Organic Sunblock Vs Sunscreen
Which is Better: Sunblock Vs Sunscreen?
The words sunblock and sunscreen are often used together, but there are differences between the two. Many sun care products on the market today contain both. But what is the difference and which is better for you: sunblock vs sunscreen?
What is the Difference?
sunscreen vs sunblockSunblock (like the name suggests) blocks the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. It forms a protective barrier between the sun’s rays and your skin, and protects against both types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are believed to be more harmful as they penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers and can cause skin damage and premature aging. UVB rays affect the top layers.
The main ingredients in sun blocks are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Sunblocks are usually thicker than sunscreens, and form a visible layer on the skin’s surface, although there are some new products on the market that are not as messy and are almost invisible when applied on the body.
Both sunscreens and –blocks protect you from burning, but instead of blocking the UV radiation, sunscreen absorbs some of the UV rays. It is lighter and less visible when applied on the skin, or sometimes nearly invisible when compared with sunblock. Sunscreen, on the other hand, may contain different active ingredients, such as octyl salicylate, oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate. Sunscreens usually also need to be reapplied every few hours because the ingredients break down after some time in the sunlight.
Most sun protection products found in shops today contain both sunblock and sunscreen. If you are looking for a product that contains blocking ingredients, look for titanium oxide sunblock or zink sunscreen.
Biodegradable and Organic Sun Lotions
More and more people are turning to organic sun protectors as a safer alternative to traditional chemical-filled products. People with sensitive skin, who have had allergic reactions to some of the ingredients in normal sun lotions, are choosing organic skincare that avoids some of the most typical chemicals used in beauty products.
Traditional chemical sun lotions can also damage the environment. Biodegradable sunscreen is a new innovation that does not contain environmentally harmful ingredients. On many tourist beaches around the world the sunscreens and sunblocks that tourists use end up in the sea people swim in, and the chemicals they contain can be harmful to marine life, including the world’s fragile coral reefs. Biodegradable sun lotions are made with ingredients that are less harmful to the ecosystem and are better for the skin, too.There is also a good range of products if you are looking for organic sunscreen for kids.
The final decision on whether to apply sunscreen vs sunblock will often boil down to the intensity of the UV rays that you are expecting and the time of exposure. If you are going to be skiing or spending all day on the water then you probably need total protection whereas if you will be in the shade for part of the day, some sort of organic sunscreen should suffice.
What is the best organic sunscreen for kids?
A lot of parents are considering organic sunscreen for kids.
Anything you ingest or put on your skin can be absorbed by the body. These include toxic and harmful chemicals used for conventional sun blocks. Organic sunscreen for kids is safer and healthier for our children and babies because they don’t contain any synthetic ingredients.
Organic foods, beverages and cosmetic products have to follow certain standards set by the USDA National Organic Program to be able to legally bear the U.S.D.A. Certified Organic label. The guidelines and restrictions are listed below. Any product that cannot comply with each criterion cannot claim to be USDA approved.
- Synthetic ingredients must be manufactured or processed without the use of synthetic materials.
- All ingredients must be free from radiation. Products must not use ionizing radiation or be irradiated during production.
- Each finished product should contain at least 95% organic ingredients.
When looking for kids’ organic sunscreen it is also important to look into each and every ingredient contained in a bottle. This is to avoid any allergic reaction or contraindication for your children or infants. Although the ingredients are supposedly all-natural, some kids can be allergic to natural substances. Most organic sunscreen for kids contain the following ingredients.
- Oxybenzone is a natural chemical compound that prevents ultra violet rays from entering the body. It blocks the invisible harmful rays from penetrating skin.
- PABA or para amino benzoic acid is a non-toxic ingredient that is also responsible for filtering UVB rays from damaging our skin. It’s an effective ingredient that blocks the sun’s harmful rays but is also known to cause rashes and allergic reaction on sensitive skin. Kids often have delicate skin and might have adverse reactions to PABA. Check with your paediatrician before using organic sunscreen for kids that contain PABA.
- Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound but is an essential ingredient for sun blocks. USDA Standards dictate that a product needs to be 95% organic and natural making a little zinc oxide allowable. Zinc oxide isn’t absorbed by the skin which makes it quite safe for children.
Some popular organic sunscreen for kids are Sunbrella’s JASON, All Natural Baby, Soleo Sunscreen, Alba Botanical, and Doctor Robin for kids. They all contain SPF 30 except for JASON which is SPF 46.
It is important to consult with your child’s paediatrician before using any sunscreen product whether organic or inorganic. Always check the label for ingredients that can possibly cause allergic reactions or contraindications. If your child is experiencing any medical treatment or illness, it is better to consult with a doctor first before applying the sunscreen.
What are the dangers of sunscreen?
Most commercial suscreens and sunblocks contain chemicals that can act as hormone disrupters. BreastCancer.Org warns that:
Research strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in some sunscreen products may cause cancer in people.
It suggests that you avoid sunscreen or sunblock entirely and simply rely on using a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts. There is also compelling evidence to suggest that Vitamin D acts as a protective agent against certain sorts of cancer including breast cancer. One of the best ways of getting vitamin D is to allow your body to produce it from moderate exposure to sunlight. Using sunscreen or sunblock will stop the production of Vitamin D in your skin and can contribute to deficiencies of this essential vitamin.
What are the safest sunscreens?
If you plan to use sunscreen then try to find a safer one. The Environmental Working Group has found the European regulations are ahead of those in America as there is a wider range of approved sun protection ingredients that offer higher levels of protection than those available in America.
It suggests that consumers choose “mineral sunscreens” containing zinc and titanium, which do not penetrate the skin, in preference to chemical sunscreens that do penetrate.
The organisation also suggests that consumers steer clear of two common ingredients in sunscreen. These are oxybenzone and vitamin A.
Their recommendation is:
After reviewing the evidence, EWG determined that mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today’s choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. They offer UVA protection, which is sorely lacking in most of today’s sunscreen products. Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) is another good option, but it’s sold in very few formulations. Tinosorb S and M could be great solutions but are not yet available in the U.S. For consumers who don’t like mineral products, we recommend sunscreens with avobenzone (3 percent for the best UVA protection) and without the notorious hormone disruptors oxybenzone or 4-MBC. Scientists have called for parents to avoid using oxybenzone on children due to penetration and toxicity concerns.
They also propose a variety of brands that they have tested for various hazards. You can access the full calculator here.
Some of the best organic sunscreen brands in their assessment are:
- Hara Body Care Sport
- Burnout Kids
- Aubrey Organics Natural Sun
- Adorable Baby
- Loving Naturals
- Calafornia Baby
- Coola Baby
- Eco Skincare
- Elemental Herbs
- Kiss My Face
Their database has many more, sunscreens listed with a simple hazard score. It is worth looking at as even different varieties made by the same company may score differently.
There are local stores where you can buy organic products such as Trader Joe’s, Fruitful Yield, Wild Oats and Whole Foods outlets. You will find a lot of healthy and natural products in these stores including organic sunscreen. If you have a particular brand in mind and can’t find it at a local health store, you can probably find it online. You can purchase it online too and have them delivered straight to your door step.