Deciphering Sunblock vs Sunscreen

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DECIPHERING SUNBLOCK VS SUNSCREEN BY ANATO

You squirt, scoop, rub, slather your entire body. 

You play, you swim, you sweat, you hike. 

You reapply. 

You repeat. 

Basically, to get the job done right, you should be using a lot of your go-to sun protection. As a product that gets used so damn much, why is there still so much mystery and unknown about the nitty gritty of sunblocks and sunscreens. And yes - sunscreens and sunblocks are two different things! Up until last year, it had been decades since the FDA proposed new regulations on the marketing and formulation efforts of the sun protection industry.

So let’s dive into the need-to-know lingo that will help you keep your skin safe from the sun. Because even though we idolize the sun in all its glory - we are after all, a skincare line that cares about your healthy skin.

Sunscreen = This category allows the UV rays to penetrate the skin, but then the use of chemical filters alter the rays into non-damaging wavelengths. Generally rubs in clear.

Vs

Sunblock = This category of sun protection blocks the UV rays from penetrating the skin. This makes it a physical barrier. Mineral filters are used to create this physical barrier between the sun and the skin. Sunblock often leaves a white coat on your skin rather than rubbing on clear.

Physical sunblock vs chemical sunscreen by Anato

There are officially 16 ingredients in use as “active ingredients in over the counter sun protection. Let’s divide them by the two following categories:

CHEMICAL FILTERS = Are used in sunscreens. There are 14 chemical filters currently being used in the U.S marketplace, though the FDA has found 2 to be NOT generally recognized as safe and effective (1)

  • Trolamine Salicylate = NOT generally recognized as safe and effective.

  • PABA = Aminobenzoic acid. NOT generally recognized as safe and effective.

  • Oxybenzone = Currently under scrutiny for hormone disruption and skin allergies. It has shown a 109% absorption rate through the skin. Nearly ALL Americans, 96%, have oxybenzone in their system. It is found in breastmilk, as well.

  • Avobenzone = A study from January 2020 has shown systemic absorption of this ingredient from sunscreen application (2). The plasma concentration level was above the threshold deemed safe for use by the FDA. Not considered a hormone disruptor but has a relatively high chance of causing skin sensitivities.

  • Octinoxate = A study from January 2020 has shown systemic absorption of this ingredient from sunscreen application. The plasma concentration level was above the threshold deemed safe for use by the FDA.
  • Octisalate =A study from January 2020 has shown systemic absorption of this ingredient from sunscreen application. The plasma concentration level was above the threshold deemed safe for use by the FDA.
  • Octocrylene = A study from January 2020 has shown systemic absorption of this ingredient from sunscreen application. The plasma concentration level was above the threshold deemed safe for use by the FDA.
  • Homosalate = A study from January 2020 has shown systemic absorption of this ingredient from sunscreen application. The plasma concentration level was above the threshold deemed safe for use by the FDA.
  • Dioxybenzone = Rarely used in the U.S. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.
  • Cinoxate = Rarely used in the U.S. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.
  • Ensulizole = Rarely used in the U.S. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.
  • Mexoryl SX = Waiting FDA approval for use. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.
  • Meradimate = Rarely used in the U.S. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.
  • Padimate O = Rarely used in the U.S. Insufficient data to be considered safe or effective for use.

Vs

Mineral filters, like zinc-oxide, are the safest active ingredients for sun protection | by Anato Regenerative Skincare

MINERAL FILTERS = Are what is used in sunblock. There are two types and the FDA has decided that the cosmetic industry has enough information about both to deem them “generally recognized as safe and effective:”

  • Zinc Oxide = Is considered a broad spectrum filter and can be used in concentrations of up to 25%. According to EWG the safety rating is a 2 out of their 1-10 scale. Zinc oxide is generally in powder form, and inhaling the product can be dangerous (hence the 2), though it is likely the consumer gets the product in a non powder form, making it very safe and effective to use. There is less than .01% absorption through the skin. Non-nano zinc-oxide means the particle size of the zinc oxide is large enough to not be absorbed through the skin, making it the safest, and also causing a white coat to appear on the skin (3)
  • Titanium Dioxide = can be used in concentrations of up to 25% and has a rating of 2 on the EWG safety scale. There is no known potential for hormone disruption. The skin does not absorb it. And similarly to zinc oxide, it can


Anato Ocean Friendly Sunblock in Nude by @heyitslindsphoto

Inactive ingredients to avoid:

  • Methylisothiazolinone = A preservative banned in europe but still found in many cosmetics in the U.S, such as sunscreens and baby wipes. Found to be a skin sensitizer or allergen in studies.

  • Retinyl palmitate = Vitamin A. Used in the cosmetic industry as an antioxidant that combats skin from signs of aging. However, with over use, and particularly with topical use before sun exposure, it may contribute to the development of skin tumors and lesions. Recommended to NOT use a sunscreen with this ingredient. 

UVA = Ultraviolet A. These long-wave rays cause the skin to prematurely age. Overexposure may eventually lead to skin cancer.

Vs

UVB = Ultraviolet B. These short-wave rays cause sunburns. Overexposure may eventually lead to skin cancer.

Did you know SPF only refers to UVB protection? | By Anato

SPF = Sun Protective Factor against UVB rays. The number indicates how much longer one can stay out in the sun before burning. For example, SPF 20, implies you can stay out 20 times longer than without sunscreen. Of course, this will vary depending on skin type, time of day, and location. In general, SPF 15 filters 92% of rays, and SPF50 filters 98%. Any higher than SPF50 is deemed negligible and can actually cause people to be overconfident in their protection and not reapply as often as necessary. 

Vs.

Broad Spectrum  = Effective protection against both UVA and UVB sun rays. Both can cause damage to the skin and potentially lead to cancer.

Vs

UPF = Ultraviolet Protection Factor. Refers to how much sun penetrates through clothing. Similarly to SPF, the UPF is measured by a number. UPF50, for example, indicates that only 1/50 of the rays can make it through the piece of fabric.

Luckily, most surf apparel is UPF50+ by Anato Regenerative Skincare

So what does Anato do about all this info ? 

We've formulated a sunblock that contains the active ingredient non-nano Zinc Oxide to give your face SPF 50 protection. Our 'Ocean Friendly Sunblocks' is also Reef Safe, Waterproof for up to 2 hours and do not sting the eyes. Bonus: our sunblock doubles up as concealer! 

Other important ways to protect your skin from the sun:

  • Wear protective clothes
  • Wear hats & sunglasses
  • Minimize prolonged sun exposure during peak hours (generally between 10am-4pm depending where you live)
  • EAT your Sunblock ! Yes you heard that right. Grab our Free Guide to Eating your Sun Protection

To wrap it up:

For the safest and most effective sun protection, look for broad-spectrum mineral filter sunblock. Think non-nano zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. Sunblock will not actually be absorbed into your system, and thus will not have any unintended harm.

 

EAT YOUR SUN PROTECTION

References:

  1. Environmental Working Group. “The Trouble With Ingredients In Sunscreen” Accessed April 2020. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
  2. Matta, M. K., Florian, J., Zusterzeel, R., Pilli, N. R., Patel, V., Volpe, D. A., ... & Sanabria, C. (2020). Effect of sunscreen application on plasma concentration of sunscreen active ingredients: a randomized clinical trial. Jama, 323(3), 256-267.
  3. Smijs, T. G., & Pavel, S. (2011). Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens: focus on their safety and effectiveness. Nanotechnology, science and applications, 4, 95.

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