What are the "best" sunscreen ingredients?



  • edited October 2016
    The graph shows the fraction of uv radiation that is absorbed, by using 1% of the active ingredient. It indicates how the active protects over the range of wavelengths, the higher and more uniform, the better the uv protection. So in the UVA range 320-400 nm, Avobenzone is a strong protector. However most sunscreen actives don't protect well in the range 370-400 nm. In that range Tinosorb M and Uvinal A Plus are the best, relatively they give better protection that zinc oxide. It's taken from Wang Principles and Practice of Photoprotection.

    You can also search on google for: sunscreen + absorption + spectrum

    The uncover is 39.95 euro (58 australian dollar) per 50 mL. The derma is 9.95 (14.70 australian dollar) per 200 mL. So yes, the Uncover Suncare is expensive, its almost the most expensive sunscreen I own. The white cast is almost equal to the Paula's Choice Calm sunscreens. Although Paula's Choice isn't very cheap either, its about 50 australian dollars over here. The body sunscreen of Uncover is 12.50 euro (18 aus) for 250 mL, so that one is really cheap.
  • What do you think of this sunscreen?
    EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 USD30


    For oil-free sun protection with just a touch of color, our lightly tinted UV Physical is a healthy choice. This chemical-free natural mineral sunscreen has antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. Water-resistant UV Physical withstands water, humidity and perspiration.

    • 9.0% transparent zinc oxide, 7.0% titanium dioxide
    • Antioxidants
    • Fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, sensitivity-free, chemical-free and noncomedogenic

    Active Ingredients: 9.0% Zinc oxide, 7.0% Titanium dioxide

    Ingredient Insights

    Linoleic acid: Antioxidant that reduces free radicals to help diminish the visible signs of aging

    Quercetin: Antioxidant that reduces free radicals to help diminish the visible signs of aging

    Thioctic acid: Antioxidant that reduces free radicals to help diminish the visible signs of aging

    Inactive Ingredients: Alumina, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Hydrated Silica, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Iron Oxide, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Octyl Stearate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Perfluorononyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylate 13/Polyisobutene/Polysorbate 20, Purified Water, Quercetin, Sodium Hydroxide, Thioctic Acid (Alpha Lipoic Acid), Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

    another derm sunscreen that has many other product range including SPF50.
    The Skin Cancer Foundation 
  • @preciousia
    The ingredients are good. Maybe Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, could be irritating to some. The claims of "chemical-free" and antioxidants are a bit misleading. All products contain chemicals, and it only contains a small amount of Quercetin and Alpha Lipoic Acid. But if it has a nice texture and isn't white, I think it's a very good sunscreen. 
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter thanks for explaining. That makes better sense. 

    I'm going to give Invisible Zinc a go. They use airless bottle for the 27% zinc oxide formulae too. 

    I really like how you said uncover refrigerates their product before sending it. The prices are exclusive of postage too right? $60 isn't so bad. I pay more for my derm's sunscreen.

    @Peter BTW, since you are a fellow Paula Begoun fan, i want to share her new blog with you. I have followed her on bloglovin. 

    She said: "I've been The Cosmetics Cop since 1984 when I went on the Oprah Winfrey show and she gave me that name. Since then I've written 21 books on beauty. I'm best known for my Don't Go To the Cosmetics Counter Without Me series. I also launched my own global skincare line in 1995 called Paula's Choice Skincare.
    To sum it up, this blog has everything I can't say on my Paula's Choice Skincare website!"

  • edited October 2016
    @Peter What do you think of the Tinted Invisible SPF30+ sunscreen? on sale now $20.69 instead of $31.99

    The light shade is one shade too dark for me, nice finish. See i have blended the light colour in the bottom of my hand. top part shows my skin tone without. the blobs are the color of light and medium.

    also bought the other 25% Zinc oxide Invisible Zinc. will comment and feedback on the white cast once my Mogoo runs out. 75g was $12.99 (after sale, normally $19.99)



  • preciousia 
    Oh, the blog is new to me.

     I didn't know mineral oil could degrade sun filters as Dr. Lens explains in the video you posted. Paula's Choice thinks it's okay, but I think if you use it for very long periods it actually dries your skin. 

