Zinc oxide is a mineral that creates a barrier at the surface of the skin to block out the sun's rays. Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate conversely absorb into the skin (and ultimately the bloodstream). Chemical sunscreens act like a sponge, to soak up the UV rays and convert them to heat.
We've concluded that zinc oxide is the safest, most effective active sunscreen ingredient available. It is the only truly effective, single-ingredient, broad spectrum blocker, meaning it protects from UVA, UVB, and even UVC rays. UVB rays are associated with DNA damage and skin cancer. UVA rays are responsible for photo-aging, including wrinkles, roughness, broken capillaries and age spots. If a sunscreen is not marked as broad spectrum it will only protect against UVB rays.
Beyond human concern, we have opted for non-nano zinc to protect our oceans. Oxybenzone and octinoxate, octocrylene. homosalate. benzophenone-1, benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, and 3-benzylidene camphor can all affect corals' reproductive cycle, damage DNA, and worsen the effects of coral bleaching.
Oxybenzone is unfortunately extremely popular and is in most sunscreens in the US. In fact the US Center for Disease Control found that 97% of Americans have oxybenzone in their blood - yuck! This ingredient has been shown to disrupt normal hormone functions - yikes! Chemical sunscreens present further complications when they are sprayed as there are further risks associated with inhalation.
Why then is not all sunscreen made of zinc? To achieve an effective SPF value you have to use a lot of zinc oxide which makes mineral sunscreens far more expensive and whitening than chemical sunscreens. This is why cheap chemical formulas are so popular and ubiquitous.
It takes a lot more development and formula sophistication to create esthetic and inclusive mineral sunscreens. For us, the juice is worth the squeeze and after 4.5 years of development we are thrilled to share PROTECT, our non-coated, non-nano zinc oxide that blends in beautifully, for a transparent, glowing and protected finish.