What is natural sunscreen?
To understand what we mean by natural sunscreen, it is important to understand a little bit about UV filters. Ultraviolet filters, also known as sunscreens, are the protective elements that stop solar radiation from hurting your skin by reflecting, dispersing or absorbing UV rays. They are separated into two categories, chemical and mineral. Confusingly chemical filters can also be called organic filters (no this has nothing to do with being natural) and mineral filters go by the names of inorganic and/or physical UV filters.
Typically the chemical filters absorb UV light and convert it into heat energy that is then released from the skin. Mineral filters work by creating a shield on top of your skin that reflects and scatters the incoming UV rays. (It has recently been shown that nano-mineral filters also absorb the sun's rays, much like a chemical filter,to find out more click here).
Mineral UV filters are commonly referred to as natural sunscreens, as they contain minerals, either zinc or titanium, that can be found in nature. Normally the mineral UV filter is then mixed with natural organic ingredients, such as botanical oils and plant extracts.
In contrast, chemical (organic) filters are man-made substances created in a laboratory. Most chemical filters are blended into creams that contain both synthetic fragrances and preservatives. Typical examples of chemical UV filters include octisalate,oxybenzone and avobenzone.Recently the safety of chemical filters has come into question with research demonstrating how they may negatively affect both our health and that of the ocean.
To find out more about the different kinds of UV filters including nano-particles, click here.