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#1 blissfulqueenb

Posted 02 January 2008 - 08:05 PM

I'm slowly changing the products our family uses to avoid nasties, and making lots of choices for the better.  My next target is our sunscreen.

Is there anyone out there who's already looked into all this?  I have avoided most commercial sunscreens due to the nasties in there, but does anyone know which of these ingredients are the harmful ones that I should be avoiding?

I remember briefly skimming some info a couple of years back and grabbing the Cancer Council one on a recommendation from here that it didn't include something or other that most do,  can anyone enlighten me? I know that even sensitive and sunscreens designed for toddlers/babies included some of these harmful ingredients.

Octyl Methoxycinnamate
Padimate O
Butyl Methoxydibenzoyl Methane
4 Methylbenzylidene Camphor
Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid
Synthetic Preservatives
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Diazolidinyl / Imidazolidinyl urea
Methyl / butyl / propyl / ethyl / Isopropyl parabens

#2 macymoo

Posted 06 January 2008 - 02:18 PM

Hi there,

I too have concernes with sunscreen chemicals.  My main concern is the paraben based preservatives that you mention - these paraben preservatives mimic oestorgen and are actually banned in Japan and Sweden for this reason.  I have found a paraben free sunscreen in Banana Boat powder dry, it comes in a pale blue bottle.

I don't think many sunscreens contain PABA anymore so that's probably easy to fix.

Just steer clear of any containing colours or fragrances - I have seen those sunscreens that go on the skin in a colour and I would never use that on my kids.

Good Luck!

#3 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:48 PM

The only truely natural, effective sunscreen is zinc oxide. It is natural, broad spectrum, free of nasties, and ideal for sensitive skin. But the downside is that it's a bit more difficult to apply and can leave a white film on the skin. DS has terribly sensitive skin, but zinc based sunscreens are fine, even on his face. At the moment I'm trying a sample of Megan Gale's Invisible Zinc. It's far from invisible (at least the Junior one I have is, the regular Face and Body one might be better), but it is otherwise good. It makes you waterproof too  laughing2.gif It's not as greasy as UV Natural and Soleo either.
I think Natural Instinct have just released one as well, but they don't seem to have testers around yet, and I hate paying a fortune for this sort of stuff if I can't at least check the texture first.

#4 Taurean

Posted 12 January 2008 - 08:07 PM

Hi Carla nice to meet you the other day I had some of this on me too could of shown you!! anyway its called Soleo green tube from health food stores even some chemists. Totally organic  Great stuff little bit greasy but does the trick.

Edited by Taurean, 12 January 2008 - 08:07 PM.

#5 blissfulqueenb

Posted 14 January 2008 - 01:22 PM

Thanks Guys - didn't realise pure zinc oxide was so effective.  I think I'll just go with this. We tend to cover the kiddies up anyway, so only have face and small bits to do.

Taurean - yeah!  You too.  I have seen the Soleo stuff actually, but I'd heard it wasn't particularly effective - your kiddies don't get burnt at all?  Might have to have another look!

Where can I look at the Megan Gale stuff? Myer?

I might email Natural Instinct....


#6 blissfulqueenb

Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:02 AM

Well, Natural Instinct don't do samples  cry1.gif

The reply I got was:

Thank you for your email and request.

However we do not provide samples as we offer a 100% money back or product replacement guarantee in which should you be dissatisfied it is to be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or replacement.

I will post in the mail the broaches we have on the sunscreen.


I think she meant "brochures"??   laughing2.gif

#7 Taurean

Posted 15 January 2008 - 07:35 AM

Thats a shame!! also neways have a sunscreen my friend does it.