    I remember Perry explaning in The Beauty Aisle:
    Why does it dry out after prolonged exposure: Since the top layer of skin isn't drying and flaking of as much, the basal layer never gets the signal to produce new cells. Normally a signal is send after the dead, dried skin cells flake of, which tells the skin the produce fresh skin cells (aka cell turnover). When you stop with petrolatum, your skin dries out and the basal layers has to hurry up and start producing new cells, but since skin feels dry people start adding more petrolatum.

    Do you know the complete ingredient list of the Invisible Zinc, and are the particles coated?
  • edited October 2016
    I am very keen on Invisible Zinc moisturiser that contains SPF30 and antioxidants housed in an airless container. 50ml RRP$35 so on sale now for $22.65

    Do you recommend using a moisturiser with SPF, than layering sunscreen over? my current day moisturiser does not have any spf.
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter. I don't think mineral oil is bad. It is an excellent occlusive as The Beauty brain have shared. It has no equal for its occlusive ability. The issue with mineral oil is that you need to have some "nutrition"/water" under it. It cannot replace good humectants, skin identical ingredients or plant oils. The cosmetic scientists understand it better than the docs. :P

    personally though, i prefer to avoid mineral oil if possible as i do not need that kind of occlusive properties on my skincare, i prefer to use Water binding agents / NMF (natural moisturising factors) / Skin identical ingredients like:

     * Humectants
     * Glycerin
     * Ceramides
     * Lecithin
     * Polysaccharides
     * Hyaluronic Acid
     * Sodim Hyaluronate
     * Sodium PCA
     * Collagen
     * Elastin
     * Proteins
     * Amino Acid
     * Cholesterol
     * Glucose
     * Sucrose
     * Fructose
     * Glycogen
     * Phospholipids
     * Glycosphingolipids
     * Glycosaminoglycan
     * Panthenol Vitamin B5

    From experience and a recent skin allergy all over my body, i switched over to a no petroleum body moisturiser and my skin is much healthier than before. Sometimes after a shower, i would use plant oils to lock in the moisture. It has worked out better than the mineral oil moisturisers i was using up before.
  • edited October 2016
    It is a pump bottle, but not completely airless. The point where the product comes out is open, real airless packaging even closes the opening of the bottle. Uncover, La Roche Posay Toleraine, Eucerin Ultra Sensitive and Avene Xeracalm have products with completely sealed containers.

    Invisible Zinc SPF30:
    Aqua, Zinc Oxide, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Xanthan Gum, Diazolidinyl Urea, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Citrus Medico Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Fumaria Officinalis Extract, Fumaric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate

    The product contains Diazolidinyl Urea is a formaldehyde releasing preservative that belongs to the top 15 allergens. And there's Lemon extract. I only want a sunscreen with good UV-filters, but also good ingredients.
  • edited October 2016

    Invisible Zinc did not disclose their ingredients.

    As each product is considered "medicine", their formulae is protected by TGA and proprietary. 
    Sorry :(

    All TGA sunscreens undergo very rigorous testing (not many international sunscreens here) and it is a costly affair. The good part is that they did disclose the % of actives, unlike the Asian sunscreens (different regulations).

    Some companies like Moogoo will disclose their full ingredient list. It's up to the company. Invisible Zinc has been sold, it was a local Australian company swopped up and bought by USA.

    Their sunscreen REALLY PROTECTS as mentioned by the reviews, and the rich buggers who own boats/yachts all use this brand. It's my summer defence. I'll be using their sunscreen.
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter it is a airless bottle. i have a bottle in my hands now and can verify.

    can you show me examples of this "real airless" container you mean?

    how did you find the ingredients? which SPF30 product is the one you found? the tinted one or the moisturiser?
  • edited October 2016
    This looks open to me, but it isn't very bad though ;-) 
    Because some product will remain in the opening (that will oxidize), almost no air will really will get into the bottle.

    Uncover for example is completely closed, it only opens when you press it... and see the examples of Avene and Eucerin, they only open when you press the product, they are completely 100% sealed.
  • edited October 2016
    found on COSDNA the tinted Invisible Zinc sunscreen ingredients:

    oh yes and the one you shared is the Invisible Zinc moisturiser

    what do you think of this one? Should i buy it?
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter regarding the airless container

    I understand now. Most of the airless containers are similar. They are still considered airless bottles. They limit the oxygen that oxidises product by 99%.  The Uncover packaging is something i haven't seen before. Haven't even seen that when buying airless bottles for DIY either, how extraordinary. Thanks for sharing that! It will really help extend the life of the antioxidant ingredients.

