CONSUMER ORG PUBLISHED us please read the following links: Which Sunscreen can you trust Only 3 Sunscreens pass tests Are Nanoparticles safe. Oxybenzone and octinoxate - an environmental concern ZINC OXIDE WHAT DO WE USE & WHY. Non-nano? No need We opted against using non-nano zinc oxide for a couple reasons: 1) we are able to use a lower zinc loading with the Eco certified & NPA approved mineral zinc oxide in our products, allowing us to use an abundance of nutrient dense and beneficial oils & butters in our formulations, and 2) through expert consultancy & research that found no evidence that zinc oxide nano-particles can cross the skin in significant amounts, cause no health risks (SCCS 2012). The latter is the most important to us - we want to make sure our products are safe for our families, and yours. LEARN MORE WE ARE NASTY FREE Would you want to apply a skin care product to your skin that can later be measured in your blood, urine or breastmilk? Answer in short - no. And that is exactly what many of the commercial sunscreens are – skin care products that contain ingredients that can be traced through the body. One ingredient is oxybenzone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has detected oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population, based on a representative sampling of children and adults (Calafat 2008). Participants who reported using sunscreen have higher oxybenzone exposures (Zamoiski 2015). Oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones (Rodriguez 2006, Krause 2012). If this isn’t a problem for you at the surface level, maybe you might shy away from commercial sunscreens after gaining more knowledge around the adverse impacts that the ingredients used as preservatives or for fragrance have on the body. Phthalates are synthetic preservatives that are often used in skin care products, particularly sunscreen, that are linked with increased risk of cancer. Although not carcinogens, parabens and synthetic musks are known hormone disruptors, which have cascading impacts on the natural flow of the body’s circulatory system. Just to end on a good note: you don’t need to use these products to protect yourself from UVA and UVB radiation! Most sunscreens with the aforementioned ingredients use chemical filters for radiation, while the safer alternative are physical filters .essonė. natural sun protection uses EcoCert zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is an excellent physical barrier for UVA and UVB protection, AND has less than 0.01% skin penetration in human volunteers! There is also no evidence of hormone disruption from zinc oxide as a topical cream (Gulson 2012, Sayes 2007, Nohynek 2007). So feel free to slip, slop and slather .essonė. natural sun protection over you and the kids. AQUA AS THE FISRT INGREDIENT LISTED IN YOUR PRODUCTS At .essonė. we don’t use AQUA in our products because we like to deliver pure ingredients to your skin. It is true that we are over 70% water and keeping adequately hydrated is pivotal in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but water on your skin is a different story. As humans, we use skin moisture (sweat) to bring down our core body temperature and prevent over-heating. When moisture, be it sweat or water, evaporates from our skin it takes with it oils and nutrients that are vital for skin repair, essentially the product you have applied evaporates too!. Most skincare products list aqua or aloe as their first ingredient, which not only results in evaporation of the product of skin as noted above, but also dilutes active ingredients meant to be restorative and moisturising. Any products that contain water must also contain stabilisers to prevent spoiling. If the product has oils or butters in it, along with water, an emulsifier must be used to keep the two in harmony since, in short, water and oil don’t mix. Emulsifiers are usually synthetic chemicals that act as fillers, providing no direct benefits to the skin. Stabilisers are also used to prevent the product from going rancid before it is off the shelf – and can come with human health consequences. Stabilisers are usually synthetic chemicals, specifically parabens which have been identified as hormone disruptors and potential carcinogens[i] So, basically you might be paying for very little bang for your buck when it comes to skin care products. [i]Barbre, P. D. and Harvey, P. W., Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. Journal of Applied Toxicology. 2008. UVA & UVB This post is about the ins and outs of UVA & UVB radiation, and why they get so much attention in relation to the health of your skin. First of all, what is the difference between UVA and UVB radiation? UV (ultra-violet) A (long-wave) and UVB (shortwave) radiation are essentially light waves (basically heat waves from the sun) that are shorter than the visible spectrum that we can see. Over the years of scientific inquiry, we have learned a lot about UVA and UVB radiation and know that over-exposure to these forms of radiation cause premature skin ageing, eye damage including cataracts, and melanoma, aka skin cancer. More recent studies also suggest they cause immune system suppression, which means we aren’t as able to fight off illness as we would be otherwise. Which is worse for your skin, UVA or UVB? Superficially, UVA is less intense for the skin, but it penetrates much deeper than UVB radiation, causing serious damage. Furthermore, we get exposed to more UVA radiation through our lifetimes since it is present all of the time, summer through winter, dawn to dusk. UVA radiation is a key factor in premature skin ageing and skin cancer. UVB radiation causes sunburns but do not penetrate deep into the skin; it is also the radiation we need to create the much-needed Vitamin D and is absent from the day outside of summer months lower than 37 degrees latitude (yup, that’s you, Auckland and everywhere South). See my post about Vitamin D for more. How can I avoid over-exposure? Well, we all need sun exposure because our skin (the largest organ of our body) uses it to create the hormone known as Vitamin D; Vitamin D is a key component of bone growth and has a lot to do with our energy levels. Anyway, we only need about 15 minutes of sun exposure on our face and arms per day (unprotected) to get the Vitamin D we need, so what about the rest of the time we like to spend outside? Well the best option is to layer up, but when the sea is calling your name and its scorching outside, that’s not really an option. The next best thing for your body is a physical barrier cream. Sun protection and sunscreens contain either physical or chemical barriers to UVA and UVB. Chemical barriers can often get absorbed into the skin and cause problems in the body, so look for a sun protection formula with zinc oxide or titanium oxide which are effective physical barriers to UVA and UVB. Have a look at our .essonė. natural sun protection products to see what best suits you FACT: VITAMIN D is not actually a vitamin. Why? Because our body produces it and you can’t get it from foods (except fish and egg yolks but you still can’t get enough to sustain the body’s needs). Fact: Kiwi kids have high rates of Vitamin D deficiency, leading to the increase of the childhood disease rickers. Why? Well, most of New Zealand lies at low latitudes (under 37 degrees) where the sun’s UVB rays can’t reach most of the year. That’s good because it means we don’t get sunburned for most of the year, but it’s bad because it means it’s much harder to get the Vitamin D our bodies need. Most of us only need a little bit of time in the sun to produce heaps of Vitamin D, enough to boost our immune system, support healthy bone growth and give us energy, when the time is right…in fact the fair skinned of us only need about 15minutes of summer sun, while the darker of us might need an hour or so. But, what about during the winter? Unfortunately, most of us will need to be on supplements during the winter to boost our Vitamin D levels…unless we can frequent the winterless north (or our neighbours over the ditch) where UVB shines right through the year. When shopping for supplements, look for “Vitamin D3” as it’s already activated for the body to absorb, and at levels no lower than 700 IU (note: most multivitamins only contain 400 IU, that’s not enough for you!).