What’s the difference between a mineral and ‘organic’ sunscreen?
We love organic – organic milk, organic eggs, organic aloe, but when it comes to sunscreens, we completely avoid the ‘organic’ active ingredients. When referring to sunscreen, the ‘organic’ sunscreens are REALLY the ‘chemical’ sunscreens like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate and other FDA-approved sunscreen ingredients that no ordinary consumer would consider to be organic. The advantage of using these ingredients is the ability to claim very high SPF ratings with minimal expense, ease of manufacturing and formulating, plus they do go on nice and clear, giving the customer the aesthetics they are used to. The disadvantages are huge, however. They are very unstable and can degrade quickly in high temperatures – like in your beach bag – so they require additional chemical stabilizers. They may also penetrate the skin and disrupt or mimic the body’s hormones. In addition, many of these ingredients have been linked to coral bleaching and aquatic toxicity. (Reference link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018/)
Why do you use Alumina? Isn’t it bad?
We use Alumina, not to be confused with Aluminum Chloride, which is often used in deodorants, cans, cookware, etc.
Alumina is a natural inert mineral. It is a constituent of many rocks and soils and is the third most abundant element on earth making up close to 8% of the earth’s crust. Alumina is naturally found in fruits and vegetables because plants absorb it from the soil. It is also naturally found in small amounts in ground water.It has been rated by the Environmental Working Group as ‘Good’ with a score of ‘2’, which means minimal risk to humans or the environment.
Alumina or aluminum oxide, its used to naturally enhance water resistance, reduce oiliness and increase transparency onto the skin. It is used in our Mineral Sunscreen SPF 20 for Face and Body and Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 for Body.
Is your sunscreen whitening?
One downside to mineral sunscreens is that they may whiten skin. Titanium dioxide, the mineral sunscreen we chose to use, is white, but we have optimized the formula to reduce that whitening appearance and heavy feel. To further reduce the whitening effect, you can apply lotion or make sure your skin is hydrated prior to applying.
We strongly believe that white is the new green! All mineral sunscreens will whiten to some degree. The particle size determines the intensity of the white appearance. The smaller the particle, the less white the appearance. The only way to achieve a truly clear appearance on the skin is to deliver the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in nanoparticle form, which is not safe for humans or the environment. So when using our sunscreen, rub it in well and feel good knowing you are choosing to do better for your body and the environment!
Will your sunscreen stain my clothes?
Mineral sunscreens are naturally whitening and may discolor dark clothing or gear. It will easily wash out with soap and water in most cases, and using an enzyme-based stain remover will help. For gear, a little soap and water plus a scrub brush will usually remove any staining or whitening.
Our tinted sunscreens use iron oxides for color, and like most mineral make-ups or other sunscreens, they can discolor clothing or towels. The best way we have found to remove mineral stains is to pre-treat with a stain remover, citric acid or lemon juice and let sit overnight before washing in the hottest water your garment can safely handle, and then air dry.
What do you mean by mineral sunscreens reflect rays while chemical sunscreens absorb rays?
Approved sunscreen ingredients come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each works differently to protect your skin from UV rays. The chemical sunscreens like methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone, avobenzone and the like work by absorbing into your skin and absorbing the UV rays. Besides the likelihood of irritating skin and the toxicity that has been associated with many of the chemical sunscreens, I simply don’t like the idea of putting something on my body to absorb something that I don’t want on or in my body. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top of your skin and work by reflecting and scattering the UV light away from the skin… Make sense?
So you use titanium dioxide. I thought TiO2 was bad for me too?
Titanium dioxide has gotten a bad rap for two reasons, neither of which is a concern for us:
1) When inhaled, it can have a similar effect as asbestos. We don’t use powdered TiO2 in our production facility, and don’t recommend that you play with it. You are not going to inhale our sunscreen and we’re not going to inhale the material during production. A-OK there.