#8 blissfulqueenb

Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:18 AM

Yea, ta. I've seen the neways one already but it's not suitable for us.  Picky, aren't I?  laughing2.gif

#9 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:49 PM

I bought the Megan Gale one (it's just called Invisible Zinc) at Priceline, but I think you can also get it at DJs and lots of chemists. They have a website too:  http://www.ganehill.com.au/product/benefits.htm
I actually bought the face and body one this time, and it's heaps less white than the junior range. I was talking with my naturopath the other day about it, and she also said that zinc is an excellent healing mineral for the skin too original.gif

Bugger about Natural Instinct though, especially as they strangely have testers in a lot of their other products. Maybe that's my pharmacys doing though? I would be interested in their broaches though  laughing2.gif

#10 blissfulqueenb

Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:30 PM

Oh thanks Willanddaisysmum

I went looking for zinc oxide today, and the best I could find was a 35% zinc oxide in a tube. I didn't buy it cause it still was full of preservatives.  I'm assuming I am looking for a big bulk tub of some sort?  Is this what we use on Baby's bum too?  The chemist tried to sell me Sudocreme - I said "ummmm.... no thanks!)  LOL

Any idea where I can get some?

#11 mumandloveit

Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:44 PM

I belong to a group of adoptive parents, we have trouble with our kids (african skin) and blothcyness with sunscreen - A few of the parents found this one

Natural Instincts 30+ as it is 100% natural with no added nasty chemicals.You can get it from chemists or health food stores.

I see others have also recommended it but this is another recommendation I guess.....

#12 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:52 PM

unsure.gif at putting sudocream on your face. Go on, you try it first and let me know before I venture out looking like my daughter's bum  wink.gif

I have been trying but can't find out what else is in the Megan Gale one. Obviously it's got something in it because otherwise it wouldn't go on like a moisturiser, but for me the main important thing is that the sunscreen element of it doesn't have any chemical absorbers, just the physical barrier of the zinc oxide.

That Natural Instincts one does sound good though. I might have to work my way through the 30 odd bottles of stuff we have laying around here and then buy that one next.

#13 blissfulqueenb

Posted 22 January 2008 - 06:51 PM

Got a reply from the Megan Gale Invisible Zinc people

Hi carla,

All of our formulations are equally effective/safe for children and adults.

Best to test the look and feel between:
Face & Body
Junior cream
Junior roll-on

To determine your favourite.

David Jones stores have a full range of our products with testers – otherwise you can purchase online from www.adorebeauty.com.au.

Unfortunately we don’t have samples of our products.

Many thanks for your interest.


#14 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:23 PM

Well that's rather unspecific isn't it? Lots of companies seem to get a bit lost when dealing with people who actually want to know DETAILS, and won't be brushed off with "It's safe because I say it is".

#15 blissfulqueenb

Posted 23 January 2008 - 03:33 PM

Hmmm, yes and I just found this about the nano-particles of zinc oxide which is in the Megan Gale one too (and the Soleo one and the UV Naturals one.)..

Boohoo, I'm so confused!

Nano sunblock safety under scrutiny
Anna Salleh
ABC Science Online

Friday, 30 July  2004

Nanosized zinc oxide has delivered see-through sunscreens. But are they safe? (Image: iStockphoto)
We don't know enough about the safety of some nanoparticles, such as those already included in some cosmetics and sunscreens, a U.K. report has found.

The report, just released by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, calls for further studies on the safety of nanoparticles such as the ultrafine zinc oxide powders currently used in some Australian sunscreens.

The model Megan Gale launched one such product in Australia late last year. While the product was not specifically mentioned in the report, it contains zinc oxide particles 30 nanometers across.

"There is insufficient information about whether ... nanoparticules used in cosmetics (such as zinc oxide) penetrate the skin and there is a need for more research into this," the U.K. Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties report said.

While the report said that zinc oxide nanoparticles were not used extensively in European cosmetics, one Western Australian-based company, Advanced Powder Technologies (APT), has been producing industrial quantities of zinc oxide nanoparticles for the past two years.

The particles are the basis for APT's ZinClear product, which is used in products including the see-through sunblock, Megan Gale's Invisible Zinc.

APT's Dr Hugh Dawkins told ABC Science Online that all evidence to date indicated the zinc oxide nanoparticles were safe. He said the company had carried out a small study that showed the particles did not penetrate the skin, but this study had insufficient data to be published.

