Tag Archives: Sunscreen

Best and Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

You know you need to apply sunscreen every day to protect against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. You may even be an individual that dutifully applies sunscreen before heading outside no matter what season it is. However, there are some ingredients in sunscreens that could be doing more harm than good. We’ve rounded up a list of the very worst sunscreen ingredients that you should avoid at all costs, and their counterparts, the very best and beneficial sunscreen ingredients.

Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

Chemical formula of Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone
Oxybenzone is almost always number one of the list of ingredients you should be avoiding when it comes to your sunscreen. This ingredient is in your sunscreen because it is a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin more effectively. However, while it does help other ingredients penetrate the skin, it also absorbs into the skin and can create allergic reactions or eczema-like symptoms. Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst of what oxybenzone does. Skin care experts and doctors believe that oxybenzone circulates in your system and mimics, blocks and changes the level of hormones in your body.

Octinoxate
This is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen and like oxybenzone, it helps other chemicals be absorbed by your skin. Unlike oxybenzone, octinoxate is rarely a cause of allergic reactions, but it is still a dangerous ingredient. Most people wear sun protection in order to prevent signs of premature aging, but octinoxate may enhance premature aging as it creates free radicals. Additionally, octinoxate is another sunscreen ingredient that disrupts the hormone levels in the body.

Chemical formula of  Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate
Also known as Vitamin A, this ingredient is an antioxidant added to sunscreens. And while antioxidants are generally great for your skin, there is a major problem when it comes to retinyl palmitate. When this antioxidant is exposed to the sun, it breaks down and creates dangerous free radicals. Free radicals are destructive and may be linked to cancer as they are toxic to cells and damage your DNA. In fact, studies conducted by the Food and Drug Administration suggest that retinyl palmitate can accelerate the development of malignant cells and skin tumors.

Best Sunscreen Ingredients

Woman applying sunscreen

Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is an inorganic compound that protects mainly against UVA rays. When used in a sunscreen, zinc oxide is a very finely milled powder and famously results in the white cast that physical sunscreens often leave.

Woman pouring sunscreen in her hands.

Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is the other most common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is also widely used in the cosmetic industry and has a variety of uses. The reason that titanium dioxide is most helpful in sunscreens is that it actually absorbs UV rays produced by the sun. It is a highly stable sunscreen ingredient that helps your skin remain protected from the sun.

It does not matter if you prefer physical or chemical sunscreen, but it should be worn before exposing yourself to the sun. When reading ingredients be sure to avoid the worst ingredients to keep yourself as healthy as possible. If using  chemical sunscreen be sure to apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every two hours or after immersing yourself in water. And, of course don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine (safely!).

Vacation Beauty Preparation

You want to look your absolute best on your vacation, but carting around your entire skin care and beauty product collection is impractical and may even be impossible. To minimize the amount of products you need to take, you can prep your skin before you travel using some of the following ingredients.

Woman applying moisturizer.

Moisturizers
Moisturizers are especially important if you are traveling by airplane because the air in planes is so dry it literally sucks all the moisture from your skin. Prior to leaving, look for moisturizers with extremely hydrating ingredients. One of the most beneficial ingredients for hydrating your skin is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid not only adds moisture, but it increases your skin’s ability to retain moisture which helps combat the dryness of plane cabin air. Additionally, you may want to look for vitamin E, which helps add moisture to your skin. Aloe, while not necessarily the most hydrating ingredient, does help soothe upset and uncomfortable skin, so it can be beneficial to invest in a product containing aloe before you travel.

Woman getting an exfoliating session in a spa

Exfoliants
Part of what keeps your skin looking it’s best is regular exfoliation. If you exfoliate regularly, you remove dead skin cells and help unclog your pores. You also stimulate cell turnover revealing newer, healthier skin cells. It isn’t just your face you want to exfoliate, your entire body can benefit from consistent exfoliation. Products with ingredients such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid help gently exfoliate your skin and can be used daily if desired. Scrubs, such as sugar or salt scrubs, should be used no more than 2-3 times each week and are most beneficial for your body. Exfoliate prior to leaving for vacation to get glowing skin before you leave.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Sun Protection
Whether you prefer a chemical or a mineral sunscreen, the fact is you need to be using sun protection. You should be using a sunscreen every single day (yes, even in the winter), but it becomes especially important in the summer months when there is increased sunshine and decreased skin coverage. While sun protection is an ingredient to look for in your moisturizers or body lotions, this is something that you need to use before and during travel. Don’t forget to protect your lips using a lip balm or conditioner that contains an SPF of at least 15.

