Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunblock Recommendations

I'm in the process of developing a Bubble & Bee Organic sunblock...but in the meantime, here are my recommendations:

Badger Balm

Soleo

Mexitan

Look for sunscreens that use non-nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide as the active sunblocking ingredient. Nanoparticles can absorb in to your bloodstream and skin, causing unknown side effects--they haven't been studied much!

Stay away from chemical sunscreens like avobenzene (for more chemicals, check out this previous blog post).

And of course, look for as many organic ingredients in the "inactive" ingredients section as well. Our sunblock will have 100% organic inactive ingredients, and we're going to use non-nano Zinc Oxide as the active sunblocking ingredient. Great stuff. We have to put it through a lot of testing in order to get an "SPF" and we're hoping to launch it in time for next Spring. Stay tuneD!

30 comments:

superfluous and pithy said...

Stephanie, what do you think about Dr. Mercola's sunscreen? I've found it works well.
www.mercola.com

Jess said...

Until Bubble and Bee comes out with sunscreen, if anyone is looking for a face specific sunscreen, try Marie Veronique. I just discovered this brand. They use only non nano, non micronized zinc oxide...the ingredients all look safe to me..i plan on trying it out.

Anonymous said...

I think what Mercola sells is the Mexitan sunscreen. The ingredients look the same!

Good Things Green Things said...

The sunscreens from Purple Prairie botanicals are great too, and affordable! www.purpleprairie.com, www.goodthingsgreenthings.com

Anonymous said...

I just spent a week at Lake Shasta and used the Mercola sunscreen - I didn't get sunburned at all! It goes on white at first, but then soaks in. However, after multiple days of using it, it seems to come off in water - if my skin got splashed, it would turn white and watery, looking like the sunscreen was coming off. And when I jumped in the water, everyone told me my face was white and sunscreen was coming off. However, I still didn't get sunburned! I wonder if the zinc might build up after multiple days of use and that's why it comes off? I'm not sure, but I do know I was the only one on the trip who didn't get sunburned and I spent most of the day in the water!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bubble and Bee, from what I've read nanoparticles of zinc oxide in sunscreens do not penetrate skin and do not enter the bloodstream. A great resource of cited information can be found at the Environmental Working Group's website www.ewg.org.

Anonymous said...

First, I want to say that I am a long-term Bubble & Bee customer and I LOVE all of your products and use them daily. I am a biomaterials engineer and I know from my own research that zinc oxide nanoparticles, like the ones used in sunscreen, in fact, do NOT penetrate human skin more than 0.03% (which is ridiculously tiny) OR enter the bloodstream - there is simply no evidence of this in any peer-reviewed journal; the non-nanoparticle placebo was measured to be the same. The particles left behind cannot be viewed with an electron microscope, so penetration could not actually be OBSERVED (meaning teeny tiny - only on the surface, which again, was no different than non-nano placebo). I love all of the work you do, but I know for fact that this just simply isn't the case, and it is documented in many peer-reviewed medical journals with similar studies as well.

kazmira said...

Hey Stephanie,
Re. your recent email and mention of the ridiculous testing a B&B sunscreen would have to undergo, this article is so informative on why the process is so drawn out in the US as compared to European countries: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8315sunscreens.html. In the EU, sunscreens are considered a cosmetic, not an OTC drug, so testing goes a heck of a lot faster, and there are a lot more high-tech sunscreens available on the European market. I just bought one recently that contains Tinosorb (mentioned in the article), an ingredient that combines mineral and chemical sun filters, because I go in the ocean a lot in the summertime and was concerned that the big particles of zinc oxide on my face and body might end up in the bloodstreams of fish and turtles or cause some other kind of damage (see the "Ecotoxicology" section of the listing for non-nano Zinc Oxide in the EWG Cosmetics database). The sunscreen is made by a company called Trilogy and is only available in the UK, Australia and New Zealand (I hate that I have to have it shipped from so far away, but think/hope it's worth it). It has a great list of inactive ingredients, including green tea and soy, which protect the skin from sun damage. Here is more info: http://www.healthchemist.co.nz/product/trilogy-age-proof-daily-defence-moisturiser-with-spf15-50ml-new-p916392.html

kazmira said...

