The sun feels good. Especially winter sun. When you step out into a frigid day, and the rays still warm your face with a gentle caress. Or when sunshine is dappled across a fresh green lawn as it shines through dancing leaves.
It's easy to forget that feeling of appreciation when you're living in 37 degrees (happy New Year's Eve, fellow Victorians!) Unfortunately, the sun, especially in Australia, can be harsh, and a caress can quickly turn into a slap. So, let me tell you why here at organicspa, we adhere to the rule of no hat, no play.
In this blog, I look at the difference between using chemical-based sunscreens versus natural and organic sun creams.
How do chemical sunscreens work?
Chemical sunscreens use chemical filters to absorb the UV rays. Unfortunately, they contain ingredients that may cause brown spots and health problems like Vitamin D deficiency, heart problems and hormone imbalances. So when you massage these creams in, you absorb the UV rays and the array of chemicals that come with them. As a result, they're more likely to cause eye and skin irritation, and you definitely don't want to choose these creams for your baby.
What about natural sun creams?
Mineral sunscreens use Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide as protective ingredients. These active components are physical reflectors that simply sit on top of your skin and protect it by reflecting away UV rays and don't pose any health problems.
Sunscreens and the health of our planet
I recently read an article by BBC Future which was posted back in 2019, and it talked about the problems the chemical sunscreens pose on our whole body health. They pointed out that these chemical sunscreens pollute our environment and are putting aquatic wildlife at risk. So not only are these chemical-based sunscreens bad for our health, but they're also impacting our planet's health.
The article cited a research scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cheryl Woodly explained that one of the key ingredients in chemical-based sunscreen, Oxybenzone, can cause a sex change in fish and result in reduced growth and number of eggs. Woodly explains that "Pollution in the environment from chemical sunscreens can result in a reduced resilience to climate change events, and even contribute to reproductively impaired organisms, including coral and fish, that can go locally extinct in a matter of generations by inducing sterility and reproductive failure."
Caring for the planet
So what should someone concerned about both their health and that of the seascape do?
Until research finds a definitive outcome on the potential effects of UV filters absorbed into our bodies or alternatives that don't contain ingredients associated with health risks, the consensus among experts is to shield ourselves whenever we're exposed to the sun.
Our approach to natural sun protection
We think the healthiest way to do so – for both ourselves and the planet at large – is with clothing, hats, finding shade and avoiding the midday heat. When we must expose our skin to the sun, here at organicspa, we use a natural zinc-based cream that we adequately apply to the skin. I also take extra care of my nose, décolletage and shoulders.
Physical Zinc/Titanium sun protection also provides a complete block from all rays by not absorbing the sun rays into the skin. This is similar to chemical sunscreens but without the health risks for the planet and you. Better still, Zinc will also help to prevent pigmentation and sun damage.
What damage can chemical sunscreens cause?
As a beauty expert, I've long understood the impact sun exposure can have and how chemicals interact with the epidermis. So, while chemical sunscreens stop the skin from burning, they can stimulate the melanocyte and cause pigmentation. This is because a chemical sunscreen penetrates the skin and causes heat in the skin. As a result, free radicals are produced, stimulating the pigment-producing cells that form brown spots. Additionally, once that reaction occurs, that sunscreen molecule is destroyed and no longer effective.
What can you do?
All antioxidants provide some mild protection from the sun. Choosing chemical-free products and a diet high in antioxidants helps the skin's natural ability to protect itself. At organicspa, we have incorporated all the antioxidants needed for each specific product to bring the highest antioxidant properties to your skin. organicspa's BB creams, beauty balm fair and beauty balm medium, contain Titanium Dioxide for natural sun reflection. They're perfect for everyday wear and general protection from the many environmental stresses.
Sunlight is my happy fix. And it's no surprise since it increases the brain's release of the hormone, Serotonin. The ultimate mood booster that helps keep depression at bay and supports us to feel calm and focused. Sunlight also regulates the production of blood stem cells from the bone marrow and absorption of Vitamin D to help bone strength, skin conditions, and so much more! (Ministry of Health - Vitamin D) That's why we have to find the right ways to expose ourselves to its nurturing rays that are safe for us and the planet.