2) Traditional sunscreen grades of TiO2 may not effectively protect against UVA rays. Ours does! Significant testing efforts in FDA-approved facilities show that our titanium dioxide provides long-lasting UVA and UVB protection. Used as a single active ingredient, our TiO2 exceeds both the European and FDA guidelines for UVA protection as well as FDA’s requirements for broad-spectrum sunscreen. Our dispersion is naturally derived and has been approved by Ecocert for use in organic and natural skin care products. Our sunscreens also show exceptional photo stability.
I read that titanium dioxide oxidizes in the water and harms marine life! Is that true?
The information provided about titanium dioxide and zinc oxides used in sunscreens, is correct as it pertains to nano-minerals. T1O2, (titanium dioxide), in its nano-form can harm aquatic life through this exposure. This is called, “photo-oxidation.”
It’s really important when purchasing mineral-based sunscreen that you look for “non-nano,” in the ingredients listing on the label and this is why. The nano particles, while they do make for a more sheer product for our use, can harm the beneficial organisms that make up the ocean. Phytoplankton in particular, are not just food for other organisms, they also attribute to a large portion of the oxygen we breath on Earth. Larger organisms such as corals and oysters also, for lack of a better description, can choke on the smaller particles in nano minerals.
NON-nano titanium dioxide, however, does not create a photo-oxidation.
You can read more about this here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3423755/
Do Stream2Sea products pass the Hawaii/Key West/Palau/USVI/etc, restrictions?
Yes, they do! All of our products are made with natural ingredients that do not harm or bleach coral.
For those who aren’t aware, Hawaii has passed a law that prohibits the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that harm coral, starting in 2021. Our sunscreens and other products do not contain these chemicals.
I’m sensitive to chemicals and zinc. Can I use your products?
What about zinc oxide?
Is your sunscreen broad spectrum? What does that mean?
YES! All our sunscreens exceed the FDA’s requirements for broad-spectrum claims, offering protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Unless your sunscreen is broad spectrum, it may only protect you from the UVB rays that cause sunburn. The problem is that the UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin – causing wrinkles and premature aging, as well as damage at the cellular level.
When you chose a sunscreen labeled BROAD-SPECTRUM, you are purchasing a product that has been tested by a third-party, FDA-regulated laboratory. A sunscreen needs to reflect (mineral) or absorb (chemical) at least 90% of the UV rays to be called broad spectrum. Although some suppliers have said that titanium dioxide does not offer broad-spectrum protection, all of our sunscreens exceed the FDA’s requirements.
Why don’t you offer an SPF 40 or 50+?
I still get burned when wearing sunscreen. Why?
Why are your sunscreens fragrance free?
If I use your sunscreen will I still be able to get a tan? Or once I have a tan, do I need to use sunscreen?
Why do you not offer aerosol sunscreens?
Is your sunscreen waterproof or water resistant?
The FDA no longer allows the use of the term “waterproof” when labeling sunscreens. In 2011, the FDA changed the regulations regarding how sunscreens could be labeled. Water-proof, Sweat-proof and sunblock were all removed from (compliant) labels, as the FDA determined these were misleading claims. Some sunscreens are certainly more sweat and water resistant than others, but NONE are water proof!
Under the new regulations, sunscreens must now pass third party testing showing how long the consumer can expect the SPF protection to hold up while swimming or sweating.
How is this done?
Human volunteers apply the sunscreen, then after its dry, they are immersed in comfortable agitated water for 20 minutes. They come out of the water for 20 minutes, then repeat for a total of 40 minutes of water immersion. The SPF is then measured AFTER the water immersion. This is the SPF that can then be printed on the bottle of the sunscreen that claims 40 minutes of water resistance. Very resistant tests would repeat until a total of 80 minutes immersion is reached..
All of our sunscreens, including our lip balm, exceed the FDA’s rating for 80-minute water resistance. When you are ready to remove our sunscreens, you will literally need to wash them off with soap and water. Another advantage to that enhanced water resistance is that if you sweat or swim, they won’t run into your eyes or rinse off in the water. Even so, you should reapply every 80 minutes if you are sweating or swimming, or every two hours.
Some of your products use Acrylates Copolymer. Is it biodegradable?
