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How Can I Find a Clean Chemical Sunscreen?

oxybenzone free sunscreen

There’s been a lot of talk about sunscreen chemicals, specifically which ones are safe to use in a chemical formula. Here, we’ll go over what you should know about oxybenzone and why there is such thing as a clean chemical sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreens have been getting a bad rap lately. Whether it be the fear that they are being absorbed into the bloodstream or the confusion as to whether or not there are any safe chemical actives in sunscreens, we’re here to help set the record straight.

And while people may say an easy fix is to just switch to 100% mineral sunscreen formulas, it’s not always that easy –– there’s a reason why chemical sunscreens exist. First off, chemical sunscreen formulas are more comfortable for certain skin types (usually dry ones) and they work better on certain skin tones (chemical formulas are the only ones that don’t have a white cast on deep tones). Secondly, they’re also ideal for certain situations and activities, particularly when you want a water-resistant sunscreen, like when you’re at the beach or swimming. Chemical formulas are also more breathable than mineral ones, which can prevent your body from sweating naturally, especially during exercising.

The bottom line is, we’re here to clear up all the chemical sunscreen confusion and present some chemical sunscreen options that are truly clean.

First off, let’s address this whole thing about chemicals being absorbed into the bloodstream…

You may have read some headlines that sound really alarming and scary about the chemical actives in sunscreens seeping into your bloodstream. Yes, it’s true that a study found that some chemicals in sunscreens were absorbed into people’s bloodstreams, but this fact is nothing new.

Furthermore, there’s no definitive proof or answer regarding whether or not it’s harmful for these chemicals to be absorbed. And just because something is absorbed does not mean it is not safe (think about the food you eat, for example!). If you’d like to know more about this study directly from our founder, Holly, click here.

Now let’s talk about what chemicals and ingredients you should avoid in sunscreens…

First of all, you should always avoid oxybenzone, which is used in many sunscreens as a UVA and UVB filter. This is an irritant and allergen that’s widely used in chemical sunscreens. It also damages coral reefs.

It’s also one of those chemicals that’s actually been proven to mess with hormones when it’s absorbed through the skin. It’s such a no-no that it’s been named the Allergan of the Year by the American Academy of Dermatology. Fun fact: Supergoop! was the very first sunscreen brand to launch without the use of oxybenzone in our formulas back in 2007.

Supergoop! was the very first sunscreen brand to launch without the use of oxybenzone in our formulas back in 2007.

Another ingredient that’s been talked about as questionable is octinoxate. A few scientific studies have been conducted to determine that oxtinoxate can damage coral reefs. We’re proud to say that while we already have a lot of octinoxate-free formulas, ALL of our formulas will be octinoxate-free by 2020.

A few other questionable ingredients include synthetic fragrances (manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s in their particular fragrance blend, so that could trigger a lot of allergic reactions), retinyl palmitate and parabens. Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products to prevent bacteria growth. The reason they are controversial is that they mimic estrogen in the body and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

We have never used any of these ingredients in our formulas and never intend to. In fact, we have a No List of ingredients that includes over 100 ingredients we have deemed too unsafe to use in our products. You can find it here.

And finally, let’s chat about the best clean chemical sunscreen options…

Now that you know what to avoid in chemical sunscreens, it’s time to talk about some of our clean chemical formulas that we’re super proud of. The first is our newest clean chemical launch, Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40. The chemical actives in this formula — avobenzone, homosalate and octisalate — are all clean and reef-friendly and have a low risk of irritating skin.

The next star product is our most popular sunscreen…Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. This totally invisible makeup primer works for literally every skin tone and creates the perfect canvas for foundation or just for soft, glowy skin. The chemical actives in this formula are avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and octisalate. (P.S. Even before the news surfaced that octinoxate may be harmful to coral reefs, we’ve been in the process of eliminating it from all of our formulas…so we will be relaunching an octinoxate-free Unseen Sunscreen by next year.)

Finally, another great clean chemical option is our first-ever sunscreen formula, Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50. It was the first oxybenzone-free chemical sunscreen, and it’s safe for a variety of skin types, from dry to combination to sensitive to normal.

Bottom line:

There’s no reason to eliminate chemical sunscreens from your life — you just have to be mindful of what kind of chemical sunscreens you use. Make sure to look at the ingredients carefully, know what they all mean and stick to using formulas that are clean, like the ones we’ve listed above.

+Have more questions about our clean chemical formulas? Leave them below!