Whoops, here is a better link with full list of ingredients: http://www.trilogyproducts.com/store/products/TSPF15

Philip said...

Statement from the website of Badger Balm, (one of your recommended sun screens above) about the "micronized" zinc oxide in their sunscreen:

"For the record, the US Government defines a nanoparticle as a solid particle between 1 and 100nm (nanometers or billionths of a meter). Badger uses micronized zinc oxide with average mean and median particle sizes both greater than 100nm. These particles range in size from about 70nm to 300nm, so yes, a fraction of our zinc oxide is nanoparticles. Remember nanoparticles refers to a very fine powder, not to be confused with ‘nanotechnology’, which refers to atomically precise devices that are far more “science fiction” than anything Badger uses. Our zinc oxide particles are actually larger than those used in many other products on the market."
https://www.badgerbalm.com/t-SPF_tech.aspx


Stephanie, do you consider the use of micronized zinc oxide to be safe although it may actually contain "a fraction" of nanoparticles?

Elham Ahmad said...

Stephanie,

The Mexitan sunscreen lists Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)among its inactive ingredients.Just checked out some of its labels. According to INCI Vitamin E is just plain old Tocopheryl and not Tocopheryl Acetate.

Tocopheryl Acetate is on your Chemical Database of chemicals to avoid.

I don't use Mexitan sunscreen but I think their users should be alerted about this 'unnatural' ingredient.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes, that's the only caveat to the Mexitan. However, I have it listed here because, compared to everything else, it's one of the best.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts on Vanicream SPF 60 for sensitive skin? Here are the ingredients:

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (7.5%), Zinc Oxide (7.5%)

Inactive Ingredients: Alumina, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate/Triethoxycaprylylsilane (Crosspolymer), Methylpropanediol, PEG 12 Dimethicone, PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Phenyltrimethicone, Polyethylene, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Water Purified, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane

Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

No way! PEGs are ethoxylated compounds that can contain traces of carcinogenic 1,4-Dioxane.

Anonymous said...

Good to know! Thanks for your advice. How about Desert Essence Age-Reversal Mineral sunscreen?

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (Microfine): 6% (Sunscreen) Titanium Dioxide (Microfine): 8% (Sunscreen)

Inactive Ingredients: Aqueous Infusion of Certified Organic Extracts: Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf (1), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit (1), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (1) and Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) (1), Organic Vegetable Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (2), Cetearyl Alcohol (2), Glyceryl Stearate (2), Xanthan Gum, d-alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E) (2), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Essential Oil, Certified Organic Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil (3), Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Octanediol.1

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Phenoxyethanol isn't great. You can read more about it here: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2009/11/9/a-chemist-takes-stephanie-to-task-on-phenoxyethanol.html

I also would advise against a sunblock that contains a citrus oil, as they can cause sunburn, so it works against the sunblock agents.

Sandalwood essential oil is not an environmentally responsible essential oil to use because it contributes to the overharvesting and deforestation of sandalwood trees which are in serious decline.

All in all, it's not terrible, but my suggestions above are the best.

Loving Naturals SPF 30 is also a good choice.

Helen said...

Is it possible for me to purchase non-nano zinc and just add it to my own moisturizer? Would that work?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Helen Yes, you can do that. I'd say shoot for about 20% concentration. However, do note that non-nano zinc oxide will give your skin a white hue.

ae said...

Hi! Any updates on the Bubble and Bee Sunscreen status?

Thanks! WE LOVE YOUR AMAZING PRODUCTS!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! We are still working on the sunscreen--the very high costs of testing (tens of thousands of dollars to do it right) is holding us up, but we are plugging along. When I wrote this post, we thought the testing was going to be around 5k, but then we learned to really do it right, we'd need to spend about 30k. So...while we are moving forward with this project, it's a bit slower than we had hoped.

Charlotte said...

@Helen: if you add a sunscreen to your moisturizer it will work, but the sunscreen actives will be diluted. That means that if the sunscreen you use has a zinc concentration of 20%, the effective concentration used with moisturizer will be lower and coverage will be decreased. It might make some chalky sunscreens more usable though!

