What are the "best" sunscreen ingredients?



  • edited October 2016
    I did not burn with Invisible Zinc 27% Zinc Oxide :) It was PERFECT! YAY *victory dance* I was not out in the sun much, will test and report back. The sun here in Australia is truly horrid.

    And yes, unfortunately, Invisible Zinc gives me a white cast too. I am MAC NC15. All the high mineral ones and apparently Tinosorb will give you a white cast. You can purchase tinted ones, Invisible Zinc makes them too, but I find it difficult to get a right shade, especially the western ones usually make it too dark for my skin tone. I was keen to get Andalou 20% Zinc Oxide BB or CC cream but the reviews are that it is too dark. Instead, i will purchase the CC cream made by IT Cosmetics, which makes a shade close to my skin.
    Thank you for sharing ratzillacosme blog. I used it quite a lot. I am familar with Biore's sunscreen, i fear it will not protect me adequately this summer. I intend to give the Japanese sunscreen a go in Autumn and Winter... something dual purpose... whiten the pigmentation and protect at the same time. For summer coming up, it's serious white cast sunscreens only, I can't take the chance.

    Generally, with Asian sunscreens, I find that they DO NOT LIST the % of Zinc/Titanium. Korean sunscreen under my watch list is: Dr Estee & Innisfree Waterproof sunscreen. Both SPF50+ 
    For the Japanese sunscreens, you could try Curel, it is recommended by many dermatologists, pure mineral and good for sensitive skin types.

    My next sunscreen wish list is Total Block SPF65. It is a mix of physical and chemical sunscreen. Total of 5 active ingredients. More info here
  • Have you seen this BASF patented Zinc Oxide ingredient?

  • escherichia

    The Biore UV Aqua SPF50 you mentioned contains a couple of ingredients I don't want to use, like:
    - Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
    - Ethanol
    - Orange fruit extract
    - Grapefruit fruit extract
    - Lemon fruit extract
    - Perfume

    So sorry, but that's not a sunscreen I'm looking for, but thanks for you suggestion.
  • @Preciousia
    Are physical sunscreens safe? Well, they have been tested for safety and are approved, so I believe the conclusion of those reports, yes they are safe. However not in spray form, so I wouldn't choose spray sunscreens. Also sunscreens in spray form have very thin runny textures, which makes it almost impossible to apply 2 mg/cm2. That they are safe doesn't say anything about their efficiency, filters like Tinosorb M and Uvinal A plus are far more effective at blocking UVA radiation. And with physical filters it is more likely that you rub the product off.
  • edited October 2016
    Peter Thanks for sharing. You are right,  it is IMPOSSIBLE to get 2mg/cm2! I do think that spray sunscreens are a quick "lazy" way out. 

    Will look into Tinosorb M and Uvinal A plus, I've added some sunscreens with the chemical mix into my wish list.

    Peter  Do you think getting a more "water resistant" or "sport" version is better for physical sunscreen to get around this "issue"? I rated my Moogoo 24+% ZInc oxide 3/5 because it rubs off easily.

    Another question is if SPF50+ is made up of only Zinc oxide, that means the Zinc Oxide has been micronised. Is it better to use a non nano SPF30+ Zinc oxide sunscreen instead of SPF50+ Zinx oxide for better UVA coverage? I still don't know how to look at % of active for good broad spectrum coverage. esp without PPD / PA UVA ratings.
  • escherichia I'm have never been fond of Biore's sunscreen. I did recommend you on another thread:

    Kao Curel UV Lotion SPF50 PA+++ made with pure mineral sunscreen

    • Mix of Zinc Oxide of Titanium Dioxide, no chemical sunscreen filters.

    • Includes ceramides, good for dry skin.

    • No alcohol but contains silicones.

    • Japan Dermatologist's top recommended brand as it suits sensitive skin

  • An oldie but a goodie.

    The brains talk about different forms of sunscreen and why we need to apply our sunscreen x mins prior to going out in the sun.