    My dermatologist new packaging are airless bottles have a mechanism to twist and "close". Slightly more complicated than the one you shared. I never realised the difference or product improvements.

    this is a pictorial of majority of my bottles used. despite the opening in the pump, they really help extend the life of my products.
  • edited October 2016
    Well I would not recommend Diazolidinyl Urea and Lemon extract.

    About the Invisible Zinc tinted sunscreen:
    Some studies show cyclomethicone, contains Cyclotetrasiloxane (search for D4) that has endocrine disrupting properties (see: http://www.hormones.gr/8548/article/sun-lotion-chemicals-as-endocrine-disruptors….html). But well I wouldn't worry about that, many products contain cyclomethicones, and they are considered safe, it looks very good.
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter. What about the Invisible Zinc tinted sunscreen, what do you think of that? They used Phenoxyethanol instead for the preservative.
    ingredients here: http://cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_cc0730476.html

    Invisible Zinc's US-based manufacturer Valeant bought Invisible Zinc from its Australian founder Ganehill Pty Ltd in April,  in April 2011. 

    "Under the heading Micronised (Not Nano) Sunscreens, the website explains that Invisible Zinc uses zinc oxide particles which are up to 50 times larger than the size of typical nanoparticles in some other sunscreens." Source

    There was no mention whether it is coated.
  • edited October 2016
    @preciousia ;
    The dermatologist bottles have interesting packaging. The products I mentioned will open due to the pressure of the product inside when you pump. The Avene product is packaged in a tube, but you need to press the product and then it will open sligthly, you can't get any air in, so in the end the tube is completely vacuum.
  • @Peter Have you seen much airless jars?

    I just bought this


  • @Peter My dermatologist sunscreen come in an airless tube. i know what you are talking about :)
  • Have you heard of this?

    Optisol™ OTP1 by Croda?

    Titanium Dioxide (and) Manganese Oxide

    Chemical type
    Metal oxide dispersions
    • Inorganic UV absorber
    Optisol™ is a novel inorganic sunscreen incorporating manganese ions into the structural lattice of titanium dioxide, thereby imparting key functional benefits unparalleled by any standard or coated material commercially available. It delivers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection with zero skin whitening. Generating up to 95% less free radicals than other inorganic absorbers and serving as an effective free radical scavenger, Optisol™ sunscreens deliver advanced UV protection.

    Not only are Optisol™ sunscreens capable of significantly enhancing the photo-stability of formulations containing organic UV absorbers, they also improve the UV efficacy of inorganic systems to provide a truly multi-faceted approach to UV protection. Cosmetically, this product is recommended for use in sun care, skin care and colour cosmetics.

    This looks like another physical filter.

  • here's another link to sunscreens i have yet to go thru' perhaps you guys can find some "gold" in there?
  • edited October 2016
    I bought the Invisible Zinc light tinted SPF30+ 

    Peter said the ingredients are good. so i got it before the last day of the sale, maybe hubby can use it too for our summer holidays, no white cast, not yucky and thick... quite "man" friendly. he is about a shade darker than me so this would be perfect for him.

    Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear, paid Aud$20.69 RRP$32.

    now i got 3 different Invisible Zinc sunscreens, face, body and tinted :P We need the protection for this summer when we will be out i the peak hours of the day. Getting him a hat too.

    ps: i emailed Invisible Zinc to ask them about the size of the zinc oxide and if they are coated. Also have asked them for the full ingredient list. Will update when they reply.
  • Wow, it comes in tinted versions too! And 2 different tints? I like the lighter tint. The darker one may be good for men.
  • edited October 2016
    @escherichia  yes the tinted versions are very cosmetically elegant. i will try on my face and test
    the other day when i tested on my hand... it was obviously too dark.. after i walked home and tried to take a photo.. it seems to have settle in and i can't tell the difference in shades.

    My Invisible Zinc collection now 

    my face is fairer than my hand though... so... will feedback. will test on hubby face too... he's kinda pale like korean... but still darker than me. :P
  • i got a question regarding PAO

    i only only recently learnt about PAO. Period after opening? My derm's sunscreen had been used infrequently... and it has been opened longer than 6 months. The PAO is 6 months more info

    it contains pure minerals sunscreen and i have only kept it in a cool dark cupboard.Any idea if it is ok to use. i forget how long i had it for. probably a year! Is it ok to use?