"We have done some pilot tests which demonstrates that the zinc oxide remains on the outside of the skin and didn't penetrate across," said Dawkins. He said he was not aware of any other safety studies on zinc oxide nanoparticles but there were many studies on the safety of normal-sized zinc oxide particles.

"We don't expect that zinc oxide as a nanoparticle would have any different effects and so we wouldn't expect any contrary information."

Dawkins agreed further research on the particles was needed but believed they would only confirm safety. He said zinc oxide had been used for centuries in cosmetics and in skin applications, and was essential for cell growth and function.

He said skin treatments containing zinc oxide nanoparticles were even more effective than normal-sized particles for treating burns and wounds.

Size matters, says report

But according to the chair of the working group that prepared the U.K. report the human health and the environment impacts of manufactured nanoparticles and nanotubes remained uncertain due to their smaller size.

"Most areas present no new health or safety risks, but where particles are concerned, size really does matter," said Professor Ann Dowling of the University of Cambridge.

"Nanoparticles can behave quite differently from larger particles of the same material and this can be exploited in a number of exciting ways. But it is vital that we determine both the positive and negative effect they might have."

The report recommended nanoparticles be treated as "new chemicals" under U.K. and European legislation, to trigger appropriate safety tests, and be approved by an independent safety committee before they were permitted for use in consumer products such as cosmetics.

No-one is sure whether nanoparticles can cross the skin, says the U.K. report (Image: iStockphoto)
The report also called for industry to publish details of safety tests showing that novel properties of nanoparticles had been taken into account.

Dawkins said APT would probably do further safety tests and it would be useful to have such data made public.

APT said manufacturers of sunscreen using its ZinClear product must apply to the Australian government's regulatory authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), for marketing approval. But current regulations do not require manufacturers to distinguish between normal-sized and nanosized zinc oxide particles.

The TGA was unable to respond to queries on regulation of zinc oxide
nanoparticles by the time of publication.

A spokesperson for Megan Gale, Martin Walsh of Chadwick Management, said the model was on tour in Italy and was "unaware of any credible question in regard to nanotechnology".

"Nanoparticle manufacturer APT has the highest credentials with regard to research and manufacture," said Walsh.

The Perth-based company that markets the sunscreen Invisible Zinc, Ganehill Pty Ltd, said it also had no safety concerns.

"We tend to buy the product as a finished good with certain assurances in place and we've spoken extensively to APT about all of these concerns and they've assured us that they're testing and their knowledge renders the product as safe as it can be possibly be in today's environment," Ganehill's Adil Bux told ABC Science Online.

Another Australian company, Micronisers Pty Ltd based in Dandenong,
Victoria, is understood to also produce zinc oxide nanoparticles but could not be contacted for comment.

Edited by blissfulqueenb, 23 January 2008 - 03:51 PM.

#16 blissfulqueenb

Posted 23 January 2008 - 07:22 PM

and this on Titanium Dioxide:

Titanium Dioxide Classified as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans

Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen ''possibly carcinogen to humans''. Titanium dioxide accounts for 70% of the total production volume of pigments worldwide. It is widely used to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, plastics, papers, inks, foods, and toothpastes. It is also used in cosmetic and skin care products, and it is present in almost every sunblock, where it helps protect the skin from ultraviolet light.

With such widespread use of titanium dioxide, it is important to understand that the IARC conclusions are based on very specific evidence. This evidence showed that high concentrations of pigment-grade (powdered) and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust caused respiratory tract cancer in rats exposed by inhalation and intratracheal instillation*. The series of biological events or steps that produce the rat lung cancers (e.g. particle deposition, impaired lung clearance, cell injury, fibrosis, mutations and ultimately cancer) have also been seen in people working in dusty environments. Therefore, the observations of cancer in animals were considered, by IARC, as relevant to people doing jobs with exposures to titanium dioxide dust. For example, titanium dioxide production workers may be exposed to high dust concentrations during packing, milling, site cleaning and maintenance, if there are insufficient dust control measures in place. However, it should be noted that the human studies conducted so far do not suggest an association between occupational exposure to titanium dioxide and an increased risk for cancer.