  • @preciousia

    Difficult to say, a more water resistant product will stick better to skin, but could also cause more skin problems. An spf 50 may also cause more skin problems than an SPF30, simply because much more sunscreen actives are neccessary while the protection only increases from 93% to 97%.

    Personally I want a product to have at least SPF30, so SPF50 is fine. What I don't like is a product that's very difficult to wash off, most of the times it results in acne, red bumps or other skin problems. And inflammation is also very bad for your skin. I would definitely prefer a non-nano spf30 over a nano SPF50, if it was 100% certain the product didn't contain any particles smaller than 100nm. But in general non-nano isn't always 100% non-nano. If a physical sunscreen isn't extremely white certainly they did micronize the particles at least.

    Looking at the percentage of a sun filter doesn't tell you much about the UVA-protection. There are many additives (like aluminum hydroxide) than will boost the spf.The only reliable information is the term "broad spectrum" or the in-vivo UVA rating, like Bioderma uses. I've seen products with only Tinosorb that had extremely high uva/spf ratios of 0.85. 

  • edited October 2016
    @Peter ;Good point about high sunscreen = high risk. Knowing how sunscreen works.

    I see your point about SPF30 > SPF50 because of the size of Zinc oxide. It's baffles me how Invisible Zinc is able to get SPF50 without nanosizing their particles. Perhaps it is like you say 
    "A sunscreen may be considered non-nano if more than 50% of the particles are larger than 100nm. So theoretically still 49% could be in the nano-range?"

    It baffles me how only 1 company in Australia is able to get SPF50+ (TGA certifification) with pure Zinc Oxide, no other active ingredient. As a therapeutic sunscreen, they do not have to disclose their ingredients (like medicine) As a DIYer i know it takes a lot of zinc oxide to make SPF30, let alone SPF50+ (usually SPF60 equivalent in Australia). 

    From experience the SPF50+ 27% Zinc oxide gives very good protection! In all fairness, using the 27% Zinc oxide left me very white. So it can't be nanosized. It is not as the name suggest Invisible Zinc either but i was well protected. In comparison to using chemical + physical filters SPF50, i felt the heat on my face, all day. It was horrible. It resulted in sunburns... and i was not even out in the sun for very long.

    The Japanese sunscreens have very good sweat/sebum/water resistant formulaes! Something my Moogoo isn't very good at.  I'm nearly at the end of the bottle, i won't repurchase it as when it rubs off, i am not protected.  For us girls, we use cleansing oil to remove makeup, it melts all any stubborn sunscreen, it's not an issue. Without the right cleanser, you'll have a lot of difficulty removing it! Micellar water do not work. I prefer a sunscreen that protects and stay on...the "toughter to clean" problem i have dealt with and i rather overcome that issue than the other problem of the sunscreen not staying on. (I've evaluated this sunscreen property in my review of Mogoo)

    The other issue is no one really applies 2mg per cm2. So in reality only 1/3 or 1/4 of the SPF so the coverage is much much lesser than we think. so SPF50 becomes SPF17 or SPF12 only!

    I totally agree SPF≠PPD  Absolutely no correlation at all! Which is why i am reluctant to use high SPF Titanium Dioxide as i am concerned about UVA coverage... UVA is the major cause of wrinkles too. Yes, the same here in Australia, you can only tell with "Broad spectrum", the regulations here does not allow any advertising of PPD (even if the sunscreen has achieved the certification overseas)

    From experience, too i am sticking to physical only sunscreen for spring/summer (Sep-Feb). I do not feel the heat on my face when i use pure physical sunscreen, whereas where i use a physical + chemical mix, my face is "cooked" and still warm after washing it off when i get home.  