While the above are beauty ingredients you want to look for in products prior to your vacation, there are some ingredients you should steer clear of before heading to your destination. Avoid any ingredients that increase your sensitivity to the sun, particularly if you are headed someplace sunny. The exception here is if you require a medication that may increase sensitivity to the sun in which case you should continue taking the medication as directed and increase your sunscreen application. Also steer clear of products that contain alcohol. Some people think alcohol is beneficial to the skin, especially in a toner. However, while alcohol may cut through the oil in skin, it dehydrates the skin in the process which leads your skin to produce more oil in an attempt to avoid dehydration.

Pack travel size beauty staples to decrease the amount of stuff you have to lug around. Avoid using brand new products that you have never tested on your skin before to ensure that you don’t have an adverse reaction during your vacation. Always apply sunscreen, drink plenty of water and of course, enjoy your vacation. Bon voyage!

Sunscreen Active Ingredients Explained – Vine Vera Reviews

You know that you are supposed to use sunscreen every single day even during those months where the sun is scarce. Using a sunscreen protects your skin against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Damage can be in the form of sunburn, sun spots, premature wrinkles or even skin cancer. However, what you may not know is what exactly the active ingredients in sunscreen are or how they protect your skin against all of the aforementioned types of damage. We explain here what the active ingredients in sunscreens really do.

In a document that gives consumers important information about sunscreens, the Environmental Protection Agency states that “[b]road spectrum sunscreens often contain a number of chemical ingredients that absorb UVA and UVB radiation.” In addition to chemical compounds that provide sun protection, there are also physical compounds that work a bit differently and are frequently referred to as sun blocks. The physical compounds zinc oxide and titanium dioxide scatter, reflect and absorb both UVA and UVB rays.

Woman spraying sunscreen on her legs.

Chemical Sunscreens
The majority of people applying sunscreens are using a chemical sunscreen, and these are often the most recommended by skin experts. The compounds contained in chemical sunscreens are approved by the FDA include:

  • Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) – Provides minimal UVA protection extensive UVB protection.
  • Avobenzone – Provides extensive UVA protection and limited UVB protection.
  • Cinoxate – Provides limited UVA and extensive UVB protection.
  • Dioxybenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Ecamsule – Provides extensive UVA protection limited UVB protection.
  • Homosalate – Provides minimal UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Menthyl anthranilate – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octocrylene – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octyl salicylate – Provides minimal UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Oxybenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Padimate O – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Phenylbenzimidazole – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Sulisobenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Trolamine salicylate – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.

The good news about chemical sunscreens is you do not have to worry about finding one with extensive UVA and extensive UVB protection because the vast majority of chemical sunscreens contain combinations of chemical compounds so that you are as protected as possible. This is why they are labeled as broad-spectrum sunscreens. Skin care experts suggest using an SPF of 30 (or higher) and always making sure that it provides broad-spectrum coverage.

Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulders.

Physical Sunscreens
There are currently two active ingredients approved by the FDA. They are:

  • Titanium dioxide – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Zinc oxide – Provides extensive protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

One of the reasons that these active ingredients are not as popular as their chemical counterparts is the application, the appearance and the potential for breakouts. Still, these physical ingredients are beneficial protection from both UVA and UVB rays and these work immediately upon application whereas chemical sunscreens take about 20 to 30 minutes to absorb into the skin.

Skin care experts, while often recommending chemical sunscreens, remind you that the only effective sunscreen is the one that you wear. Choose the type of sun protection that makes the most sense for your skin and your lifestyle and apply before any sun exposure.

Top Summer Skin Care Ingredients – Vine Vera Reviews

Summer is seriously just around the corner and it is time to start re-evaluating your skin care routine. Sure, you may need some of the same products you use year-round, but summer skin does have a certain set of needs to be aware of. Here are a few of the most beneficial summer skin care ingredients to be on the lookout for.

Woman applying sunscreen.

