Chemical free, organic and natural were reoccurring themes for the sunscreens at the Expo West beauty pavilions.
With the change in suncreen regulations to ensure that sunscreens meet contemporary standards for effectiveness and safety, natural sunscreen brands have reason to be in good spirit.
Natural brands have typically concentrated on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to help block UVA rays, which is a requirement for the new sunscreen regulations. True, a natural brand of sunscreens, are from 100% renewable ingredients.
True is producing sunscreens that meet the USDA’s new standard for natural products set in 2012. These natural and biodegradeable formulas feature non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide.
Titanium dioxide controversy
Technical Manager at Ross Organics, Ali Witwit states, “Titanium dioxide is listed as a safe pigment, with no known adverse effects in the MSDS (material safety data sheet).
It is generally not listed as a carcinogen, mutagen, comedogen, toxin or as a trigger for contact Dermatitis as some might argue. Hence it is sensible to conclude that is generally safe, but this does not end the discussion as it relates to nano-particles.”
Zinc oxide not always globally accepted
The Zinc oxide formulations are not always accepted globally due to toxicity and environmental impact. Witwit articulates, “In general, TiO2 and ZnO SPF formulas are safer and less cytotoxic than organic filters (chemical based such as Octinoxate AKA Octyl Methoxycinnamate.”
Goddess Garden chemical free sunscreens, touts the highest certified organic percentage of ingredients on the market today with 92% organic ingredients. These sunscreens have received ratings of 1, 2 and 3 by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and most of their formulas feature titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Eco skin care emphasizes on preserving and supporting sensitive marine environment with their Eco Sunscreen formulas based on naturopathic practices and a high percentage of zinc oxide. Badger products, contains non-nano zinc oxide along with USDA certified organic ingredients and have been recommended by the EWG.
In 1994. KINeSYS launched their natural sunscreens at the Commonwealth Games to the world's best athletes. This line provides lightweight sprayable formulas that are free of oil, alcohol, paba, preservative and paraben.
Since natural has many meanings to consumers, brands are focusing on the new regulations to guide them in communicating their “broad spectrum” message but consumers will still have trouble determining which of these sunscreens are naturally best for their skin.
The nano debate is in the forefront and toxicity studies are significant as we move forward natural sunscreen formulations.