Are natural sunscreens better than chemical ones? The verdict according to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association is a resounding “yes!”
The reasons for their findings are simple: chemical sunscreens contain some stuff that can be nasty for your skin, like oxynoxate which is known to irritate skin, and oxybenzone, an endocrine disruptor (it mimics oestrogen). These chemicals can enter your bloodstream (and even breastmilk) and cause some unwanted side effects.
On top of that, we’re told by sunscreen producers to apply the product every two hours or so for best efficacy. This means more of those worrisome chemicals will be entering our bloodstream. However, just because it gets absorbed into our bodies doesn’t mean it will definitely cause harm – it just means more studies need to be conducted to determine if any damage will be done.
Meanwhile, natural sunscreens use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to ward off the sun’s rays and are known to be gentler to skin. Natural sunscreens also avoid parabens and phthalates which have been getting a bad rep because of the damage they can do to our bodies. In a study conducted on mice, parabens caused tumours to grow while phthalates have been reported to cause damage to the liver, kidneys and reproductive organs (according to studies conducted on test animals). While it is not proven that these chemicals can cause the same damage to humans, most consumers who are aware, prefer to avoid them.
As natural sunscreens aren’t as easily found in Malaysia, we did the legwork and shortlisted a couple of our favourites (as well as where to find them).