    @Peter What are the other factors to consider when evaluating a sunscreen? Have you tried Fallene's sunscreen Total Block or Cotz? I just got SPF40 Face tinted sunscreen sample from my Coolibar purchase from USA. It is a pure mineral sunscreen. 

    oh also got the "Australian" Blue Lizard from Coolibar. Blue Lizard is physical + chemical sunscreen SPF30+ containing Octinoxate 7.5% + Octocrylene 2% + Oxybenzone 3% + Zinc Oxide 6%.

    Cotz is pure mineral, active ingredients are:  3.8% Zinc oxide + 8% Titanium Dioxide.
  • @ preciousia - Blue Lizard is made to Australian standards, which are more stringent than the US standards, thus the name. Or that is my understanding of the reason for the name. What I do know for sure is the dermatologists here love it. 
  • @preciousia
    I use cleansing oils as well, when a sunscreen is very water resistant. But still it is more likely to get skin problems, with a very water resistant sunscreen. Dermatologist Zoe Draelos thinks some ingredients will seal the hair follicles leading to irritation of the hair follicle and eventually causing acne. 

    What I find important in a suncreen: it needs to have a pleasant texture (not too sticky, white, oily or drying), preferably it has the first 8 chemical sunscreens or physical filters, it doesn't contain fragrances, alcohol, citrus extracts, lavender, rosemary, oxybenzone, menthol, methylchloroisothiazolione, witch hazel, propylene glycol and it needs to have some anti-oxidants. I like airless packaging if the products contains antioxidants, and I don't use jar packaging. Because I live in Europe I can't try the products you mentioned. What I like are products like Avene, Uriage, Derma Sollotion and Uncover Skincare.
  • Question, other than Tinosorb which is a hybrid... Do ALL chemical sunscreens absorb UV and convert it into heat?

    This is a major consideration.
  • edited October 2016
    Another issue with sunscreens I noted, sometimes I need a gentle eye makeup remover to remove sunscreen properly ESP for The Eye area, the minerals get caught up in the corners folds of The Eye. In addition to cleansing oil.

    I believe in Japan, they have indoor and outdoor sunscreens. Similarly I will use sunscreens to that effect. If I am staying indoors, there is no need for that "water proofing" however if I am staying outdoors, so help me God... Give me a budge proof sunscreen.

    I recently got some blocked pores, I have not added anything new to the routine, perhaps the cleanser may be too mild. It is imperative we cleanse properly if we use these water resistant sunscreen!
  • edited October 2016
    @Lindygirl1960 it has 6% zinc, which is very good, and the mix of chemical sunscreen if able to boost the coverage without compromising the user friendliness.

    Depending of which part of USA you are. Some places are very hot & sunny like a Dessert... Is it Arizona?

    I shall try the "Australian" Blue Lizard sunscreen & report back :)

    Also got Uriage on the way, I will look into the other Brands you mentioned too Peter. Like I said, if you don't buying buying over the Internet, you can buy anything fr anywhere! Borderless shopping :)
  • edited October 2016
    What do you think of this sunscreen?

    Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 200mg/g, Octocrylene 20mg/g, Bemotrizinol 30mg/g, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate 40mg/g.

    • SPF 50+ sunscreen combined with ingredients that moisturize, smooth and soften the appearance of scars and other skin imperfections.
    • 20% Zinc rich formula provides SPF 50+ protection
    • Natural tint to help conceal skin imperfections and scars
    • Paraben and fragrance free
    • Ideal for post procedure application
    • Helps protect sensitive and traumatised skin from sun damage
    • Combination of protection and skin renewal
    • 4 hours water resistant
    • 5 effective ingredients specially chosen for their anti-inflammatory and skin repairing properties

              1. Vitamin B3 to aid in skin elasticity 

              2. Pro-vitamin B5 to improve skin's hydration and reduce inflamation

              3. Allantoin to help improve the skin's barrier function

              4. Aloe Vera to moisturise as well as help reduce irritation

              5. Vitamin E to help smooth scar tissue 

     Made in Australia.


  • @Peter What do you think of Octocrylene?

