The Best Sun Cream

The best sun cream and how to know which one is for you. Its an absolute minefield out there and if you start really researching it like I have you'll find its actually quite a scary business and wonder if its best just to simply stay indoors, close the curtains and be away from all sunlight rather than apply a supposedly health damaging sun cream. Perhaps we should all live in a cellar as UVA rays which are the rays that cause aging, wrinkles, long term skin damage, are thought to be a factor in some skin cancers, can actually penetrate through glass). However of course we do not want to do this and this image screams out precisely why!

Stunning Beach with the back of a models hat

There is so much information regarding the ingredients that go into sun creams being hazardous to our health on the internet. Some of the ingredients can supposedly disrupt our endocrine system and affect our hormones and possibly cause cancer itself. In fact the FDA have actually removed 14 of the 16 sunscreen ingredients of the once approved ingredients. This doesn't mean to say they are not safe, simply the FDA are seeking more data to prove that they are safe.

The two approved ingredients are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dixoide which are amazing sunscreen blocks. You will find these in Mineral Sun creams (Physical Sun creams). However if you have ever used a mineral sun cream you will know that they are a lot thicker and not as pleasant to use and generally leave a white cast over your skin. Therefore it may put you off of applying this product and not using enough of it to protect yourself. However Titanium Dioxide is now used in nano particles that do make the product easier to apply, but then there is the worry that these are also absorbed into the skin. However these nano particles have not been proved to penetrate beyond the surface of the skin, therefore will be unlikely to put your health at risk. These physical sunscreens are also great if you have an allergic skin type.

Going back to the chemical sunscreens, the one ingredient that I have found to be highlighted to avoid is Oxybenzone. This is said to be absorbed in larger quantities into the skin than many of the other chemical ingredients and can possibly affect our hormones. A lot of the other ingredients are said to 'maybe be weak hormone disruptors and breakdown under UV light into harmful substances. However other chemical ingredients in the sunscreens are said to stabilize the ingredients from breaking down like Octocrylene. All very confusing stuff and difficult to know what to do when choosing a sunscreen.

All this information can make you anxious and want to find the best sunscreen that does not have nasty chemicals that breakdown under UV exposure and possibly turn into harmful ingredients that the body then absorbs. Most sunscreens have ingredients that help the creams penetrate your skin which makes it worse if the chemicals do break down into harmful substances. However as far as I can see there is not enough information to confirm that the ingredients are unsafe. The EWG
provides information on the 'trouble with Sunscreen ingredients' This account also gives details out on how the Danish EPA confirm the following:

'in the case of 16 of the 19 ingredients studied, there was no information about their potential to cause cancer. And though the published studies suggest that several chemical filters interact with human sex or thyroid hormones, there was not enough information about any of them to determine the potential risks to humans from hormone disruption.'

I wanted to highlight the Danish EPA's views as they are confirming that there is not enough data to prove that the ingredients in chemical sunscreens are unsafe. Here in the UK we do have the choice of the Chemical sunscreens and the Mineral sunscreens, so hopefully this article gives you the information to choose the sunscreen based on what you feel is most important to you.

I personally feel the most important thing to do as here in the UK the chemical ingredients have been approved to be safe so far, is to use is to use a sunscreen that you like. As if you like it you are going to be happy to apply and reapply. The repercussions of not using sun protection could be devastating. It is mainly the UVB rays that cause skin cancer, however some UVA rays do play a role in this disease. The main thing you want to look for in your sunscreen is the words Broad Spectrum, the UVA letters in a circle plus a 4- 5 star rating.

One of the highest rated sunscreens I have come across is the Lacura sunscreen range from Aldi. I have gone through all the ingredients and found that these particular sunscreens do have two of the new generation sunscreen agents in them along with Titanium Dioxide. Titanium Dioxide gives you complete UVA and UVB protection.

Lacura Moisturising SPF 30 Suncream

One of the new generation ingredients which I have detailed below is in the adult sunscreen along with some other good sunscreen ingredients.

Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate - Gives High UVA protection and is photostable (does not breakdown into harmful substances from being exposed to UV light). It also does not get significantly absorbed into the skin.

The ingredient below is in the Baby sunscreen along with the ingredient above and some other good sunscreen ingredients

Bis - Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine otherwise known as Tinosorb. Tinosorb is photostable, covers the whole UVA and UVB spectrum and is not absorbed in large quantities into the skin.

These new generation sunscreen agents allow for the lotion to have less chemical ingredients that are absorbed in high quantities into the skin.

These sunscreens come in at the most reasonable price £1.99. Yes you see correctly, one of the best rated sunscreens out there and you do not need to pay a fortune to get your hands on it. How very marvelous!

Another wonderful ingredient to look out for is Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL otherwise known as Encamsule. These ingredients again are new generation agents and are particularly photostable. I found information on Phamix confirming that there are studies that have shown that Mexoryl sunscreens maintain the majority of their sun filtering capability even 24 hours after initial application and protect against UVA rays. They do need to be combined with other ingredients to cover the entire UV range. So even better there is a mix of ingredients called Mexoplex which incorporate Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL and Tinosorb for complete UVA and UVB protection. This enables the ability to use less chemical ingredients that may be absorbed into the skin in larger quantities. Needless to say the products that have the above ingredients in will also have ingredients that protect you from UVB.

The range of products that contain Mexoplex are by La Roche Posay. These products are quite a bit more expensive than a lot of other sun protection but it is due to the new generation ingredients.  They do have an excellent new product for the face La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Shaka Fluide which gives incredible protection and is unbelievably lightweight.  So there you have it, hopefully lots of information to help you choose a sunscreen based on what is important to you and what fits your budget.

Do take a look at my YouTube Video 'Which Sun cream to use for your Face and Body' where I talk about a couple of other sun creams for your face that I also love, and if you like what you see I would love for you to subscribe.

Much love Nicola

1 comment

  1. Excellent, well done for all the research and making it easier for people to decide which sunscreen to use.