Friday, June 25, 2010

Zinc and Titanium prove to be the best sun blocking ingredients.

The answer appears to be yes, going by this table compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency featuring chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients as well as the type and amount of ray protection that they provide and their class.


Do you see what I see? Zinc Oxide provides the best broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays! It looks to be better than Ecamsule, which is commonly known by the trade name Mexoryl. Which means, the industry claims that Mexoryl is the most potent photostable anti-aging sun filters for UVA and UVB rays may not be so true afterall. In fact, I found an article refuting that claim and stating that Mexoryl is an inferior sunscreen active ingredient compared to zinc oxide although I have to qualify that the source is a company that sells sunscreen using zinc oxide.

I find this information both to be intriguing as well as perplexing. Can this be 100% true? Is this part of the ongoing debate between physical sunblocks vs chemical sunscreens?

For those who are confused, physical sunscreens contain either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide and form a film on top of the skin that reflects or scatters UV light while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they can do any damage. But whether you pick a physical or chemical sunscreen, the most important consideration is that your formula is broad spectrum and offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. And you may like to know that UVB rays are the primary cause of skin cancer while UVA rays cause wrinkling, skin sunspots and are also now implicated in skin cancer.

More research is definitely required to find out if Zinc Oxide is indeed better than Mexoryl but my first thoughts were, if this is true, my earlier entry about Mexoryl sunscreens no longer holds water. And my second thoughts are, my Keys Solar RX SPF30 Sunblock is good and I can junk my Mexoryl chemical sunscreens!

Nanoparticles in sunscreen may prove toxic if accidentally eaten

Nanoparticles commonly contained in zinc oxide sunscreen formulations could prove potentially toxic if inadvertently taken orally, a peer reviewed report claims.

Particles smaller than 100 nanometers (nano) are marginally more toxic to colon cells than conventional-sized zinc oxide particles, the report in the ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology states, documenting a study conducted at the University of Utah.

“Manufactured nanoparticles are being marketed as having unique properties due to their size, shape, surface area, and composition as compared to bulk material, but there remains concerns regarding toxicities associated with these novel materials,” the report states.

The team of six researchers led by Philip Moos also found that solid zinc oxide was more toxic than equivalent amounts of soluble zinc and that direct particle-to-cell contact was required to cause cell death.

Eating nano sunscreen endangers colon cells.

Direct contact with colon cells is likely to be triggered even if a small amount of zinc oxide nanoparticle containing sunscreen is inadvertently consumed orally.

The scientists said their report particularly flags up the dangers of children eating sunscreen containing zinc oxide nanoparticles, particularly as smaller infants often experiment by orally testing all kinds of substances as part of their development process.

“Unintended exposure to nano-sized zinc oxide from children accidentally eating sunscreen products is a typical public concern, motivating the study of the effects of nanomaterials in the colon,” the report states.

The scientist’s experiments compared the effect of conventional zinc oxide powder on a culture of colon cells compared to the effect from a zinc oxide nanoparticle formulation.

Nano formula had twice the toxicity

This procedure found that the nanoparticle formulation was twice as toxic to the colon cells as that of the formulation with the larger cells.

Likewise, the experiments also concluded that the concentration of nanoparticles that were toxic to the colon cells was the equivalent of eating 2 grams of sunscreen, an amount that would normally provide enough sun protection for the face.

The scientists say that the next stage of the research will be to take the experiments beyond cell cultures to discover the effects of zinc nanoparticle toxicity on both laboratory animals and humans

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Hypocrisy Of Using Scare Tactics To Impact Public Policy

This post was written by an owner of Indie Beauty Network and it brilliantly expresses the opinion of natural cosmetic and skin care manufacturers about EWG and it's scare tactics. I have been talking with some of our customers discussing this issue that I can't spill any light on, nor get any intelligent answers from the source, EWG people themselves. And there are many confused manufacturers of natural cosmetics that feel betrayed by the EWG's scare tactics and it's twisted message aiming for one thing - your donations.

Great post by Donna Maria, and I totally share her opinion.

"Lately, I have enjoyed fast and furious conversations with IBN members about non-governmental organizations’s efforts to spread unwarranted fear about ingredients used in cosmetics. One of those organizations is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which continues to publish “reports,” which are really thinly veiled scare tactics to support an agenda that seems to include promoting itself as the new FDA.

One of their latest publications places certain products containing active sunscreen ingredients and claiming certain Sun Protection Factors (SPF) on a “Hall Of Shame” list. Also included in the Hall of Shame is the FDA, which regulates cosmetics, and The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Scare tactics of any kind are usually irresponsible and always unhelpful. Let’s consider the details here.