    You have ranked it #20 of your list

    • Photodegradation: None Hormonal activity: ? absorption: Yes free radicals: Yes photoallergenic: Yes 

    • EWG Hazard Rating: 3

    • Allergies: Relatively high rates of skin allergy

    • Reference: Krause 2012, Bryden 2006, Hayden 2005

  • edited October 2016
    by the way for "Therapeutic Sunscreens",  Australia's TGA approved 30 sunscreen ingredients.

    The other types of sunscreen are called "cosmetic sunscreen", they are regulatd by NICNAS, the regulations are not as strict and they are mainly for products like moisturisers with SPF where sunscreen is not the main functions.

    The difference is that therapeutic sunscreens have AUST L numbers printed on the product (like medicine). Also regulated are the claims made by therapeutic sunscreens vs cosmetic sunscreens.

    @Peter: Are all the top 8 ingredients you mentioned approved in Europe?
  • Preciousia,

    I've swatched ALL the Andalou 20% Zinc Oxide BB or CC cream on my hand. The untinted clarifying BB (really just sunscreen to me though) is really too white for me but I'm NC25, so it might do for you since you are NC15. It feels pretty moisturizing too. All the other tinted BB creams are too dark/orangey for me (except the 1000 roses one in sheer nude color IIRC) so you better not get it. You might look like a pumpkin. ;p
  • Peter, have you tried looking at Cyberderm?

    They seem to have good reviews (albeit slightly pricey).
  • @preciousia
    Well chemical sunscreens convert the UV-radition enery in motion or in other words IR-radiation. But even nano physical sunscreens mainly absorb uv-radiation. But for people with pigmentation problems all studies show any sunscreen helps, even the ones with the oxybenzone or OMC. Applying sufficient sunscreen and of course staying out of the sun is really enough. I would rather look at some ingredients know to reduce pigmentation like Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Licorice Extract, Glabradin, Mulberry etc. Also using exfoliants with Glycolic Acid should help. More potent options are Retinoic Acid, Azelic Acid and Hydroquinone.

    The listed ingredients of the Cancer Council Professional Sunscreen SPF50, looks perfectly okay to me, although they are only the actives not the complete ingredient list. Octocrylene, its a difficult one. It's a very stable ingredient, that improves stability of other ingredients and boosts spf. On the other hand it can be absorbed into the skin, high rates of allergy and it can generate free radicals, but free radical formation is a problem with many sunscreen ingredients. Not applying a sunscreen will cause much more free radical formation however. My ranking isn't that exact that sunscreen 19 is really better than sunscreen 20, but I would consider them okay. But I would rather have zinc oxide or the other 8 sunscreen ingredients. The main thing is to avoid ingredients like Benzyl Salicylate, Meradimate, 3-benzylidene camphor, Enzacamene, OCM, Padimate O and Benzophenone-3. Indeed the first 8 are allowed in Europe, only Uninal A Plus and Uvasorb HEB are not allowed in Australia. A product manufactured in the Netherlands Uncover Skincare Suncare SPF30 for example, contains only Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M. Derma Sollotion SPF30 only Uvinal A Plus, Uvasorb HEB and Uvinul T150. You're best bet to get sunscreens with these kind of sunscreen actives are the products formulated in France. Some large companies like Uriage, Avene and Loreal are formulating oke products. L'oreal products may contain the Mexoryl sunscreens, however they also contain many irritating ingredients and sunscreen actives like homosalate and avobenzone, so not 100% perfect yet.
  • edited October 2016
    escherichia  nah i won't use Andalou as BB CC cream as SUNSCREEN. thanks for confirming. I did read the reviews that it is too dark... so i'll go for the Korean ones or IT Cosmetics.  Shame... my italian friend in Canada said she really likes the Andalou one.

