Organic Suncare | How does it work? Better yet – does it work?
Block Island Organics specializes in mineral sunscreen that is 100% natural, pthalate free, paraben free, vegan, and not tested on animals – tests are for students, after all! We love the Block Island line because the products are non-comedogenic (so it won’t break you out), non-greasy, and lightly scented with fresh, natural fragrances.
We checked in with Block Island’s owner Lauren von Bernuth to get the skin(ny) on mineral suncare vs. the synthetic SPF’s that dominate the sunscreen market:
What prompted you to create the Block Island line?
We have a spa on the island, and being a summer spa surrounded by beaches, the sun and proper sun care is a big concern. We love the sun, but we don’t love the damage the sun takes on our skin. Our spa has been an “Eco Spa” since 2007 (Go Green!!) so we believe in putting cosmetics, creams, lotions and the like on our bodies that contain only stuff that’s good for us. We don’t live in a bubble, we’re not 100% vegetarian, one of us might even still drive an SUV… but we do believe in living a more chemical free life.
Our mission with Block Island Organics is to give everyone the right and access to a safe sunscreen that provides the UVA & UVB protection it should and doesn’t force you to wear questionable ingredients that are potential serious health hazards. We also believe that the sun is one of, if not the, biggest influencer on the health and appearance of your skin. So in addition to sunscreens we decided to add products that are specially created to combat and prevent the negative effects of the sun on our skin.
What’s the difference between mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?
There are mineral sunscreens and there are chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens mean a mineral ingredient (an ingredient that occurs naturally in nature) like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide sits on top of your skin and reflects and scatters the suns rays. The zinc and titanium provide a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Chemical sunscreens mean a chemical ingredient (a man-made chemical) or combination of chemicals work by absorbing the sun’s UV rays.
So which is better?
Well technically that is for you to decide, but we don’t like chemicals. Or perhaps better said, we prefer a life with as few chemicals as possible. So we believe in naturally occurring ingredients when they provide equal or superior alternatives to chemicals. We won’t sacrifice quality or efficacy for the sake of being natural but we believe zinc and titanium are actually superior to the chemical UV blocking ingredients found on the market and in most common sunscreens.
The active ingredients (meaning the ingredients that block the UV rays) in chemical sunscreen ingredients appear to penetrate deeper into the skin and have more questionable safety concerns than mineral sunscreen ingredients. There are conflicting studies on chemical sunscreen ingredients, some will argue they are safe and don’t accumulate in the body. Others studies say they are potential hormone disruptors, that they routinely generate free radicals due to sensitivity to sunlight, and that they have been found in mother’s breast milk. Both mineral sunscreens and chemicals sunscreens (with the right mix of multiple chemical ingredients) protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays, so we believe in going with the safer choice. These are the names of the most common active ingredients in chemical sunscreens: oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, and avobenzone. We don’t like that they are man-made with crazy chemical names and that they are potentially detrimental to your health. It’s not one application of a product or one bit of exposure to a chemical but a lifetime of increased exposure to chemicals that we think leads to increased rates of cancer and illness.
Weigh in! Have you tried mineral sunscreens?! What do you think?