EWG’s Hall Of Shame slams Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55, saying this:

“Can a product be ‘mild as water to the skin’ if the label warns to “Stop use and ask a doctor if rash or irritation develops and lasts”? And certainly when swallowed this product is nothing like water: “Keep out of reach of children” and “get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away,” reads the warning label.”

EWG is slamming the targeted product and the company that makes it for placing language on its labels that reminds consumers to keep sunscreen out of the reach of children. I want to keep all kinds of things away from my children, but that doesn’t mean those things are undesirable or inferior in and of themselves. And what is wrong with letting parents know that, if a sunscreen product is mistakenly ingested, they shouldn’t just panic or sit around whining — they should call for help?!! Of course you should get help if your child eats sunscreen! Duh!

I also noticed that you cannot comment EWG’s Hall Of Fame page. You can Tweet and share it on FaceBook, but you cannot share your opinion, ask questions, or disagree with EWG on their turf. Publishing information designed to affect consumer health and important public policy issues in a forum that does not welcome public discussion and comment is arbitrary and capricious. Again, just my opinion.

Another disturbing consideration is the hypocrisy. Many pages at EWG’s website remind site visitors of how expensive it is to create reports that unnecessarily scare them. Because it’s so expensive to whip you and your friends into an unnecessary tizzy, they invite you not only to donate to the cause, but also to head on over to their Amazon affiliate page to purchase all of the products (including the above-mentioned Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55, available at Amazon), they say are worthy of heir Hall Of Shame. Of course there’s a disclaimer that they don’t endorse any of the products they earn commissions on, but still, shop ’til you drop, I guess literally, for all those dangerous sunscreens and other cosmetics that can harm you and your family.

If some of the products sold by Amazon are inferior or not to be trusted, then it seems disingenuous to encourage the people you claim to be trying to protect to buy them. This sends a potentially conflicting message to consumers that the products are inferior, but if we get paid when you buy them, it’s not so bad after all."

Unbelievable, isn't it? No, it's not unbelievable - it's infuriating that some little organization that appeared from the woodwork just recently, promoting themselves as experts while peddling one sided convenient to them "science" and attempts to shape minds of the consumer. And not only planting misleading information in everyone's brains but asking to be paid for it.

For those who hasn't noticed yet, EWG appears to take one study that suits "their message best" and use that as a fact without taking into account dosage, other studies or common sense. (based on many product ratings on Skin Deep that appear to be taken out of the blue) That sort of fear-mongering and breathless activism scares consumers and makes them question their own knowledge and understanding of the issues.

The problem is that EWG has successfully positioned themselves as THE only authority on cosmetic safety, pretending to mind your best interests at heart. That's a problem because they don't have the credentials. Nor provide any two way communication for those who dares to question. Emailing notoriously and shoving their "science" and reports down the consumer's throat is the only way of communication for them - one sided - regular release of latest panicky breaking news. While asking you for your donation again and again and again. Skin Deep database is still a generally good idea but the result is not unlike putting an elementary school class in charge of deciding public policy. Of course, the class might do better because they wouldn't be swayed by the things adults are. . .but bloopers are eminent and big ones.

If you've heard in one of their reports about Vitamin A and harm it apparently possesses in relation to sunscreens, please read Response to The Environmental Working Group 2010 Report and Senator Schumer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are We Being Duped?

This post is shared with permission from Personal Care Truth

“Manufacturers are using lead in lipstick”. “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) can cause

cancer”. “Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is toxic and must be banned”. “If you can’t pronounce it, it can’t be safe”.

Those are just some of the things you will read on the Internet about personal care products that instill fear in consumers. Are we being duped? We sure are. Can you pronounce ‘Butyrospermum Parkii’? What about ‘Dihydrogen Monoxide’? How about ‘Vaccinium Macrocarpon’? Even on a good day I have a hard time pronouncing them and I’ve been in the personal care industry for 10 years.

While the chemical or botanical name of an ingredient can be quite alarming, the ingredient itself isn’t necessarily harmful. Alarmists are working 24/7 to scare consumers into believing many ingredients are harmful to your health. Butyrospermum Parkii is not one of them. It’s shea butter. Vaccinium Macrocarpon isn’t a harmful ingredient either. It’s cranberry seed oil.

Last night on Twitter, I was reading the tweet “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t use or eat it”. It wasn’t tweeted by one but many. Just to give you an idea of how alarmists can use lack of scientific knowledge and exaggerated claims to cause fear, let’s look at dihydrogen monoxide.

