Herbal Sunscreen - Less is More

Sun puts you in a good mood, promotes joy in life, activates the metabolism and stimulates the immune system. Sunlight is essential for supplying our body with vitamin D. Vitamin D prevents calcium levels in the blood from falling. It is involved in the metabolism of calcium and phosphate and thus ensures healthy bone formation. Studies suggest that vitamin D may also protect against pathogens.

However, staying in the sun for too long without additional UV protection can cause painful sunburn and long-term damage to the skin. It can lead to leathery skin, wrinkles, pigment spots or even skin cancer. When sunbathing, as well as during extensive outdoor activities, sensible sun protection is essential.

Chemical UV sun protection filters

According to EU regulations, sunscreens must contain either chemical or mineral sun protection filters. Chemical sun protection filters penetrate the skin, chemically convert UV radiation into heat radiation and decompose in the skin. They are known to potentially trigger allergies, promote skin blemishes or make the skin hypersensitive to solar radiation (keyword Mallorca acne, sun allergy). Most sun protection products contain several sun protection filters in a complex, so it is hardly possible to find the allergy-triggering ingredient. In addition, chemical UV filters in the body have been proven to act like estrogens, affecting the quality of male semen or damaging DNA genetic material. The chemical UV filters that you should definitely avoid include:

  • Octocrylen INCI: (Octocrylene)
  • Oxybenzon (INCI: Benzophenone-3) 
  • Sulisobenzon (INCI: Benzophenone-4) 
  • Padimate O (INCI: Octyldimethyl PABA / Ethylhexyl Dimethyl PABA)
  • Amiloxat (INCI: Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate)
  • Octinoxat (INCI: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate oder Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
  • Homosalat (INCI: Homomenthyl Salicylate)
  • Enzacamen (INCI: 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor)

Chemical UV sun protection filters as an environmental problem

The mass use of sun creams and sun oils with chemical UV filters is having an increasingly destructive impact on our environment. For example, the chemical UV filter oxybenzone, which is contained in over 80% of sunscreens, does not dissolve in water and is not biodegradable. Rather, because of its high density, it sinks to the seabed and accumulates there on coral reefs. Researchers blame oxybenzone for coral deaths. They suspect that the UV filter covers the previously colorful corals with a film and discolors them. A 2017 study monitored the development of some coral reefs in the South China Sea over an extended period of time. Oxybenzone was detected in over 20% of all corals there. Strange deformities were noticed in the soft tissue of corals, some of which subsequently died. However, corals are generally very sensitive. They also suffer from increasing marine pollution caused by petroleum and rising water temperatures.

Mineral UV sun protection filters

Sun protection products with mineral UV filters are a better choice than chemical UV filters. These consist of microfine particles that reflect light like a mirror. Mineral filters are very well tolerated by the skin and are photostable, i.e. the reflective particles remain on the skin and have not been proven to cause any irritation or sensitization. Zinc oxide (INCI: zinc oxide) and titanium dioxide (INCI: titanium dioxide) are used as mineral sun protection filters. While titanium dioxide primarily protects the skin from damaging UVB radiation, zinc oxide offers the highest UVA protection. Zinc oxide is a very good broadband UVA/UVB absorber; it is considered the UV filter with the broadest spectrum.

According to the EU directive, all sunscreens should have UVA protection that corresponds to at least a third of the specified sun protection factor (this always refers to UVB). Mineral and chemical UV filters are generally not effective against cell-damaging infrared radiation. Plant antioxidants offer the best possible protection against IR radiation. They intercept free radicals, stimulate the skin's own repair mechanisms and prevent pigment spots.

What are the disadvantages of mineral sun protection?

Like chemical sun protection filters, mineral UV protection on the skin hinders the body's own production of vitamin D. It is therefore better not to use mineral sun protection products for long-term daily use. Mineral sunscreen is also usually harder to spread on the skin and leaves a more or less visible, slight whitening effect above a particle size of around 400 nm. This is why small, nano-sized mineral particles are increasingly being used, including in natural cosmetics. They are considered problematic and, according to the EU Cosmetics Regulation, must be labeled as “nano” on the INCI list of the packaging.

