad spectrum Banana Boat or Neutrogena sunscreens, ranging in types (sport, spray, etc.) and SPF levels, including baby and children’s sunscreen, as they generally have the same ingredients. So looking at the Banana Boat Broad Spectrum 50 SPF bottle the “Drug Facts: Active Ingredients” are Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 10.0% and Octocrylena 6.0%. These tend to differ between brands; when I looked at the Neutrogena package in addition to those 3, Octisalate 5%.0% and Oxybenzone 6.0% are also listed as active ingredients under the drug facts. I am allergic to most of these ingredients and over the years I tried almost every brand of sunscreen before I decided reluctantly to stop wearing it because my allergist couldn’t pinpoint exactly which chemical was causing the problem. I am also sensitive to parabens, chemicals and some fragrances. So I just started limiting the amount of time I spent in the sun because I don’t usually burn. But I am outside a lot in the warmer months and last month I burned my upper thighs pretty badly.
So I decided to start doing some research. The first thing I did was look at the Physician’s Formula mineral powder foundation I use because I knew that it contained sunscreen that didn’t irritate my skin. I’m not sure why this idea didn’t occur to me earlier? So my makeup contains Zinc Oxidide and Titanium Dioxide. I Googled those two ingredients and the word sunscreen and got a bunch of results for “mineral sunscreen.” So I got on Amazon and started searching for some of my favorite brands and finally found Jason Mineral Sunscreen 30 SPF. I chose this brand to try for a few reasons; it was the cheapest at $8.99 for 4 o.z. and it contains no gluten, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, petrolatum, artificial colors or phthalates. It is not tested on animals and is reef safe. It is fragrance free, hypoallergenic and contains mostly natural and organic ingredients, not all, but most. I also use other Jason products such as the Jason Age Renewal Vitamin E Creme, so I know that it’s a quality product and it probably won’t irritate my skin. If you have had problems with sunscreen in the past, I highly recommend you try this mineral sunscreen! It is a bit thicker and whiter, so you have to spend a bit more time rubbing it in and I did not use this one on my face as I usually just put my makeup on before going in the sun. However, my husband used it on his face and had no problems.
Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, I highly recommend switching to a mineral sunscreen because the chemicals in traditional sunscreen have some pretty horrific side effects if you read about them. Avobenone is the primary agent in most commercial sunscreen because it absorbs a wide range of UV rays. It degrades in the sun resulting in a release of free radicals that may actually increase the risk for cancer. Free radicals are also know to accelerate skin aging and research has also linked it to a slew of allergies. Oxybenzone, Homosalate and Octinoxate have all been linked to allergic reactions, including an eczema like rash, cell damage and they all cause endocrine /hormone disruption. Plus, all the commercial sunscreens you are purchasing at Meijer or Walmart also contain parabens which are estrogen disruptors and have been associated with infertility, abnormal development of the testes, breast cancer and allergies. I don’t buy any beauty products with parabens, so I certainly wouldn’t want it in my sunscreen either. And after all the research I did, I would never put traditional sunscreen on myself, my husband and especially my future children.
The more I read about things, the more confident I am in my choices to pick natural and organic products. Especially when I find one doesn’t cause me an allergic reaction and also works very well. It can be a bit more expensive, but I most certainly think it is worth it to avoid harmful chemicals for me and my family. I recommend you switch to a mineral sunscreen, especially for your children. I did read that there is a slight concern about the Titanium Dioxide as an endocrine disruptor, but they haven’t been able to prove anything in a lab, as they have with all the chemicals in traditional sunscreen. If you want to be extra safe, you can buy just a Zinc Oxide sunscreen, it stays white on your skin and doesn’t rub in, or so I have heard. As of right now, I recommend the Jason Mineral Sunscreen 30 SPF, it’s safe, it’s natural, it’s hypoallergenic, it’s very reasonably priced and it worked really well!
Update: I have been using this for about 3 weeks and I love it. I only have to reapply it about every 2 hours and although it says nothing on the package about being water or sweat proof, it stayed on well after I was in the lake, as well as when exercising outside. I highly, highly recommend this if you have sensitive skin. I double checked with my dermatologist this week during an appointment and she said that mineral sunscreens are excellent for people with sensitive skin and that “physical sunscreens compared to chemical sunscreens” work just as well, without all the harsh chemicals! She recommends that people switch to mineral sunscreens from traditional sunscreens because of all the harmful chemicals in traditional sunscreens.