What a beautiful day it is here in the South East – I am heading out in to the garden today but before I do I want to share some suncare information. I feel everyone should be aware of the following to be able to make an informed decision on which level of sunscreen to purchase for their skin and environment.

So are you sitting comfortably?

UVA 5 star rating

Do you know this scoring system is carried out by the retailer Boots who use their own method of measuring UVA levels? This is not an absolute measure of UVA protection, nor does this type of rating have any EU legislation. The rating is determined by the ratio between the UVA and UVB levels of protection in a sunscreen, this means that a five-star rating for an SPF 15 sunscreen offers less UVA protection than a five-star SPF 50 sunscreen, despite having the same star rating.

UVA causes ageing, while UVB causes burning. Both types of UV radiation can cause serious damage to the skin, but work in different ways. UVB penetrates the epidermis (upper layers of the skin), causing the skin to burn. UVA penetrates straight into the dermis (the layer below the epidermis), causing visible signs of ageing such as wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity in the skin.

I urge everyone to please, please, please check the ingredients that are used in your suncare and skincare products. Use the FREE unbiased ‘THINK DIRTY’ app and search or scan your products. Please also check that you using a product that features the distinctive UVA circle logo, which is backed by EU legislation.

Chemical Sunscreen v Mineral Sunscreen – What’s the difference?  

Chemical sunscreen works by absorbing and converting UV rays into energy on the skin, while mineral sunscreen sits on the skin, a bit like a shield, and reflects UV rays away.

Chemical sun screens contain oxybenzone. This chemical has been linked to cancer (due to the increased heat it causes – UV rays attract to chemical sun screen and convert to heat) and hormone disruption (I won’t get started on that one today though). It causes sensitivity and is the main cause of prickly heat.

Chemical sun screens are cheap to buy. They spread easily on the skin but take around 20-30 minutes after application before they start to work. They have a high absorbency level not only into the skin but into the blood. Children absorb 1.4 x more chemicals than adults due to their skin v body weight ratio. Chemical sunscreens are also toxic to the environment.

Mineral sun screens don’t react to UV rays. They are more expensive than chemical sun screens due to the process of making the particles spherical so they cover the skin easily. Mineral sun screens don’t convert to heat and do not increase free radicals. They are harmless to the environment. Mineral sunscreens are much better for sensitive skin. They contain zinc oxide which is soothing, causes no harm to the environment and is bio degradable. Zinc occurs naturally in the body and so absorption is not harmful.

I’ll leave that with you but if you are searching for a mineral sunscreen or chemical free skincare and make up then please do check out my Tropic here.