In 1997, 14 year old Nathan Zohner completed a science project titled “How Gullible Are We?”, which he won first place. Nathan gathered a petition to ban DHMO or dihydrogen monoxide. Nathan proved that an alarmist can spread the word of junk science to instill fear in people. Where’s the proof? Here is what his petition contained:


Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:

  • is also known as hydroxl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
  • contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
  • may cause severe burns.
  • contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
  • accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
  • may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions!

Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the Midwest, and recently California.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

  • as an industrial solvent and coolant.
  • in nuclear power plants.
  • in the production of Styrofoam.
  • as a fire retardant.
  • in many forms of cruel animal research.
  • in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
  • as an additive in certain “junk-foods” and other food products.

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!

The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its “importance to the economic health of this nation.” In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.

Do you know what dihydrogen monoxide or DHMO is? It’s the chemical name for water. Yep, water. “Water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Literally, the term “dihydrogen monoxide” means “two hydrogen, one oxygen”, consistent with its molecular formula: the prefix di- in dihydrogenmeans “two”, the prefix mono- in monoxide means “one”, and an oxide is a compound that contains one or more oxygen atoms”.

As reported on -

In March 2004 the California municipality of Aliso Viejo (a suburb in Orange County) came within a cat’s whisker of falling for this hoax after a paralegal there convinced city officials of the danger posed by this chemical. The leg-pull got so far as a vote’s having been scheduled for the City Council on a proposed law that would have banned the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events because (among other things) they were made with DHMO, a substance that could “threaten human health and safety.

Does that scare you? It scares me that organizations peddling junk science can spread that kind of fear. That legislation, regulations and the minds of free thinking people can be changed based on misinformation. Demand more from the people shoving half truths and false information down your throat. If the lobbyist organizations are asking for donations to fight the good fight, don’t give them a dime of your hard earned money unless you are 100% sure that what they are selling you is true, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Ask the hard questions. You deserve more than educated guesses, false information or scare tactics and fear mongering.

Time for me to fix a glass of dihydrogen monoxide.

Question: (added by dM): What do you think of the logic that concludes that if you can't pronounce an ingredient name, it must be bad for you? Do you buy that? If so, why?

From Sweetsation: Brilliant article. Spells out very clearly things that have been lingering in our minds for quite a while. Yes it concerns EWG and their mysterious system that noone seems to understand. A lot of product ratings don't make any sense and very often natural products rate the same as the ones containing a lot of toxic chemicals. Better yet, two identical products may rate differently... We have tried to contact them numerous times to get clarifications, or answers from the "expert" who in fact allocates those ratings. There's got to be someone... Nope. There is no answers, no responses to our emails, no logic, no accessible science or evidence, just notorious spreading of panic and demand for donations.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New and awesome sun protection with Superberries.

Pleased to introduce another beautiful and genius Sweetsation's creation of Chocolate inspired skin care for kids - Sun'n'Berry Fun Organic Baby Sunscreen SPF 50 with Antioxidants & Superberries. It is not just a baby sun screen that provides high level of sun protection, it's a state of the art skin care pampering treatment - with sun screen. Water resistant and not greasy. It's been designed with delicate and sensitive baby's skin in mind and addresses not only protection from the harmful UVA and UVB sun rays but also helps to neutralize harmful activity of free radicals with strong cocktail of antioxidants from Superberries. PABA-Free, mineral based (NON-NANO particles) hydrating and moisturizing, it provides high UV protection for your active baby. The most powerful and well known antioxidants from superfoods like Goji berries, Acai, Cranberry, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Sea Buckthorn, Camu camu, Grapeseed and Raspberry rich with vitamin C and antioxidants fights skin damage and cellular oxidation ( that are causes of aging. Yes, aging starts the day we are born), caused by excessive free radical activity. It also contains Shea butter and Oat, excellent anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea, thought to be 200 times more powerful than vitamin E for neutralizing free radicals joins the action and has a protective role to play here as well. It prevents free radical damage and possible skin tumors and cancers associated with it. Combination of Cocoa Butter, Cacao and hint of Vanilla create that yummy chocolate scent, that's achieved naturally, as well as have moisturizing and healing properties. This product was created for our tiny precious friends but our grown-up friends can use it too. It's highly addictive.... and rates very safe 2 on EWG (Skin Deep)

Want to super-size it? Now you can, for limited time only. Sun'n'Berry Fun SPF 50 Jumbo 9oz.