If you are interested in a really great outline of what to look for in a sunscreen and some GREAT tried and true suggestions that don't go on white, check out this blog post:

http://frecklestotoes.blogspot.com/2011/06/ultimate-sunscreen-guide.html

Some of the sunscreens suggested contain citrus oils, which Stephanie suggests you avoid. But there are several others listed that don't. Also, the best part is that these sunscreens (even though most have a zinc concentration of about 20%) won't give your skin a white sheen!

Sheena said...

Will your Sunscreen also be non micronized because I have read that micronization causes photoaging on the skin once the uv rays hit the sunblock, as well as oils in a Sunscreen product...- i have heard they can also be photoaging. I am having a difficult time finding a sunblock that isn't oily and shiny, and/ or also isn't micronized and photo aging accelerating, and completely organic, and also containers anti- aging ingrédients like green tea, red rapberry which acts like titanium dioxide- as titanium dioxide is also photoaging. if the sunblock container all these things or at last didn't cause photo aging and was organic and was à broad spectres, i would be in heaven! If it container hyaluronique acid as well....bliss!

Katryna Benedik said...

Hi Stephanie, just wondering what your thoughts are on this sunscreen: http://www.goddessgarden.com/p-3-natural-sunscreen-spf-30-6-oz.aspx

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question, Katryna! I hadn't heard of this product before and am glad that you brought it to my attention! So, it's totally marketed illegally. You can't claim an organic percentage unless you have a third-party organic certifier. And it appears that they do not. AND it's impossible that it's 92% organic because it's 6% zinc oxide and 6.5 % titanium dioxide. 100 minus 12.5 = 87.5. So, if ALL of the "inactive" ingredients were organic, it could only legally be labeled as 87% organic. AND, they're not. Basically the only organic ingredients they have are the organic aloe vera juice, glycerin, the soybean oil, and the sunflower seed oil. Not even their shea butter is organic! AND they have a number of synthetics here, including the natural-sounding, but not-so-natural "japanese honeysuckle extract" preservative that contains estrogen-mimicking salicylic acid. Also, titanium dioxide creates free radicals on skin when exposed to sunlight. Especially if it's nano-sized. Nano-sized zinc oxide has been found to do the same thing. So the ONLY active ingredient in a sunblock that I recommend is non-nano zinc oxide. They say that it's non-whitening, so they are likely using nanoparticles in their active ingredients.

Hope that helps! Sorry for ripping it apart, LOL.

Katryna Benedik said...

What about Green Beaver?www.greenbeaver.com/body/sunscreens/sunscreen.html

Stephanie Greenwood said...

If it's your only choice that you can get locally, there's nothing terrible about it that I can see. I still would recommend Badger over it because it has more organic content. The Green Beaver boasts that it's certified organic, but only has one organic ingredient. :/

Julia Farkas said...

Hi Stephanie, what do you think of Green Screen organic tinted sunscreen?
http://kabanaskincare.com/products/green-screen-organic-sunscreen-spf-31-tinted-bronze/

Stephanie Greenwood said...

It's a shame because the majority of the Green Screen ingredients are safe, but they use "Vegetable Emulsifying Wax" with contains ethoxylated chemicals created with the carcinogen ethylene oxide, traces of which and its carcinogenic by-product 1,4-dioxane can remain in the product.

SW said...

Hello Stephanie,
I am very new with using natural organic products on my skin. I just recently made the switch. I was wondering if you could recommend me a face moisturizer cream with SPF in it?
Im currently using Power Repair Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen for face & body with SPF 15 by Sisters Creations. I found it on natural joy beauty.
The ingredients are - purified spring water, plant-infused oils of comfrey leaf, green tea and horsetail, olive oil, sesame seed oil, grapeseed oil, organic vegetable emulsifying wax, beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, active sunscreen ingredient (2% zinc oxide, 1% titanium dioxide), pure essential oil of lavandin grosso, glucose & enzyme. I'm not so sure of some ingredients such as the olive oil, sesame seed oil with sunscreen.
Can i just use your face cream with badger all natural sunscreen spf 30 combined? Thanks.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! These ingredients look just fine except for the titanium dioxide.) And 2% seems pretty low for the zinc to be an sunscreen active ingredient. Hm. Well, one thing you can do, what I usually recommend, is using Lauren Brooke's Creme foundation. It's not an official SPF but it has zinc oxide which does provide sunscreen protection. That way you don't have to layer on a sunscreen in addition to your makeup!