    Derm drilled into me pretty much... use a dedicated sunscreen. In Australia, i look out for AUSTL numbers so i know they have gone thru' the rigorous testing and are dedicated sunscreens.

    hmmm. never heard of Cyberderm before.
  • Preciousia,

    I came across Cyberderm from beauty editor.ca or something like that. Saying how the whipped texture (can't imagine it though) is great and has minimal white cast. It comes in a pump bottle so great for germaphobes but it's pretty pricey IMHO. 

    I actually think the Andalou's BB creams have great textures. But prob too dark for you or anyone below NC20.
  • And also the Andalou products contain citrus and sage extracts, many plant extracts are not a great combination with sunlight. Especially citrus extracts have been shown to increase pigmentation of skin. The Cyberderm Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF30 looks very good looking at the ingredients, but I guess it will be very white again.. Have you tried the Paula's Choice Mineral sunscreens? Although most people find them invisible on skin, I must say they look extremely white on my face. The only thing that works is applying the Skin Recovery SPF30 and than another layer of the Resist Super-light SPF30 (which is tinted).

    22% Zinc Oxide, Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Trimethylene Glycol, Methylcellulose, Tetrapeptide-21, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum.
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter thanks for looking thru' the cancer council ingredients. As a TGA approved sunscreen, they do not have to disclose the full ingredient list. Some do, but most don't. :( sometimes as a consumer, the only way to find out the ingredients is only after buying a product (and seeing it in the smallest font possible on a box/paper which you'll throw away).

    The Cancer Council protected me well enough during winter but now in spring, i got burnt 2x using this sunscreen when i went out during the peak hour. Each time i wore a wide brim hat/sunglasses. My pigmentation darkened as a result. The sunscreen expires in March next year. why did i get burnt? I applied thick layers as well. At least 1/4 tsp
    It's a sign how photo sensitive Tretinoin is making my skin, will hit pause for summer. 
    however when i use the pure mineral sunscreen.. no heat. no burn.

    Check out this review of Western vs Asian sunscreens. http://www.skinacea.com/products/sunscreens.html#.V-ZiVaJ95QK
    Yes, you are right Peter, it seems the French are ahead of their peers in the sunscreen game, also skincare in general! Any good Netherlands brand worthy of a mention? Is La Roche Posay any good? I used them for several years before switching to my derms' stuff.

    Peter, you've inspired this post:

  • Hi Peter,

    Don't know if you were addressing that question to me but...

    I haven't tried the Cyberderm yet (alr. spent a bomb on sunscreens) but someone on reddit noted that s/he was NC45 and had no problems with it. That was why I'd taken a mental note of Cyberderm sunscreens.

    I am eager to try PC's sunscreens though. But her products are also pricey. Sigh. I am thinking of trying Babo Botanicals at preciousia's rec. But it's low in physical filters so you prob won't like that. :(
  • FYI, NC45 is more on the dark side. I think men is usually around NC30-NC40...
  • escherichia  would you like me to send you a 2 sachets of 5ml Babo Botanicals sample?

    for Paula Choice, you can get their samples.
  • edited October 2016

    I have a product that is a Vitamin C with supposed SPF10

    the citrus ingredient have me very worried to use it in the day for fear of added photo sensitivity. I have emailed the company but they did not respond to me.

    can you comment?

    Avalon Organics, Intense Defense With Vitamin C, Sheer Moisture SPF 10, 1.7 oz (50 g)

    Active ingredients: 3.6% ZnO + 2.8% TiO2
    other ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice¹, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil¹, Coconut Alkanes, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin¹, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquioleate, Limonene, Polyglyceryl-3 Ricineoleate, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment¹, Sodium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter¹, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Rosa Canina Seed Oil¹, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (White Tea)¹, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract (Lemon Bioflavonoids)¹, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alumina, Aqua (Purified Water), Ascorbyl Glucoside, Calcium Ascorbate, Calcium Carbonate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Stearic Acid, Alcohol¹, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citral, Linalool.
    (¹) Certified Organic Ingredient
    Product is preserved with Sodium Benzoate
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