    • (Active: Titanium Dioxide 13.00%) Water, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Cyclomethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Cetyl Dimethicone, PEG-150/Decyl Alcohol SMDI Copolymer, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Red #6, Iron Oxides, Yellow #10.

    thanks! Learning some beauty stuff only in the last 12 months. Lots i don't know still.
  • edited October 2016

  • edited October 2016
    Want to share 3 Aussie sunscreens. Will find the full ingredient list if available.
    All prices in AUD.

    1) UV Naturals SPF30+ (they make a range including one for the lips)
    • UV Natural BABY SPF 30+ Sunscreen
    • broad spectrum 
    • 2 hours water resistant
    • For the most precious family members, UV Natural BABY is perfectly formulated to protect your baby’s soft and sensitive skin against sunburn.
    • A blend of calming and soothing oils and extracts act as anti-oxidants to moisturise and hydrate the skin.
    • · zinc oxide 24.8%
    • · zinc stearate
    • · grape seed oil
    • · macadamia oil
    • · natural vitamin E
    • · green tea extract
    • · grape seed extract
    • · colloidal silica
    • · iron oxide
     Product claims:

     The products are carefully formulated using naturally derived ingredients and zinc oxide to protect from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

    Light and pure, UVnatural is formulated to also moisturise and soften the skin. UVnatural products are Fragrance and Preservative free.

    Price: 50g $15.55 150g $34.10

    2) OCosmedics MINERAL PRO SPF 30+

    Product info:
    Mineral Pro SPF 30+ is a daily moisturiser that provides broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection. This lightweight fast absorbing formula dries to a clear finish. It also contains antioxidant resveratrol a skin conditioning peptide and a delicious vanilla fragrance. The broad spectrum SPF 30+ protection may assist to prevent solar keratoses and sunspots and reduce the risk of some skin cancers.

    20% zinc

    Price: $47 for 75g

    3) SunSense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50+ 

    Made by local Ego Pharmaceuticals 

    15% Zinc Oxide. Contains Niacinamide (Physical only, no chemical filters)

    The company advised : 
    "zinc oxide, is in nano particulate size. The particles are coated and are in the rutile (non reactive) form.

    SunSense Sensitive Invisible provides broad spectrum SPF 50+ protection and has 4 hours water resistance. It is a cosmetically elegant preparation, being non-greasy or sticky, non-shiny, and absorbing well into the skin."

    Price: 75g RRP$10.95 Sale $7.69 200g $18.95 Sale $12.99

  • Regarding SunSense Sensitive Invisible SPF 50+ 

    The company replied this in relation to my request for ingredients:
    "The SunSense Sensitive Invisible is a therapeutic product, listed on the ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods). We only list the active and preservative ingredients on the product label, while all other ingredients remain proprietary information. If, however, you have a known sensitivity to any particular ingredient, I would be happy to confirm whether or not it is in this product."

    i asked about mineral oil/petroleum based equivalent:

    They replied "The SunSense Sensitive Invisible does contain a low percentage of light liquid paraffin, a mineral oil"

    @Peter What do you think low percentage means?

  • Low percentage can mean anything. If you would be allergic to the specific ingredient, it means you can't use the product. In general if a company doesn't have an ingredient list, I don't even bother to have a look at it. It even frustrates me companies are allowed to list actives, and then just mention the other ingredients in alphabetical order. Also the fact that actives lower than 1% may be listed in random order, makes reading ingredientlists difficult. Take for example some products from paulas choice, some ingredients listed high up on the ingredient list, sometimes at the 3th or 4th place, are never added above 0.01 to 0.2%. This means all ingredients after that must be lower than 1%. In general I think most actives are added at extremely low concentrations at paulas choice, which is disappointing considering she does use very good well researched mixtures af actives.
  • edited October 2016
    @Peter I have no allergies to mineral oil, i was merely concerned about what Dr Lens said in in the video
    • tip: fastforward to 15:13 for the bit about mineral oil.

    I agree with you regarding the listing of ingredients in random order. 

    This "white washing" sometimes is quite misleading. 

    listing ingredients of higher perceived value higher up the list whereas listing ingredients like preservatives lower down the list ... sneaky

    I refer to a Korea vs USA way of listing ingredients. See this

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