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is Canada's hazard communication standard. The WHMIS Controlled Products Regulations require that chemicals, listed in Group 1 or Group 2 in the IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans, be classified under WHMIS Class D2A (carcinogenic). The classification decision on titanium dioxide has been published on the IARC website and in a summary article published in The Lancet

Representatives from Health Canada (National Office of WHMIS) recently consulted with the Quebec CSST and CCOHS (the two main agencies providing WHMIS classifications to the public) regarding the implications of the IARC decision to the WHMIS classification of titanium dioxide. It was agreed that titanium dioxide does now meet the criteria for WHMIS D2A (carcinogen) based on the information released by IARC to date, and that it is not necessary to wait for release of the full monograph.

Manufacturers and suppliers of titanium dioxide are advised to review and update their material safety data sheets and product labels based on this new information as soon as possible. Employers should review their occupational hygiene programs to ensure that exposure to titanium dioxide dust is eliminated or reduced to the minimum possible. Workers should be educated concerning this potential newly recognized risk to their health and trained in proper work procedures.

* Intratracheal administration is an exposure procedure that introduces the material directly into the lungs via the trachea, bypassing protective mechanisms in the respiratory system.

More information:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Titanium dioxide (IARC Group 2B), Summary of data reported, Feb. 2006

Health Canada: Hazard-specific issues - substances assessed for carcinogenicity

Explanation of the IARC evaluations

Baan, R., et al. Carcinogenicity of carbon black, titanium dioxide, and talc. The Lancet Oncology. Vol. 7 (Apr. 2006). P. 295-296

Learn more about CHEMINFO (produced by CCOHS' occupational health and safety specialists). This resource provides comprehensive, practical occupational health and safety information on more than 1,300 important workplace chemicals.

Now I know we're not going to be inhaling the stuff, but even the thought of placing it onto our skin has got to be given some consideration?

I'm really peed actually -  I thought I'd just go with Zinc Oxide, but all the zincs I can find also contain Titanium Dioxide

Edited by blissfulqueenb, 23 January 2008 - 07:25 PM.

#17 FeralSchnitzel

Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:18 PM

It's quite frightening really. I have had melanoma, and am absolutely anal about sunscreen on myself and my kids, but when I started reading about the dangers of this and that it nearly did my head in. Nowadays I have one main prerequisite for a sunscreen - that it doesn't have any chemical absorbers, and that pretty much takes care of 95% of the sunscreens on the market. There is so muh "information" out there it's so hard to decide what your priorities are, and sadly there isn't such a thing as completely harmless yet non-greasy, affordable and not-whitening sunscreen. When there is, I'll buy it by the bucketload.

I know that the Megan Gale stuff DEFINITELY doesn't have any titanium dioxide in it, nor does the Natural Instincts, UV Natural or Soleo.

#18 Markerr

Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:12 PM

Ok so I dont know much about this - Carla its your forte but I found this and wasnt sure if it was any good.....

SunClear SPF 30+ by Grahams, the company that makes the calendula based eczema cream. The cost is approximately $30 for a 150 ml tube and the ingredients are as follows:

Capric/caprylic trigyceride, rose hip oil, grapeseed oil, sesame seed oil, shea butter, hydrogenated vegetable oil, vitamin e, vitamin a, phenoxyethanol. Active ingredient 260mg/g zinc oxide.

That's right 26% zinc oxide! The highest I know of on the market (Megan Gale is 18%).

This product is very similar in feel to both UV Natural and Soleo Organics, and you can see from the ingredients list that there is a great deal of similarity. However where I cannot use either UV Natural or Soleo Organics because they contain beeswax which gives me blackheads.

This product leaves only the faintest of white cast on my light olive skin, smells like coconut, and makes me look like I've slathered on Reef Tan. Yes you will look like a greaseball if you use this, it never fully sinks in, however a light dusting with translucent powder tones it down a little. I have only been using this two days so it is too soon to say whether it will become my normal sunscreen, however for anyone with really sensitive skin, dry skin, or babies, this could be the one.

