09 December 2010

Natural vs chemical sunscreens

A complaint some people have of natural sunscreens is the film of white they can leave on your skin - great for seeing the spots you missed but not so cool for the beach babe look.


One complaint some people have of natural sunscreens is the film of white they can leave over your skin - a great way of seeing the spots you missed when applying but not great for the beach babe look.

But why can’t natural sunscreens get away without any film of white altogether? What is the difference between natural sunscreen alternatives and their chemical counterparts?

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays before they can do damage. Usually, single chemical ingredients protect against either UVA or UVB, not both, so for broad-spectrum protection, you need to choose a chemical sunscreen containing multiple chemicals. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, and are more likely to cause irritations, allergies or other health concerns, and can degrade over time.

Most natural sunscreens work by forming a physical barrier and use opaque minerals to form a layer on top of the skin that reflects or scatters UV light. These sunscreens contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient and can offer effective broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Safe and effective

The extent of this white coating varies between products, but is minimized in the Badger sunscreen range, with its choice of micronised zinc oxide as the sun screening agent.

While non-micronised zinc oxide leaves a strong residue on the skin (like white paint), micronised zinc oxide provides better protection and appears less whitening when rubbed in. Badger’s micronised zinc oxide particles are a larger size than many other products on the market, therefore there’s less chance of it being absorbed into the skin and causing damage, and it’s currently coated with an inert silicone-based substance that helps make the formula safe and effective - even for young kids.

The Badger formula is creamy and pleasant to use, with its base ingredients of USDA Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter and the absence of petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, chemical emulsifiers and dyes. The mild natural fragrance is derived from pure essential oils.

Allow your skin to breathe

Badger sun blocks protect you from UVA and UVB rays, start working on application (no waiting), stay on skin when you sweat or play in the water (water resistant for at least 40 minutes), won’t run and drip into your eyes when you sweat and allows your skin to breathe. 

In a recent comprehensive study by the Environmental Working Group, some of the more natural sunscreens were found to be safer and more effective than their chemical counterparts, one of these being the Badger sunscreen range - voted number one in the Skin Deep: Safe Cosmetics Database.

Packaged in 65% Post-Consumer Recycled Tubes, Badger is environmentally friendly and is safe for marine life and reefs. The range is certified by Leaping Bunny, meaning not only are products not tested on animals, but none of the suppliers test the ingredients on animals either.

Renowned for their quality organic balms and remedies, the Badger Balm’s comprehensive sun care range consists of SPF 15, SPF 30, fragrance-free SPF 30, SPF15 lip balm, fragrance-free SPF 30 Face Stick, Bali (after-sun) balm and a winner for all travellers – SPF 30 Sunscreen and Anti-Bug Insect Repellent in one.   

- (Badger sunscreen range press release)

- (Health24, December 2010)

Read more:

13 summer safety tips
What is SPF?
Get the best from sunscreens


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Sleep better »

Most physical activities help you sleep better 10 tips for better sleep

10 reasons you may have insomnia and how fix it

Here are 10 reasons why you may have insomnia – along with possible ways to solve the problem.