Our complete guide on sunscreen, nanoparticles, aerosols and the word on broad spectrum.
How do sunscreens work?
Sunscreen contains one or both of the following types of active ingredients:
Chemical absorbers – These absorb UV radiation and stop it reaching your skin. On some skin types they can irritate and even cause allergies but there is also a concern as they potentially are
endocrine disruptors and skin penetration enhancers (which have implications for people in contact with other chemicals, such as agricultural pesticides).
Physical blockers- which are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, reflect and scatter UV radiation. They have generally been considered safer and more effective than chemical absorbers, are better for sensitive skin and renowned for their broad- spectrum UV radiation-blocking abilities. It was discovered that micronising physical blockers resolved that dreaded ghostly look these sunscreens gave.
What are nanoparticles?
Nanoparticles are particles with one or more dimension less than 100nm (where one nanometre is one-billionth of a metre). They exhibit different properties compared with larger particles of the same material, due mostly to the high surface to volume ratio, which can make the particles very reactive. There are some health and environmental concerns around nanoparticles because they’re able to penetrate cells in organisms, and their interactions with biological systems are relatively unknown.
Using spray sunscreens – Are they up to scratch…
They’re promoted as a fast and easy way to apply sunscreen, especially to wriggly kids and hard-to-reach places like your back and neck. But recent news has cast doubt on spray sunscreen products. The Cancer Council has stopped licensing spray sunscreen products because they’re concerned people don’t use them properly, and therefore won’t achieve stated SPF. The main problem is that people underestimate the amount they need, giving a light spray much like they would with insect repellent is not enough to keep you safe.
CHOICE clinical trials revealed that when testing an aerosol sunscreen only 40–60% of the can was sunscreen. So, what this means is when you spray out 10g, this is what most people consider enough time that they are spraying on their body, about 4–6 grams of sunscreen actually ends up on your skin. You may lose even more to overspray, especially if it’s windy or you’re spraying a small area.
You would therefore need almost half a can of aerosol spray for one full-body application. And you still need to reapply it every two hours. Something to think about when you decide what type of sunscreen you are purchasing.
The Facts – Are you sunning this summer the right way!
Australia has strict standards for sunscreen set out by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), ensuring that all products found on our supermarket shelves provide adequate protection from the sun. In recent years there have been concerns raised about the effectiveness of certain brands and customer research reveals that 55% of adults have experienced occasions when sunscreen has not worked properly.* It’s not clear, however, whether the problems arose due to the effectiveness of the sunscreen used, or because not enough was applied
- You may think that if you use sunscreen, you’re doing a good job of protecting your skin. Applying it isn’t the only thing that’s important, however. From choosing the right product to knowing how often to apply it.
- A bottle of sunscreen shouldn’t last through the entire summer. The cancer council recommends that you use about an ounce of sunscreen – the amount that could fit in a shot glass – to cover all the exposed areas of your body.
- Sunscreen should be used on all exposed areas, so don’t forget to apply it on the tops of your ears, the tops of your feet, the back of your hands and on your face, including near your hairline
- Don’t wait until you’re out in the direct sun to start applying your sunscreen. Most sunscreens should be applied about 15 to 30 minutes before you’ll be out in the sun, which gives your skin time to absorb them. If you wait until you’re out in the sun, your skin isn’t protected and could already start to burn.
- Don’t apply sunscreen once and then forget about it. Even if you’re using a waterproof sunscreen, it should be reapplied, at minimum, every two hours, because it starts to degrade over time.
Sunscreen should never be used as the only line of defence against sun damage. It is also important to remember that sunburn is caused by UV radiation, which is not related to temperature:
You should always remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide…
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible – this offers the best protection.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
What about the Little Innoscents Sunscreen?
I often get asked a lot of questions about sunscreen, and if we should use it or not. I am definitely an advocate for chemical/toxic free living and I ensure that I expose my children to the least amount of chemicals as possible. I do however believe that if you live in Australia, you simply can’t get away without using sunscreen. You just need to choose a safer choice.
The Little Innoscents Sunscreen uses zinc oxide to block out the sun’s rays and there are no nano-particles in our products. You can tell for yourself by rubbing the lotion into your skin – it is not transparent; therefore, the particles are bigger than nano. It also features soothing Vitamin E, organic green tea, cucumber, rosehip extract and zinc oxide which protects against UVA, UVB and even UVC. Best of all only retails $19.99 for 100mls and is free from preservatives so is suitable for the whole family.
The Little Innoscents sun lotion is safe to use on children from six months of age and may also suit people with sensitive skin. This unique formulation provides skin with essential protection so summer lovers can now feel safe in the knowledge that your skin will be cleansed, nourished and protected.
Little Innoscents products are Australian made with 100% Natural, Pure and Organic ingredients. Completely free from Toxic Chemicals, Parabens and all other little hidden nasties
Directions: Squeeze and shake well before use. Apply liberally onto dry skin and rub in evenly 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Apply enough to give a visible layer before rubbing in. Re-apply every 1-2 hrs, also after swimming, exercise, excessive perspiration and towel drying. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Wearing protective eye wear, hat and clothing is also recommended while being in the sun.
Warning: For external use only, keep out of eyes. Do not use on broken or damaged skin. If irritation occurs discontinue use. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Wearing protective eye wear, hat and clothing is recommended whilst being in the sun.
Sunscreen Active Ingredients Zinc Oxide 220mg/g
About the Author: Antonette Golikidis is the founder of the Little Innoscents range and is qualified in Health Sciences, Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. The greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid, however if you are concerned about the health of your child; please ensure you visit your healthcare professional also.
References for this information:
www.cancer.org.auJournal of Allergy and Therapy
Melanoma and Pigmented Lesions, An Issue of Dermatologic Clinics, Volume 30-3 1st Edition
British Journal of Dermatology, July 2008