Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreen

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreen

Shedding Light on UV Skin Care
While there is no denying that sunscreen is essential for maintaining safe and healthy skin, the debate over a chemical vs. physical active ingredients remains a source of conflict between skin care professionals and product developers. Cheaper and easier to manufacture, chemical ingredients, such as oxybenzone, continue to be a mainstay of drugstore and supermarket shelves despite safety concerns. And with complaints ranging from skin irritation to inadequate UV protection to environmental danger, it is becoming clear that when it comes to chemical-based sun care, the heat is on.
Inadequate Protection
Leading the list of complaints against chemical sunscreens is the concern over inadequate UV protection. Although the sun emits three bands of ultraviolet light UVA, UVB and the largely ozone-blocked UVC most active chemical ingredients only shield against surface burning UVB rays (the kind responsible for sunburns). However, studies of sun-related health problems clearly indicate that the deeper-penetrating UVA rays are far more dangerous to the skin. A suspected carcinogen, UVA overexposure has been widely blamed for the increased melanoma rate worldwide, a fact that has not escaped consumer advocates pushing for broad-band, physical sun protection.

According to Bettylou McIntosh, co-founder of CosMedix, UVA light suppresses the immune system, leaving the skin extremely vulnerable to free radical damage. This damage, she explains, not only poses a serious health threat, but is also the primary culprit in premature aging. When the skin is overwhelmed by free radicals, collagen and elastin often suffer.

Collagen and elastic connective proteins that help support the skin and maintain its formal degrade more rapidly with regular UV exposure. As these fibers weaken and unravel, the skin starts to lose form, causing lines and wrinkles to become more apparent. You really need a broad-band, physical blocker like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to prevent this type of damage,  McIntosh stresses.
Free Radical Generators
In addition to offering inadequate UVA protection, many chemical sunscreens have come under fire for containing ingredients that may actually help generate free radicals. While ingredients like oxybenzone and octocrylene may offer adequate UVB defense, these chemicals can also penetrate into the skin where they act as photosensitizers, actually increasing the skin's sensitivity to harmful UV light. This photosensitivity often results in increased free radical production under illumination. The popular ingredient para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) was banned for use in sunscreen after it was de-termined to produce DNA damage when illuminated. The European Union has placed similar restrictions on other potentially harmful ingredients.

According to McIntosh, many chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays to minimize their impact on the skin. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by reflecting light away from the skin.
Environmental Concerns
While consumer safety groups have largely led the charge for higher sunscreen standards, another, more recent complaint concerns not the skin but the sea. According to a study released in January 2008, four common chemical sunscreen agents may be at least partly responsible for increased coral bleaching worldwide. Cinnimate, benzophenone, parabens (artificial preservatives) and camphor derivatives were found to activate viruses in the algae that provide the coral both with its main source of food energy and its vibrant color. Once infected, the algae explodes, dumping the virus into the ecosystem where it can infect surrounding coral communities. With its energy source depleted, the coral bleaches and dies. Researchers estimate that an astounding four to six thousand pounds of chemical sunscreen wash off swimmers each year, destroying approximately ten percent of the world coral reefs. As a conscientious alternative to damaging chemical blockers, environmental groups suggest using biodegradable titanium dioxide- and zinc oxide-based sunscreens when entering fragile ecosystems like lakes and oceans.
Cosmedix Skin Care and Sun Products are Available at Suede Salon Spa and Body
Call Today for your Complimentary Skin Care 856-985-0700
Reflect $45.00
Serious Protection $42.00