The skin is the most extensive organ of the body and the main barrier that protects the body from external aggressions . Prolonged exposure to UV rays in addition to causing sunburn that can not regenerate, also increases the risk of skin cancer . Therefore, it is very important to protect the skin throughout the year and not only in summer. In winter it is also necessary to protect it and avoid future problems in this way.
When selecting a sunscreen it is also necessary to pay attention to the ingredients that make it up. Many of the sunscreens that are on the market have chemical filters that, in the end, end up damaging the skin. Every day there are more people who opt for a natural sunscreen in which mineral filters are used to block UV rays and protect the skin, but how are they different?
Sunscreen with chemical filters
Chemical sunscreens use a combination of two to six active chemical ingredients in their formulation : oxybenzone, avobenzone, octyl salicylate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These ingredients absorb the UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun and pass through the ozone layer. These components are absorbed by the skin and defend it by a chemical reaction where they transform UV rays into heat. The safety of many of these ingredients has been questioned since being absorbed by the skin can cause adverse reactions and can be harmful to both the human body and the ecosystem.
In a recent study researchers detected traces of chemical ingredients that are part of the sunscreen in breast milk of 76.50% of women who examined. Among the ingredients were octinoxate, oxybenzone and octocrylene, questioning the safety of these ingredients for babies. Some of these ingredients are classified as endocrine disruptors which means they are capable of altering the proper hormonal functioning of the body . Some of the studies emphasize that these ingredients can increase the risk of endometriosis in women, affect male fertility and even reduce testosterone levels in adolescent men.
Choose Sunscreen with mineral filters
These sunscreens use minerals as active ingredients to protect the skin from the damage that can be caused by UV rays. The most known minerals are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and although both ingredients can be found naturally in the earth, they can also be created synthetically.
The way of working of the mineral sunscreens is completely different: while the chemical filters penetrate and are absorbed by the skin, the mineral filters remain on the surface creating a protective screen that reflects the UV rays. Thanks to this, the sun’s rays never come into contact with the skin and it is not necessary to apply the cream in advance .
These sunscreens are the safest to apply to both children, babies and adults with sensitive skin. It should be noted that during childhood the skin can even be 5 times thinner than the skin of an adult. Therefore, it is more prone to suffer irritations, atopic dermatitis and adverse reactions to a multitude of chemical ingredients.
Although sunscreens that use mineral filters are safer and are the ones that are usually used in natural cosmetics , it is very important to select those products that do not use nanoparticles or the combination of both filters. Nanoparticles are tiny particles that are often able to penetrate the skin and come into contact with the body. Therefore, it is very important not only to choose mineral sunscreens, but also to pay attention to the labeling and avoid the nanoparticles .