Acrylates Copolymer is a type of film former we use in our Mineral Sunscreen (SPF 20) for Face and Body and our Mineral Sunscreen (SPF 30) for Body that offers excellent long lasting water and rub-off resistance properties as well as improved skin feel at very low concentrations.
Although the polymers are not biodegradable, they absorb to bio-solids and are unlikely to accumulate in the food chain. They are also shown to be non-toxic to aquatic organisms on an acute basis with an LC50>100 mg/L in the most sensitive species tested. The acrylates we use are a large chain, large particle size that passed our toxicity trials. There are a few other ingredients we could have used for water resistance, but the natural ones are derived from pine, which we found to be toxic to the aquatic environment during our development process
Are your products vegan?
I’m going diving in an hour. Do I really need to put on sunscreen?
Does your sunblock contain nanoparticles?
Why do companies use nanoparticles?
But what is a nanoparticle?
The European Cosmetics Regulation defines ‘nanomaterial’ as ‘an insoluble or biopersistant and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm.’ These can be up to 100,000 times smaller than a human hair! The chemical make-up of a nanoparticle may be different from its larger physical form, meaning that it can react differently within a living system. The smaller the nanoparticle, the deeper they can travel into a cellular structure. Although manufacturers have stated that nanoparticles are safe, there are still multiple concerns among scientists. Some researchers believe that nanoparticles will be absorbed through the skin and can pass the blood-brain barrier. Nanoparticles in lip balms could be swallowed. If there is a break or burn on the skin, nanoparticles could easily pass through.
We know that every product we use on our bodies ultimately reaches the ocean. A recent study has shown that zinc oxide nanoparticles, even in extremely low concentrations, caused significant developmental disorders in sea life (link here http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b00345) When nano sunscreens wash off people’s bodies, they can harm our environment.
Our motto, when in doubt, throw it out (or recycle it J). We don’t use them. Did we already tell you that white is the new green?
Do you test on animals?
Are your products safe for use on babies/children?
If your baby is under six months old, always consult your doctor. Whenever applying a new product to your child (or yourself for that matter), it is always wise to spot test on a small area like the inner arm or thigh the day before you are planning to use it to make sure there aren’t any unknown sensitivities to any of the ingredients. If irritation occurs, try another product.
That said, our formulas are very gentle and mild and were formulated specifically to be suitable for children and those with sensitive skin.
Are your products gluten-free?
What is Sugarcane resin packaging?
We don’t like plastic either and are very excited to announce that we are using 100% recyclable tubes made from sugarcane resins.
When using paper products, cartons and brochures, we use eco-friendly inks and recycled papers including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified papers. FSC is an independent organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. When you see this logo, you can be confident that buying it won’t be harming they world’s forests.
Are your full-sized products refillable if I unscrew the cap?
They’re really not intended for re-use. We love the idea, but honestly, we minimize the number of preservatives in our products because they are the harshest part of a formula.
As soon as someone starts refilling an existing package, it opens it up for contamination.
If you want to refill from the bigger bottle (which we love), your best bet is to get the silicone tubes where you can boil them between fills.
Will your sunscreen make my skin break out?
We have sensitive skin too! Many mineral based sunscreens use oils to make them spread easier. Not at Stream2Sea! Because our formulas are water-based, you might have to spend a little more effort rubbing in our sunscreen, but they are not greasy and won’t block your pores!
Do you use Sustainable Palm Oil?
We partner with a company called Croda.
Croda is committed to reducing its contribution to deforestation and any resultant impacts on climate change and biodiversity through working with organisations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and with suppliers and customers to ensure tractability of critical raw materials back to suitably accredited sources.
Organizing an event or giveaway and want to use our products?
If you, or your organization, would like a one-time product donation for an event or giveaway, we would love to hear about it! In exchange, we need to be sure that you, and those receiving our products are educated on how to properly use them, as well as what makes them eco-friendly.
Interested in becoming a partner with Stream2Sea?
We’re always looking to collaborate with folks who are passionate about the Stream2Sea mission to #ProtectWhatYouLove. We have lots of different programs based on your influence and desired level of involvement.