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No, we do not use nanoparticles in our products. We only use non-nano zinc oxide.
Please note an important difference between “micronized” and “micron-sized.” Micronized means a process that grinds larger zinc oxide particles into smaller ones, producing a significant number of nanoparticles.
Waxhead zinc oxide is not micronized; it is micron-sized, with its particles produced via a special process to be that size directly with absolutely no grinding.
This is important because Waxhead zinc oxide particles will NOT enter your bloodstream or interfere with fragile marine environments (because the particles are too big). They also leave a bit of a white covering on your skin to better protect you from UVA and UVB rays.
Nanoparticles are defined as particles less than 100 nanometers in diameter or smaller than 0.1 micron. (A micron is one millionth of a meter.) Nanoparticles may be hazardous for humans (see last paragraph in this section), since they’re tiny enough to enter the bloodstream through the skin. Most nanoparticle sunscreens contain particles of only 15 nanometers, or about 85% SMALLER than the limit.
Micronized sunscreens are created by grinding larger particles into smaller ones. Typical micronized particles are larger than the 100 nanometer limit, but the grinding process creates a significant amount of nanoparticles.
Waxhead uses neither nanoparticle zinc oxide nor micronized zinc oxide. Instead we use particles created via a non-grind process that produces an average particle size of 0.26 microns +/- a standard deviation of 0.012 microns. Given this tight size distribution (the 0.1 micron lower limit is over 13 standard deviations below the mean), our zinc oxide contains statistically zero nanoparticles. This particle size range has been used for decades and is considered completely safe.
All mineral sunscreens on the market are either micron-sized (like Waxhead), micronized or nano. Some companies advertise use of micronized particles but may still be using nanoparticles because nanoparticles are technically a finer version of the micronized form. The only way to ensure non-nano is if the company explicitly states particle size average and standard deviation, as noted above.
The main concern regarding nanoparticle ingredients is if they can pass through the skin into the bloodstream. We know of no well-controlled empirical experiments with evidence either way, but there hasn’t been a large amount of research, and so the issue remains undetermined. However, our stance is to ultimately rely on common sense, and as the use of nanoparticles does not increase sunscreen effectiveness significantly, we avoid nanoparticles in our products because there’s little reason to accept increased risks without corresponding benefits.
1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your sunscreen and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.
2. Buy safe sunscreen — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our sunscreens. Shop Safe Sunscreen here.
3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying sunscreen with questionable ingredients, please share this post with him/her.
We built Waxhead’s four modern, sun-safety strategies on traditional methods used for thousands of years.