Why are mineral nanoparticles problematic as UV sun protection?

Nanoparticles range in size from 1 to 100 nanometers. They are insoluble and biopersistent, meaning they cannot be broken down in our organism. Due to its tiny size, nano titanium dioxide can penetrate the protective skin barrier into the dermis, enter our body and also the bloodstream, as a 2016 study showed. The probability is of course lower with healthy, resilient skin than with vulnerable skin of children, with weakened skin protective barriers such as neurodermatitis, eczema, rosacea or even sunburn.

Researchers have observed in animal experiments that nanoparticles can cause inflammation and organ damage in the body. Titanium dioxide in particular is considered problematic. In 2017, a French study in animal experiments confirmed a connection between nano-titanium dioxide and severe intestinal inflammation and even colon cancer. In France, titanium dioxide (E171) has been banned in food since 2019. To date, there have been no studies on the long-term effects on humans, neither for nano-titanium dioxide nor for zinc oxide nanoparticles. This means it remains unclear whether nanoparticles can be deposited in human tissue and have a toxic effect there.

Natural sun protection with herbal oils

Many plants provide protection against excessive UV radiation in their natural environment. Some vegetable oils therefore have a natural UV filter. Argan oil contains an SPF of around 3, olive oil has an SPF of around 5, jojoba, sesame oil and shea butter contain a natural SPF of around 6. An exception is karanja oil with an extremely high plant-based SPF of 30+. Vegetable oils with a high SPF offer high UVB protection, but only relatively low UVA values. They cannot therefore completely replace sunscreens with high broad-spectrum UV protection. But when it comes to light sun protection with sufficient UV permeability so that the body can produce enough vitamin D, plant oils with natural SPF are the ideal alternative.

This is particularly important for very sensitive skin. Sunshine Day Oil is ideal for everyday use. The Sunshine Day Oil is free from skin-weakening emulsifiers, fragrances and other additives. It is quickly and completely absorbed by the skin without leaving the skin feeling greasy. According to studies, the two main ingredients of Sunshine Day Oil, Karanjaöl and Avellanaöl, have an SPF of around 10+, Karanjaöl even around 30+. They absorb damaging ultraviolet radiation, have skin-caring, healing and antioxidant effect. The often underestimated, sufficient supply of vitamin D to the body is not affected. The sun protection is reinforced by plant antioxidants from schizandra, astaxanthin and sea buckthorn, which are able to neutralize the cell-damaging effects of infrared radiation.

They form a defense shield against free radicals, which are increasingly produced in the human body when there is excessive solar radiation and, according to recent findings, are mainly responsible for premature skin aging.

According to According to EU cosmetic regulations, sun protection products must contain either a mineral or chemical filter. Since Karanjaöl is a purely plant-based sunscreen that contains neither chemical nor mineral UV filters, no SPF may be stated on the product. For extensive sunbathing or sporting outdoor activities in the sun, we recommend an additional mineral sunscreen for increased UVA protection over the Sunshine Day Oil, depending on your skin type.

This applies in particular to sun protection in the snow. The sun is weaker in winter, but the rays are reflected and the skin also reacts more sensitively. Make sure that neither Nanoparticles and titanium dioxide are contained in your mineral sun protection product.

If you do get sunburned, avoid the sun - until the sunburn has completely healed. Help your red, irritated skin with cooling compresses and also provide it with moisturizing nutrients. The Anti-Pollution Moisturizer Serum based on aloe vera gel contains ectoine, which protects the DNA of the skin cells from damage. Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid provides deep moisture and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Purely plant-based antioxidants stimulate cell regeneration.

myrto Anti-Pollution Serum

Is a sunscreen with SPF 30 twice as effective as SPF 15?

A sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 10 still allows 1/10 of the UV radiation to pass through, i.e. blocks 90% of the UV radiation. SPF 15 blocks approx. 93% of solar radiation, SPF 30 blocks approx. 97%. At 98%, sun protection SPF 50 offers slightly more sun protection than SPF 30. By the way, there are no sun creams that do not allow any UV radiation to pass through. The product name  “Sunblocker” has now been banned in the EU because it is misleading.


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