Sunscreens and What You Need To Know

April 11, 2022
Organic Skincare

After gray winter months most of us long for sunshine and the warmth of spring.  As healing as sunshine can be, we need to make sure we are enjoying the spring rays safely.

UVB rays are in the solar spectrum causing a sunburn on a sunny day.  UVA rays, which are present even during cloudy days, penetrate deeper into the skin and cause photo-aging and hyperpigmentation.   UV radiation creates free radicals in the skin which damages the skins’ cellular matrix.

We need to be aware of protecting our skin indoors, as well as, outdoors.  Recent studies show digital screen technology emits very strong blue light waves.    Blue light has been found to cause hyperpigmentation and reduces the protective layer of the skin, which accelerates aging.

How do we protect ourselves both outdoors from UVA/UVB rays, blue light as well and infrared light indoors?  We must carefully choose the correct product to protect skin on a daily basis. Sunscreen is now a necessary part of daily grooming

There are two types of sunscreen on the market:  Physical (mineral) and Chemical.

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens are the most common and protect skin by absorbing UV light which is then released as heat.  They tend to be thinner and spread easily on the skin.

There are several downfalls to chemical sunscreens.

  • Application must be 20 minutes before sun exposure to be effective.
  • The protection offered depletes quickly when in direct UV light, therefore it is necessary to re-apply frequently.
  • Clogged pores may occur in oily skin types.
  • Several of the chemicals used in these products may cause allergic reaction, skin irritations neurotoxicity and detrimental hormonal effects.
  • Chemical sunscreens create heat on the skin.

Chemical UV Blockers

Common ingredients found in chemical sunscreen are listed below.  Many of these chemicals pass into the blood plasma.

  • Avobenzone absorbs UV radiation. It changes light energy into chemical energy which releases free radicals in the skin.  The protection degrades within one hour in sunlight.
  • Benzophenone is commonly found in chemical sunscreens and it is known to mimic estrogen therefore could have long term effects as a hormone disrupter.
  • Homosalate/Octinoxate commonly found in chemical sunscreens has been shown to be a hormone disrupter.
  • Oxybenzone has the highest percentage of skin penetration and enters the bloodstream. It can bioaccumulate and mimic estrogen in the body.  Studies show concentrations of oxybenzone in human breast milk.  Oxybenzone and homosalate may affect endocrine activity.   ( 2020)

Many of these are found in the blood stream ten times above the safe level and can persist in the body for three to ten days after application.

September of 2020 the FDA will be finalizing the monograph on sunscreens.  This will determine what ingredients can be used in the formulation of sunscreens.

Hawaii is the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens with coral harming chemicals like Oxbenzone, Octinoxate and Octocrylene as of January 1 2021.  Key West and the US Virgin Islands are following suit.

The FDA has approved only two ingredients to be safely used on the skin for UV protection.  They are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.

Physical Sunscreens UVA/UVB Protection

Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, offer both UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection.  The physical blockers are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  They sit on top of the skin and are not absorbed into the skin.  Physical sunscreens work by reflecting and blocking the sun’s rays.  There is no waiting period so protection is immediate.  Because physical sunscreens are inert they have a long shelf life and are less likely to cause skin irritations or pore-clogging.  Zinc Oxide is approved by the FDA as a Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection ingredient.

As a person with red hair and blue eyes, sun protection has always been very important to me.  The use of physical sunscreens is the only choice. They are clean, non-irritating and offer consistent protection against UVA/UVB rays.  Today’s environment presents more stressors than just UVA/UVB rays.  We now must protect against HEV (high energy visible light or blue light), infra-red and pollution.

Blue Light, Pollution and Infra-red

As I write this article on my lap top computer I am aware that my skin is being exposed to blue light rays.  With recent studies we know that blue light has been shown to decrease collagen production by increasing oxidative stress (Liebelet al., 2012).  

There is increasing evidence that hyperpigmentation stimulated by blue light is due to the direct stimulation of the melanocytes.  This is different than the UV mediated melanogenesis therefore regular UV protection will not prevent this.  (2017, The Authors, Published by Elsevier, Inc.).  Blue light waves have shown to reduce levels of the keratinocytes.  Keratinocytes make up 95% of the epidermis. That means that the liquid moisturizer or make up you use with a chemical sunscreen is not protecting you against these damaging rays.

Pollution and infra-red rays cause oxidative stress to our skin.  This toxic exposure creates an energy exchange in our skin which causes the damage.

Today’s environment and technology do not give us much relief from the continued attack to our skins protective layers.  As depressing as this appears, new technology does offer a solution.

Enviroscreen by Sunforgettable

Colorescience has developed Total Protection products which offer safe, chemical–free protection from the environmental stressors discussed.  The patented Enviroscreen technology helps ensure that the mineral sunscreen used in a powder form adheres to your skin and are well dispersed.  This has to do with the triple coating on the minerals allowing for a smooth, elegant application offering full protection.  Sunforgettable boasts the skin cancer seal of approval and the products offer the highest level of protection with SPF 50 Broad Spectrum.

The Enviroscreen technology is the only proven protection currently on the market to protect against the damage from blue light and infra-red.  Recent studies concluded that this technology was the most effective in protecting the skin from pollution.

In addition to the protection benefits offered, Sunforgettable products include skin hydration and skin calming benefits as well as advanced antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and inhibit infrared radiation.


A new decade is before us with new challenges. One of the challenges facing us is our changing environment with damaging effects to our skin.   Yesterday’s chemical sunscreens are no longer effective against the daily stressors we face and many of the chemicals used in these products are toxic to the human body.

Physical sunscreens of the past were known to be heavy and difficult to use.  They effectively protected skin from damaging UVA/UVB rays however, we are now faced with more environmental stress to our skin.  This includes UVA/UVB, blue light, pollution and infra-red light spectrum.

Thanks to new technology there is an elegant solution to keep our skin healthy and protected.  The Sunforgettable Total Protection products with Enviroscreen offer the daily protection we need for healthy skin in our new decade.

It is important to include this type of protection to your daily grooming.  So, place your Sunforgettable Total Protection next to your toothbrush and remember to protect, correct, condition and take care of your skin every day.  Your skin will thank you for it later.