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Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide: The Ultimate in Physical Blockers


Remember the white noses that lifeguards sported in the 1960s and 1970s? The white cream was usually a zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide-based sunscreen. It protected their noses by creating a physical barrier between their skin and the sun’s rays. Such physical blocking of the sun’s UV rays is an effective way to protect yourself from skin damage caused by the sun. The downfall was that the cream was a thick, greasy paste that caste a white sheen on the skin and no one really liked using it.

That’s not the case anymore. Through years of research, scientists at Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen have created a high-grade formula that is non-greasy and invisible when applied to the skin. All Blue Lizard products contain this formulation of zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide is available in several grades — Blue Lizard Sunscreen uses the very high-grade zinc oxide, which is preferred for pharmaceutical dermatology products. It is the only one of its kind recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Category I skin protectant. Because of its high quality, it is classified as USP (pharmaceutical) grade, a higher rating than cosmetic-grade zinc oxide. And, Blue Lizard’s zinc oxide is also recognized as a diaper rash treatment by the FDA.

Titanium dioxide is another physical blocking agent that is used in Blue Lizard products for sensitive skin and babies. It has a high refractive index, which enhances its stability and ability to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays. 

The sun produces two kinds of rays that are harmful to the skin — UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect your skin from both types of UV rays and together provide effective broad-spectrum protection. For people with sensitive skin, absorption of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can sometimes cause irritation. But with Blue Lizard, the particle sizes of both minerals are too large to penetrate the skin, so Blue Lizard products are safe to use for even the most sensitive skin.

Another important feature in a sunscreen is its ability to be stable over time in the sun. Some sunscreens require solvents or photo stabilizers to circumvent this problem. Blue Lizard’s formulation does not. Blue Lizard was originally created in Australia, which has the highest sunscreen standards in the world. 



Decoding a Sunscreen Label

With so many different types and brands of sunscreens available on the market, it can be confusing to know which one is right for you. It’s important not to fall for fancy packaging and false claims pictured on products but instead to know how to read a sunscreen label and to know exactly what you are getting.

To make it easier for consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has simplified the rules for sunscreen labels. The primary guidelines concern Sun Protection Factor (SPF), broad spectrum coverage and water resistance. There is additional information on the labels to help you narrow your choice.


SPF is a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before the skin starts to burn.  The FDA recommends that consumers look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. But keep in mind, no matter what the SPF, sunscreens start to lose effectiveness over time, so it’s important to reapply every two hours and after swimming or heavy sweating.  Also note that in sunscreens above SPF 50, the amount of additional sun protection is negligible.

Broad spectrum

It’s essential for your sunscreen to offer broad spectrum protection, which means that it offers effective protection against both UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, the solar wavelengths proven to damage the skin. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB, and are the chief cause of wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging. UVB rays damage the skin’s upper surface and are the main cause of sunburn. Both can cause skin cancer.

Water resistance

The FDA has forbidden companies from claiming their products are “waterproof” or that they provide “all-day protection” on any sunscreen packaging, since no sunscreen is fully water- or sweat-proof. The terms “water-resistant” and “sweat-resistant” indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when you are swimming or sweating.

Expiration date: Always check the bottle for an expiration date. Do not use a sunscreen after the expiration date as products can lose effectiveness over time.

Active ingredients: The FDA requires all products to list their active ingredients on the back of the bottle along with their concentrations. There are two main types of active sunscreen ingredients: chemical and physical. Chemical ingredients such as avobenzone and benzophenone, work by absorbing UV, reducing its penetration into the skin, whereas physical ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, stay on top of the skin and deflect UV rays. Many sunscreens available today combine chemical and physical ingredients.

Other considerations:

A few other things to look for on sunscreen labels will depend on your personal needs and preferences. For instance, some products are made for sensitive skin and are PABA-free, paraben-free and/or fragrance-free. Some products may be listed as non-comedogenic or oil-free, meaning they won’t cause breakouts, which can be especially important for sunscreen for the face. Those with nut or gluten allergies may want to find a product that does not contain any of these allergens.






July 22, 2016 by Blue Lizard Staff

Which Sunscreens Work and Which Don’t?

There’s been a lot of media coverage this summer about several well-known brands of sunscreen that consumers are saying do not work. Just this week, social media lit up with numerous photos of people with bright red sunburns who claimed they used a particular brand and followed its directions, but still suffered serious sunburn.

Consumers are unhappy and rightly so. Savvy customers today are choosy about the type of sunscreen they purchase and are looking for one that has the least amount of chemicals but still provides effective sun protection. They aren’t turned off by spending a little more on a brand that meets those requirements. But when you spend a little more, you expect the sunscreen to work.

So how can you find out which brands work and which don’t? A good place to start is with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) at Earlier this summer, EWG released its 2015 Sunscreen Guide, which reviewed more than 1,700 SPF products like sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. The researchers discovered that 80 percent of the products offer “inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients.”

In the guide, EWG also provides a Hall of Shame of products that don’t deliver on their sun protection promises, as well as a database for users to search how protective their particular sun products are—and find one that works. Blue Lizard Sensitive and Baby scored a 1 on EWG’s ratings scale for safety and effectiveness – the lower the score, the safer the product.

But don’t stop there. An even better way to determine which sunscreens work and which don’t is to read customer reviews. Blue Lizard has more than 1,100 customer reviews on our website as well as on, with an average satisfaction rating of 4.5+ out of 5 stars. Real reviews from real customers can give you a true picture of how a product actually works.

Many of the sunscreen products coming under fire are those that claim to be “natural” products that are “mineral-based” with zinc oxide. Customers are angry that the products used to contain a higher percentage of zinc but now use a lower concentration and concluded that is why the product is not working.

But that theory may not be entirely accurate. While the FDA does allow sunscreens to contain up to 25 percent zinc oxide, the effectiveness of the product is not necessarily dependent on the amount of zinc it contains. Most sunscreens contain multiple active ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, to provide higher SPF protection and to be an effective physical protectant. This type of combination is present in Blue Lizard Sensitive and Baby, a mineral/physical protectant that offers the best in broad-spectrum sun protection.

More than 1,000 positive customer reviews don’t lie – stick with Blue Lizard for the most effective broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. 


August 06, 2015 by Blue Lizard Staff
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