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There are two basic types of sunscreens — chemical and physical. Each work differently to block the sun’s rays.
Chemical sunscreens protect skin by absorbing the sun’s rays. They do this by seeping into your skin. This is why chemical sunscreens apply smoothly, without leaving a thick film, using active ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone, which are created by extracting and processing various chemicals from crude oil. Such derived substances are known collectively as petrochemicals.
The problem is that many petrochemicals disrupt endocrine and hormone activity, and what’s worse, they actually encourage UVA damage, deeper in the skin.
In short, chemical sunscreens protect the skin’s surface from the temporary discomfort of sunburn by simply passing the problem deeper, where it festers unnoticed until years later when dermatologists begin diagnosing serious skin problems including skin cancer.
Quite simply, petrochemicals weren’t meant to interact directly with humans or animals. The list of reasons is long and growing. Here are just a few of those known so far.
Compared to environmental contaminants in our air, food and water, chemical sunscreen produces exposure levels thousands to millions of times higher.
In the final analysis, do chemical sunscreens work? In the short term, yes, since most who use such products do avoid sunburn. However, they fail miserably for long term protection, evidenced by the fact that while per capita, inflation adjusted use of chemical sunscreens has quadrupled since 1975, rates of skin cancer per capita have tripled in that same time period.
Traditional sunscreens made from petrochemicals, even those marketed as “broad spectrum” or “for sensitive skin” or “baby safe,” simply do not deliver on their promise of staying safe in the sun.
The truth is that the only safe, fully effective sunscreens, both for short term and long term protection, use zinc oxide (not titanium dioxide, which contains a toxic heavy metal and doesn’t disperse UV energy as efficiently as zinc oxide) as their sole active ingredient.
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.