Sunscreen relies on active ingredients to provide protection from UV rays. These types of ingredients, or "protectants" are either considered:

  • Mineral/physical protectants
  • Chemical protectants

Mineral/physical protectants form a topical barrier on the outer layer of the skin and reflect UV rays. Chemical protectants are absorbed into the skin. As UV rays penetrate the skin, they are converted to heat energy in the presence of the chemical protectant.

 

 

Many formulations contain more than one active ingredient. The chart below lists the current FDA-approved active sunscreen ingredients, the type of ingredient and the spectrum of UV protection it provides. 

 

 

Mineral/Physical Protectants

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a natural, inorganic, mineral compound with the formula ZnO. It occurs naturally as the mineral zincite, but most zinc oxide is produced synthetically. It is found in many products including certain creams and ointments used to prevent or treat minor skin burns and irritation.

Micronized and nano-scale zinc oxides provide safe, reliable, broad-spectrum protection against ultraviolet radiation - UVA and UVB. Nanoparticles are used in mineral/physical protectant sunscreens, and also in UV-blocking sunglasses for use in space and for protection when welding.

Blue Lizard® Australian Sunscreen uses very high-grade zinc oxide, which is preferred for pharmaceutical dermatology products. Our zinc oxide is the only of its kind also recognized by the FDA as a Category I Skin Protectant/Diaper Rash Treatment. Our zinc oxide is recommended for use on compromised or environmentally challenged skin and is ideal for dermatology patients.

Our high-grade zinc oxide is an active ingredient in:

 

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium (IV) oxide, or titania, is a naturally occurring mineral oxide of titanium; TiO. Like zinc oxide, this active mineral/physical protectant does not absorb into the skin but, instead, forms a protective, highly reflective barrier on the skin's surface.   

Titanium dioxide is found in the majority of mineral/physical sunscreens because of its high refractive index, which enhances its stability and ability to protect the skin from ultraviolet light. Sunscreens designed for infants or people with sensitive skin are often based on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as these mineral/physical protectants are reported to cause less skin irritation.

We use titanium dioxide as an active ingredient in:

 

Chemical Protectants

Octinoxate

Octinoxate, also called Octyl methoxycinnamate or (OMC), covering UVB and short UVA rays with wavelengths from 280 to 320 nm, protects the skin from direct DNA damage. It is generally not considered protective against the full spectrum of UVA rays. It can be absorbed rapidly through skin, which makes it an effective chemical sunscreen ingredient. 

It is found in hair color products and shampoos, sunscreen, lipstick, nail polish and skin creams. In products other than sunscreens, it is used as a UV filter to protect the products from degrading when exposed to sunlight.

Octinoxate is approved for use in cosmetics worldwide. Octinoxate has been evaluated by the FDA and is considered safe for use in concentrations up to 7.5 percent of the product formula.

We use Octinoxate as an active ingredient in:

 

Octocrylene

Octocrylene is an oil soluble, water-resistant protectant covering UVB and short UVA rays with wavelengths from 280 to 320 nm, protecting the skin from direct DNA damage. It is generally not considered protective against the full spectrum of UVA rays and is not considered adequate sunscreen protection by itself. However, octocrylene is very stable, does not degrade in sunlight and generally improves the performance of other chemical sunscreen protectants when paired.   

Octocrylene is absorbed into the skin, which some have linked as a potential risk, but the health implications remain unclear. Octocrylene has been evaluated by the FDA and is considered safe for use in concentrations up to 10 percent of the product formula. 

We use Octocrylene as an active ingredient in:

 

Oxybenzone

Benzophenone-3, or Oxybenzone, primarily functions as a photostabilizer and sunscreen. Among the selection active chemical protectants, Oxybenzone covers UVB and some UVA rays with wavelengths from 290 to 360 nm, protecting the skin from direct DNA damage. It protects against a wider spectrum of UVA rays but not completely.   

By absorbing UV rays, it also helps preserve the integrity of other cosmetic ingredients, preventing their deterioration under the sun. For this reason, Oxybenzone is most often used in conjunction with other sunscreen agents. Besides sunscreen, it can be found in a variety of personal care products such as nail polish, lotions and lipstick.

The FDA has evaluated Oxybenzone and considers it safe for use in concentrations up to 6 percent of the product formula.  

We use Oxybenzone as an active ingredient in:

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