Sun Protection
You knew we were going to say something about sun protection and sunscreen. And, you also know that you should be applying sun protection to both your face and body no matter what season it is. However, if you don’t follow the rule of year-round sun care, it is especially important to look for ingredients aimed at sun protection during the summer. The sun is out more frequently, the days last longer and you have more skin exposed in warmer weather, all of which add up to the fact that sun protection is an absolute necessity. Two of the most common skin care ingredients to watch for include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Oranges rolling out of a medicine bottle. Vitamin C Concept.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another skin care ingredient that is majorly beneficial during the entire year, but especially so during the summer. Vitamin C, when applied topically, aids in collagen formation and growth which helps keep your skin supple and radiant. Additionally, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study online that states vitamin C also helps prevent the formation of sunburn cells. Still, these are not the only benefits in using a skin care formulation that includes vitamin C: other benefits include improved skin elasticity, reduction of fine lines and visible improvements against photo-damaged skin (discolored skin).

Hot coffee in a cup with coffee beans scattered on the table. q

Caffeine
You may have noticed that caffeine is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient when it comes to skin care. There are a few reasons for this and the most relevant reason with regards to summer skin care includes the fact that caffeine has a sunscreen effect when applied topically. While caffeine mimics sunscreen and provide a bit of added protection, it is not a substitute for traditional sun protection. In addition, recent studies have found that when used on cells that had UV damage, caffeine was able to destroy the damaged cells without any harm to the surrounding healthy cells.

BHA representation.

Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHAs)
Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids are beneficial chemical exfoliants, but when summer rolls around it is usually advised to stick with a beta hydroxy acid exfoliant than AHAs. This is because many AHAs, such as glycolic or lactic acids, increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and BHAs do not. Using a BHA is helpful during summer because the warmer weather tends to lead to increased sebum (oil) production and a BHA exfoliant helps to clear pores of sebum and other debris such as dead skin cells.

Another important thing to remember during summer when it comes to skin care is to drink plenty of liquids. Not only does water help prevent your body from becoming dehydrated, it also helps keep your skin hydrated as well.

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen – Vine Vera Reviews

Woman with sunscreen on her back in a beach.

With summer approaching rapidly the importance of applying a sunscreen increases. And you don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into the brand you choose because sunscreen is sunscreen, right? Not entirely. There are actually two major types of sunscreens:  physical and chemical. Both protect against UV damage, but the way in which they work differs. Sunscreens do exist that are a hybrid of both types of sun blockers containing physical and chemical sunscreens. Vine Vera reviews both physical and chemical sunscreens to help you learn which sunscreen suits your needs best.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Physical Sunscreen
Physical sunscreens are also known as sunblock or inorganic sunscreen and are generally considered safe and are approved by the FDA. Physical sunscreens tend to be thick and may leave a white cast on the skin. The UV filters in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide; both are natural minerals ground into a fine powder. Zinc oxide provides complete protection from the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide protects against UVB rays, but not the entire UVA spectrum. One of the advantages to using a physical sunscreen is that it begins blocking harmful UV rays immediately upon application. Physical sunscreens work by blocking or deflecting the sun’s rays. While physical sunscreens do provide immediate blocking protection, they also rub off more easily than chemical sunscreens. Additionally, if spending an extended time in the sun, physical sunscreens must be applied more frequently than chemical sunscreens. A disadvantage to physical sunscreens is that titanium dioxide may increase blemishes on your skin. If mineral makeup causes you to break out, it’s most likely due to the titanium dioxide, and problematic skin may result from using a physical sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreen is also known as organic sunscreen and they work mainly by absorbing the sun’s harmful rays. Some of the UV filters used in chemical sunscreen work by scattering the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens are often more liquid than physical sunscreens, and can feel quite greasy on the skin. The possible UV filters in chemical sunscreen include:

  • 4-MBC
  • Avobenzone
  • Helioplex
  • Homosalate
  • Mexoryl SX and XL
  • Octisalate
  • Otinoxate
  • Octylcrylene
  • Tinosorb S and M
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Uvinul T 150

Some downsides to chemical sunscreen include the potential for skin irritation and damage, increased free radical damage and many of the filters have not been FDA approved yet. These UV filters have been approved in areas such as Europe and Asia. Additionally, chemical sunscreens tend to take more time to absorb into your skin. Dr. Craig Burhart, associate professor of Dermatology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was quoted in an article by the Wall Street Journal advises the use of physical sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens. Still, he says that the best sunscreen is the one that you actually use. He is quoted as saying “[w]hether it’s a chemical or zinc oxide or titanium dioxide product, I want you to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every time you go outside, and I want you to apply it every two hours while you’re exposed to the sun.”

The bottom line is that no matter what your preference is, to protect your skin you must apply sunscreen each and every time you head outside so you can enjoy the sun safely.