The Difference Between Physical and Chemical Sunscreens

sunscreen-foundation-500x375There is a lot of talk out there about sunscreens and the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens. While we all know how important it is to wear SPF daily, we don’t all know which type is the best personal option. The first step is to understand the basic difference between them. Chemical sunscreens basically work as a sponge absorbing UV rays, whereas physical sunscreens work like a shield reflecting dangerous UV rays. They both encompass different UV filters as well. In the physical type, the active ingredients that protect your skin are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. When we look at chemical types the list is much more daunting. It’s possible you will find: Octylcrylene, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Helioplex, 4-MBC, Mexoryl SX and XL, Tinosorb S and M, Uvinul T 150 and Uvinul A Plus.

Many of you reading this are already thinking chemical=bad. Are you right to think this? Absolutely. While titanium dioxide can be problematic for a very small group of people, zinc oxide is generally safe. It can be used on delicate skin and is a main ingredient in diaper rash creams. Chemical filters can be much more problematic and irritating for your skin. While others may react instantly, some may develop an allergy over time. Chemical filters can also generate free radicals which can cause skin damage, irritation, and premature aging. Fortunately, physical sunscreens can avoid this.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Natures Veil- EditedOnce formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Want to add additional antioxidants to your skin? Check out our Powerful Antioxidant Serum.

One of the main complaints of sunscreen is the white, pasty look it leaves on your skin and while we all understand the importance of SPF some of us just Natures VeilNatures Veilaren’t ready to accept pasty white skin into our lives. Fortunately, Dermaworks has considered all of the information above when designing Nature’s Veil, our specially formulated physical serum that offers SPF 30, and antioxidants. This broad spectrum physical SPF serum contains micronized titanium and zinc oxides, excluding all chemicals, fragrance, and parabens. (Click here to learn more about parabens.) This fabulous serum is tinted to avoid any pasty look and is fortified with vitamin C, E, and Ferulic acid. This must have product is available for purchase in store, or online at shop.

Still not sure what sunscreen is best for you? Book your consultation with our physician to discuss this topic further.

What are Parabens and How Do They Effect Me?

labelThe topic of parabens have been popping up in a lot of conversations lately. Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products; they stop fungus, bacteria, and other microbes from growing in your favourite creams and makeup, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom. Their names are a mouthful– methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. You’ll find them listed on thousands of personal care products such as shampoos, mascara, foundations, and body lotions. They allow skin care products to survive for months or even years in your medicine cabinet; however, they also enter your body through your skin when you use these products.

Reports have shown that these preservatives can mimic estrogen and disrupt the body’s hormone system. Cornell University reports that a high lifelong exposure to estrogen can increase breast cancer risk. Estrogen, and synthetic chemicals that act like estrogen, play a role in stimulating the division of breast cells and affect other hormones that stimulate breast cell division. Your body does not easily break down synthetic estrogen, and it can accumulate in fat cells, including breast tissue. In 2004, a study by the University of Reading in the United Kingdom found concentrations of parabens, particularly methylparaben, in human breast tumors. The study examined only the presence of the preservatives in the tumors but did not determine that they were the cause of the tumors.

The ability of parabens to mimic other hormones makes them endocrine disruptors, substances that adversely affect the endocrine system. The endocrine system releases hormones into the bloodstream and is involved in a number of functions related to reproduction, waste elimination, digestion and metabolism. Endocrine disruptors can lead to early puberty in adolescent girls and boys, as reported by the New York Times. Endocrinologists have observed the average age of puberty decreasing in the past several decades and have seen girls as young as eight exhibit breast development and pubic hair growth. Endocrine disrupters can also lead to testicular enlargement and breast development in young boys.

On top of serious issues like those listed above, many products that come into contact with skin contain parabens, which often cause irritation of the skin. This is particularly true for adults, children or babies with sensitive skin. If you or your child has sensitive skin you may find that moisturizers, shampoos, and bath products, which contain these disrupters, may be causing the skin problems. Common skin problems associated with parabens include dermatitis, rosacea and other allergic reactions.

I bet your running to your bathroom now to read all the ingredients in your skincare products, and that’s good! Knowing what’s in your products is the first step to a healthy and safe skin care regime. At Dermaworks we care about your health. Our line of medical grade skincare are all paraben-free (well almost!) One product you’ll find on our shelves does contain a paraben, but for good reason. Our Firm and Protect Eye Cream contains a very small amount of parabens. Why? Because what you’re putting around your eyes matter. We need to be sure it’s completely bacteria free.

Ready to ditch your old products and replace them with paraben-free ones? Our products are available for purchase in store or online. Questions? Give us a call.


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