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Posts Tagged ‘mineral sunscreen for acne’

I realise that the timing of this post is a bit late with regards to summer, however I imagine that sun cream is still useful on sunny winter days (and if anybody is lucky enough, upcoming winter sports holidays) so here goes.

More recently, I have found that my facial skin is drier than it used to be. This has not always been the case – so I have been wondering if I have finally started to feel the effects of aging on my face and/or if this might be due to my use of chemical sun cream over the past few years. On Colin’s Beauty Pages, it was hypothesised that chemical sun cream might disrupt the barrier function of the outer layer of the skin (see link). I read his blog post prior to deciding to use sun cream on my face on most days, but given that it is far easier to buy chemical sunscreen I decided to do so anyway. More recently I decided that I would like to try out physical sun cream, but the challenge was to find one that I would like, wasn’t too expensive and preferably wasn’t tested on animals.

This review is for Aubrey Natural Sun Green Tea SPF30 sunscreen, which uses 12% zinc oxide and 5.6% titanium dioxide to provide UVA/UVB protection. As of October 2015, it costs £12.98 for 118ml and the ingredients are listed as follows:

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 12%, Titanium Dioxide 5.6%,
Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil*, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil*, Galactoarabinan, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter*, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil*, Brassica Campestris / Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Glycerin, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower / Leaf / Stem Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Leuconostoc / Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Gluonolactone, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Powder*, Xanthan Gum, Tanacetum Annuum Oil.

*Organic

Pros

  • Didn’t give me breakouts – great!
  • Rubs in reasonably well
  • It bears the EU “UVA” logo, so the UVA protection is at least a 1/3 of the given SPF
  • Unobtrusive smell – although it has a faint scent which reminds me of green tea powder. Strangely enough, I have tried their Natural Sun Unscented SPF 30 sunscreen and find that the smell is comparable, so I don’t think it’s the green tea in it which gives it the scent…
  • It has an expiry date on it – something which is surprisingly lacking on most sunscreens. I know that most sunscreens are supposed to last for 2-3 years if not opened and stored properly, but still it’s reassurance of some sort.
  • Water resistant for 40 minutes.
  • According to their website (accessed 25/06/2015), “our testing has shown that the average particle of micronized titanium dioxide in Aubrey sunscreens has an average size of 202 nm, or twice the largest size considered a nanoparticle, while the average zinc oxide particle is more than 1,000 nm, or ten times the size of a nanoparticle.” This is good if you are worried about the potential effect of nanoparticles penetrating the skin.
  • Biodegradable and Reef-safe – should you happen to go swimming in the sea with your sunscreen, you can be happy in the knowledge that you are not contributing to chemical damage of coral reefs.

Cons

  • It does leave a slight whitish cast. I find that it blends in quite well on my skin, however am not sure how it would blend on darker skin tones (e.g. black or south Asian). I have the impression that repeated application throughout the day reinforces the whitish cast.
  • The UVA protection could be better – it is less than equivalent to SPF15 as it bears the FDA warning for products that are broad spectrum with SPF values from 2-14. (See this FDA’s Final Regulations section via this link: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm). As it does bear the EU UVA logo, the UVA protection level must be at least 1/3 of the SPF so it probably offers a UVA equivalent of SPF10-14.
  • Repeated application – say, about more than 2 times – results in a sticky feeling. That having been said, this is meant to be water resistant for 40 minutes.
  • It is recommended that this sunscreen is used up in 6 months of opening. This is less compared to chemical sunscreens I have used (12-18 months).
  • You need to remember to shake the tube before use. When I first opened the seal on 1 tube I purchased, the cream seemed to have separated by a fair amount. According to the Aubrey Organics website, they don’t use “synthetic emulsifiers to bind the oil and water phases of our products” and “this does not mean the product is spoiled, nor does separation lessen the product’s effectiveness”. I presume that suitable natural emulsifiers don’t exist?
  • For this particular tube, I had to take off the top, squeeze it a bit to let out the air and then massage the contents a bit to mix it up again. I think that the fact that this was a new tube (possibly lying untouched in a warehouse for some time) might have contributed to settling and separation. After having used the tube for about a week or so, the contents seemed to be reasonably well mixed and I have no problems with separation.

I would buy this sun cream again as I’m glad to have found a mineral sun cream that’s within my budget and which seems non-comedogenic for my skin. In my opinion, this is a reasonably good choice if you are looking for a purely physical sun cream which is environmentally friendly and free of animal testing.

Given the potential for stickiness, I would recommend this as best as a facial sun cream on days when you are indoors for a significant part of the day, i.e. if you don’t plan to apply it too many times throughout the day. Otherwise, this is still reasonably fine on sunny outdoor days when one needs to apply really frequently.

Also, I am not sure if it would blend in well on dark skin – but this is because I do not have naturally dark skin so have not tried it out. Based on my understanding, this is due to the titanium oxide and zinc oxide usually present in (purely) physical sunscreens.

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