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part 2: let's get physical

Firstly, I apologise for the late follow up to part 1...

Where I last left you (me hitting my head against a table) was at the end of a decent skin cancer rant and the beginning of a sunscreen safety dilemma.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me or regularly reads my posts that I am pro-sun protection. I love the sunshine, but I do so safely. This is partly because I understand the risk and the escalating statistics regarding UVR induced cancers, and partly because the gorgeous warmth of the sun gave me a skin condition which tore shreds through my self esteem for many years, and if I'm honest, still tugs at me now and then when I unintentionally catch my reflection.

I'm sure you can imagine my horror as I am exploring these skin saving ingredients only to learn that whilst they are pro-sun protection, many are not pro-skin (or body) health.

Here are some basics,

There are 2 primary UVR wavelengths that we seek to block, these are:

UVB- shortwave rays that cause skin reddening known as burning, though the damage these rays cause is more superficial, they still contribute to skin cancer and photo-aging.

UVA- long-wave rays, account for approx. 95% of UVR that reaches the earth's surface, due to ability to penetrate the deeper layers of our skin, these rays are primarily responsible for premature skin aging, & contribute to, and may even initiate, development of skin cancer.

Sunscreens typically fall into 3 categories, physical, chemical or hybrid- a combination of physical and chemical.

A physical sunscreen reflects UV rays.

A chemical sunscreen absorbs UV rays.

See the table below for a general list of common sunscreen ingredient inclusions, the UVR they protect from and if they are Chemical or Physical ingredients.

So what's the issue?

Whilst the information available is vast, the following chemical sunscreen inclusions are my main concerns,

Oxybenzone- this little nasty has been shown to penetrate the skin and enter into living tissues when applied topically, with one study resulting in 2% of a topically applied dose excreted in urine (Hayden 1997). It has been linked to endocrine disruption in both men and women, associated with endometriosis, eczema-like allergic skin reactions, & sperm alteration in animal studies.

Homosalate- this chemical is able to accumulate in our bodies faster than we can get rid of it, potentially becoming toxic and disrupting our hormones, namely estrogen, androgen & progesterone. More potential endocrine disruption from this nasty.. the implications of this on our health are huge.

Octocrylene- add a little UVR & this chemical is a monster at generating damaging free radicals. It is readily absorbed by your skin and may accumulate within your body in measurable amounts. Additionally, this one also proves toxic to the environment!

Cinoxate- this chemical is restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan, there is concern regarding tests on mammalian cells that show positive results for mutation, hence there is potential for this ingredient to act as a cancer causing agent.

Whilst this list is not extensive and there is plenty of research out there, I am stopping here... sadly, I could write pages.

When weighing up chemical ingredient potential risks against physical sunscreen ingredients that do not penetrate skin, such as zinc oxide & titanium dioxide, for me it's a no brainer...

why take unnecessary risks with your health... go physical!

x L

My sunscreen faves are below, these are not sponsored and don't stem from any bias, they are just my current go-to sun safety loves...

For the water babes

SUNFISH This little tin of goodness is the result of combining the passion and skills of a Beauty Therapist & a Herbalist. It is a local product, born in Burleigh Heads, a physical barrier to the sun containing Coconut oil, Bees wax, Cacao powder, Vitamin E and non-nano Zinc to give a chemically free, all natural alternative sunblock for your face... they have a vegan option too!

For those who want a little extra illumination


Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is a weightless fluid that combines 100% mineral filters with translucent color spheres for effective broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and an even, radiant finish. Water resistant for up to 40 minutes Boosts radiance for a more even, luminous complexion. Helps boost skin’s natural defenses to environmental stress Paraben-free and fragrance-free; non-comedogenic

With thanks to the following sources,

9. Permitted ingredients. (2017). Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

Can Increasing the Viscosity of Formulations be used to Reduce the Human Skin Penetration of the Sunscreen Oxybenzone? - ScienceDirect. (2017). Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

CINOXATE || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG. (2017). Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

Dunford, R., Salinaro, A., Cai, L., Serpone, N., Horikoshi, S., Hidaka, H., & Knowland, J. (1997). Chemical oxidation and DNA damage catalysed by inorganic sunscreen ingredients. FEBS Letters, 418(1-2), 87-90.

GHK and DNA: Truth, Myths, and Science of Sun Health by Biochemist Dr. Loren Pickart - Power of Copper Peptides for DNA Repair | Beware of Toxic Sunscreens, and Chemical Sunscreens Increase Cancer. (2017). Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

Hayden, C., Roberts, M., & Benson, H. (1997). Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. The Lancet, 350(9081), 863-864.

Sunscreens, E. (2017). EWG's 2017 Guide to Safer Sunscreens. Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

N., & Kim, A. et al. (2017). Study Finds a Link between Sunscreen Ingredient and Endometriosis. Women's Health Research Institute. Retrieved 2 August 2017, from

Yap, F., Chua, H., & Tait, C. (2017). Active sunscreen ingredients in Australia. Australasian Journal Of Dermatology.

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