I have no idea how it would work as a makeup base, as so far I have not worn foundation with it.

#19 blissfulqueenb

Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:40 PM

Hey, thanks Martina.  Will check it out - although it does say that it's colourlss, and as far as I know, the only way to make zinc colourless is to use the Nano-particles which I want to avoid....

Lauren is looking into getting me some pure zinc oxide and maybe I can mix it with some aqueous cream to help apply it.  So far, I'm not happy with anything! I think I'd rather just keep them covered up, under shelter and out of the sun in it's peak. From what I've discovered, there's no way I'd be putting suncream on every day!

#20 blissfulqueenb

Posted 29 January 2008 - 11:12 AM

Got the Ingredients for the Neways one:

Still waiting to hear back whether the Zinc Oxide is the Nano Zinc, though.  They don't list any info on their website, so I've contacted them to ask.

Sunbrero Sunscreen  125ml  Actives and preservatives only, are listed on tube
Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
Isoamyi methoxycinnamate
Octyl methoxycinnamate
Zinc Oxide
Acrylates/C10 alkyl acrylates crosspolymer
Ammonium Chloride
Advocado Oil unsaponifiables
Cetyl dimethicone
Citronella Oil
Edetate sodium
Melaleuca Oil
Preservatives (first three)
Methyl hydroxybenzoate
Propyl hydroxybenzoate
Vegetable Oil hydrogenated
Water- purified
Perfluoropolymethylisopropyl ether

Edited to add: just received this further info regarding the  Zinc that's in the Neways sunscreen. Apparently, it's micronised zinc, rather than nano-zinc.  Now I'm off to do some research about that and will report back just in case anyone is following!

Neways currently use a micronised zinc oxide; this means each particle is not as small as a nanoparticle, but is smaller in particle size than regular zinc oxide. It is therefore not as clear as nanoparticles of zinc but stops the product from having a solid white appearance on the skin.

In light of the extensive review of the safety of nanoparticles of zinc oxide conducted by the TGA, it would be considered a non-potentially harmful ingredient. It is important to remember that any physical sunscreen agent such as zinc or titanium dioxide only works if it remains on the surface of the skin cells; so can not be absorbed and create damage with the cells otherwise it would not perform its function; which is to protect the skin from UV rays.

Edited by blissfulqueenb, 31 January 2008 - 02:01 PM.

#21 andieinvic

Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:32 PM

I am following, I am following!  Keep up the great work, another one here with red-headed fair haired children who react terribly to most sunscreens and am reading with avid interest your research.

#22 blissfulqueenb

Posted 14 February 2008 - 09:25 AM

Oh thanks Andie

Yes, still looking.  At this stage, I think I am going to buy some vegetable sorbolene cream and keep a pump pack of that in my bag with a little pot of the zinc powder and just mix what I need to use on the spot.  The preservatives that they use in sunscreens are something I particularly want to avoid, so this is the only way I'd manage to avoid them I think.

At this stage, the best of a bad bunch seems to be the bright zinc (you know the blue,pink, green stuff you used to put on your nose?).  I bought some skintoned one in a stick, but it doesn't go far, and it still includes a couple of suspect ingredients.  I'm still looking....

#23 darlingdasher

Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:01 PM

I think I am going to buy some vegetable sorbolene cream and keep a pump pack of that in my bag with a little pot of the zinc powder and just mix what I need to use on the spot.

Oooh that sounds like a great idea! I would never have thought of that!  tongue.gif  Can you let me know how this works? And what ratio of cream to powder works best for you and gives the best protection? TIA!

#24 blissfulqueenb

Posted 26 February 2008 - 12:52 PM

I heard a rumour about using pure aloe vera (the really thick yellow gel direct from the plant - not the clear runny stuff).

Has anyone heard of this?  Pity it STINKS!!

#25 macymoo

Posted 03 March 2008 - 07:18 PM


In regards to the Neways Sunscreen please note that there are Paraben Preservatives in there (hydroxybenzoates) and I would not put those on my children.  They are banned in Japan and Sweden as they are hormone disrupters! mad.gif


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