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Organic Mineral Sunscreen: Your Skin's Best Defense

Hey there, sun-loving friends! It's time to slather on that sunscreen and soak up the sun safely. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the right one? Today, we're diving into the fascinating world of sunscreens and exploring the differences between chemical and mineral options.


Let's unveil the secrets behind these sun protectors and find out which one suits your skin and lifestyle. Get ready to glow and stay protected!


Chemical Sunscreens: A Closer Look:


Picture this: you're strolling through the sunscreen aisle, and you come across those colorful bottles promising SPF magic. Chemical sunscreens are the popular kids in the sun protection game. They work by absorbing the sun's rays, converting them into heat, and then releasing that heat from your skin.


To work their magic, these sunscreens utilize chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, and more. They're lightweight, easy to apply, and often come in a range of delightful scents. But here's the catch: these sunscreens often contain fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and several ethoxylated ingredients. While the harmful effects of parabens and phthalates are widely known, chemical sunscreens also contain several chemicals you should be aware of.

  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate are estrogenic and allergenic. These chemicals can mimic estrogen in your body and disrupt our natural hormones.

  • Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative used in sunscreen and is highly allergenic.

  • Retinyl palmitate can slow the aging of the skin, but also accelerates the development of some skin cancers if it comes into contact with UV light.

  • Para-aminobenzoic acid is not as commonly used in sunscreen today, but can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

When you use chemical sunscreen, your skin will take in all of the ingredients. Some researchers believe nanoparticles are absorbed by skin cells. When the nanoparticles heat up, they will accelerate sun damage. Moreover, certain chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, have been linked to coral bleaching and damage to marine ecosystems.


Enter Mineral Sunscreens:


Let's give a warm welcome to our mineral sunscreen superheroes, also known as physical sunscreens. Instead of absorbing UV rays, they create a barrier on your skin, reflecting those rays like tiny mirrors. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the star ingredients here, offering broad-spectrum protection without any need for chemical conversion. It's like having a trusty shield against the sun's rays, without any questionable ingredients.


Mineral sunscreens are typically gentler on sensitive skin and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions. The FDA has recognized mineral sunscreens as “much safer” for people who are concerned about their exposure to chemical ingredients. This makes mineral sunscreen ideal for people with sensitive skin, children, and people with melanoma. Some research has hinted that chemical sunscreens and the heat dissipation they cause can exacerbate melasma.


Plus, mineral sunscreens start to work the instant you put them on your skin, unlike chemical sunscreens which take 20-30 minutes to sink in. Moreover, they're also reef-friendly, so you can protect your skin and do your part for the environment. Now, that's what we call a win-win!


The downside to mineral sunscreens is that they can be difficult to use. They are often chalky, thick, and zinc-y. One easy fix to this problem is to add organic oils to your organic sunscreen. Safflower, argan, rosehip, prickly pear, and pumpkin seed oils are all great to soften the texture and make it much easier to apply. Rosehip seed oils can also help to diminish the appearance of sun damage!


The Dangers of Toxins in Non-Organic Sunscreens:


When it comes to choosing sunscreen, it's essential to be aware of the potential dangers lurking in non-organic sunscreens. Many conventional sunscreens contain chemical ingredients that can be harmful to both your health and the environment.


One particular concern is the presence of toxins in non-organic, mineral sunscreens. Chemicals like the ones mentioned above have raised concerns due to their potential to disrupt hormones, cause allergic skin reactions, and even be absorbed into the bloodstream at levels that exceed safety thresholds. Research has shown that some of these chemicals, such as oxybenzone, may accumulate in the body and have been detected in breast milk, urine, and blood samples.


Moreover, studies have indicated that certain chemical sunscreen ingredients, including oxybenzone, can have detrimental effects on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. These toxins can contribute to coral bleaching and damage the delicate balance of underwater ecosystems. In fact, some tourist destinations and regions, including Hawaii, have banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone to protect their coral reefs.


By opting for organic and toxin-free sunscreens, you can reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and minimize your impact on the environment. Organic sunscreens, particularly mineral-based options, use natural ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which have been generally recognized as safe and effective by regulatory authorities. These ingredients sit on the skin's surface, physically blocking UV rays without being absorbed into the body.


But wait, there’s more!


Dr. Johnson also recommends using Heliocare to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Heliocare is a powerful formula of antioxidants. Its active mechanism is derived from the Polypodium leucotomos fern. Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE) has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples to treat skin-related conditions and promote skin resilience. PLE provides protection against free radicals. Free radicals can damage the skin in their attempt to steal electrons from other molecules which cause direct damage to our skin’s DNA. Damage to our DNA results in accelerated skin aging. Heliocare prevents this damage by replacing the missing electron in free radicals.


Heliocare and PLE have many great benefits for the health of your skin:

  • PLE has been proven to act as a photoprotective agent- decreasing UVB damage to the skin.

  • While Heliocare does not impact the growth of melanoma, it has been demonstrated to reduce the rates of new nonmelanoma skin cancers.

  • PLE has been demonstrated to improve cell membrane integrity and elastin expression- which decreases the aging of the skin.

  • Heliocare and PLE have demonstrated the ability to protect tissue from sun damage and limit the inflammatory response that follows.

  • Heliocare has the potential for application in the treatment and management of skin disorders such as vitiligo, melasma, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.

  • The anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of PLE have also been shown to decrease the likelihood of immunosuppression in athletes following strenuous exercise.

Several studies have gone so far as to suggest Heliocare is nearly as effective as other photoprotective agents like sunscreen, clothing, and seeking shade. Heliocare is also a more accessible form of photoprotection, as you do not need to worry about reapplication or missing a spot- as the case with sunscreen.


This summer, while you're soaking up the sun, don't forget your sun care superheroes. While the organic mineral sunscreen protects your skin in the moment, supplementing with Heliocare will protect your skin from further sun damage while repairing damaged skin. To learn more about getting your best summer skin or Heliocare, please contact us!


The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!


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