Beauty Topic: A short rant about sunscreen & chemicals

I recently visited a local Target after work to pick up a few items, and one of them was a new tube of sunscreen for my family. Being a former esthetician, and a sufferer of very sensitive skin that is also prone to sunburn, I knew exactly what brand and product formulation I was looking for.  While I won’t mention the location of this Target, I will rant about my disappointment in the selection that I was presented with in store, and why I’m afraid that the average consumer doesn’t realize that this is a problem. I normally don’t say negative things within my blog. But I’ll admit that I’m very concerned and rather ticked off, since a company or a brand’s product offering decisions can negatively affect people’s health and perception when it comes down to their purchasing options.

I walk into the aisle, and this is what I see:

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  1. Rows of products that are chock-full of chemical sunscreens that have known issues (ie. oxybenzone). Simply Google “safe sunscreen” or “sunscreens to avoid”, and you will be presented with a long list of professional opinions on chemicals to avoid in formulations. I would say that the majority of this wall (and my photo only shows part of the upper half) was composed of mostly ALL chemical-based formulas.
  2. Spray formulas or aerosols – if you Google this as well, you’ll find a ton of research over the years that shows these spray formulas send tiny particles into the air, and can aggravate asthma or allergies. In addition, these often have high levels of oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, which are known from government data and reports to cause skin reactions and lesions. I get that it’s a convenient delivery method, but you have to weigh the cons in lieu of any pros for a “fast application”.
  3. “Sport” or SPF 100+ claims on a sunscreen product. I’m sorry, but WTF? SPF 100?? Does it mean that a tent or a roof comes out of the tube, and builds itself like a Transformer over your head so that you can walk around all day in the shade? If you read the labels, like on Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, it still says that you have to reapply after 80 mins of swimming or every 2 hours. So, in essence, it’s still following the rules that any other sunscreen asks for, which is to reapply every 2 hours or so if you are active (sweating due to sports) or swimming. Why SPF 100+ or “sport” then? To me, this is a misleading label on a product, since the instructions are basically the same as any other sunscreen and doesn’t give the user any extra advantages.
  4. And lastly, the selection available of safer sunscreens was TINY. If you look in the upper left corner of the photo that I took, or at my other photo below of a different angle of the wall, there was a small space held for brands such as BARE Republic or Sun Bum that actually offer legit mineral-based formulas that perform. These broad-spectrum formulas are based on Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide physical sunscreens, and are not only safer for humans, but also the environment (such as ocean reefs). Neutrogena does offer a few mineral sunscreens, but they label them as “baby” formulas when, in truth, anyone can use them. Baby formulas are great for anyone with sensitive skin, as they are often fragrance-free, and safer in formulation for people who suffer from eczema or acne.

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Bottom line, in retail, the brands pay for shelf placement to get the eye-level views and arms-reach distance to most consumers; but these are NOT always the best formulas or products to choose from when it comes to overall skin health and allergy avoidance. Fifteen product rows just to promote the Up & Up (Target private label) brand of Sport sunscreen alone says, to me, that the buying and merchandising teams are out of touch with the growing concern among consumers to buy safer sunscreens. And Neutrogena’s product claims of SPF 100+ is a bit ridiculous, which can give a false sense of security to an average consumer who is rushing in to buy a few last-minute products before attending an outdoor event. Target has been on-point with other product lines and assortments, giving more space and promotion to health-conscious brands. So, I’m thoroughly confused on why they don’t give the same thought and consumer-research planning into the sunscreens they merchandise each summer. Especially with a product that contains chemicals with known health concerns.

Also, one of my favorite brands, CeraVe, didn’t get any product placement within the wall of sunscreen offerings at this Target. Their products utilize micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, so that the formula is more sheer, and absorbs quickly. Their sunscreens are also fragrance-free, and incorporate ceramides, which add anti-aging benefit and help maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

In my opinion, the technology and skincare knowledge that we have today proves that safer sunscreens are a necessary part of overall health, and being a conscious consumer. Skin cancer is a huge issue across the globe, and I ask retailers, such as Target, to do a better job in giving their customers better choices to protect themselves – especially with the transparency and ample amount of information there is for any buyer or product developer to use in their decision-making process. I understand that they look at sales and last year’s numbers to make their plans, but this also puts customers in a bind who may not do their own research and put “trust” into the retailer to offer them safe products. Allergies, asthma, chemical burns, eczema flare-ups, dermatitis, and acne break-outs aren’t worth just spreadsheets of past customer buying decisions – it’s worth helping people to make better health choices, and giving brands who are responsibly making products the credit and shelf space to accurately market themselves.

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: multi-tasking sun & skincare for travel

My husband and I just got back from vacation in Italy, and we needed to keep our luggage rather light due to regular travel between various cities. We have the exact same skincare type: sensitive, reactive, and easily sunburnt. 

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Countryside of San Gimignano

The climate and weather of Italy in June is very consistent – high 80-90 degrees, and very sunny. So instead of relying on lotions and toiletry items given to us by our hotels, I specifically choose products from brands that I knew would be high-performing, and also preventative/corrective to help take care of both of us. Think about it – have you gone on any vacations where you got badly sunburnt or had a rash/reaction that made you feel awful the rest of your trip? It happens, and so here’s my recommendation that any skintype can use to look and feel great:

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top picks for moisturizers & face sunblock

Moisturizers & facial sunblock:

1) First Aid Beauty is quickly becoming one my top beauty brand picks of all time. Why? All of their products are jam-packed with high-performing ingredients that also soothe even the most sensitive skins. The Ultra Repair Lotion can be used on face and body, and is fantastic for repairing over-heated skin, reducing redness, hydrating, and balancing the skin. We used this lotion at night, as our night cream and body moisturizer.

2) Olay Complete Sensitive Skin Moisturizer – this is my gold-standard for daytime moisture and SPF protection (see my other posts about this). We used this head to toe, even as a body moisturizer, in order to make sure we had SPF coverage. A 6oz bottle was the perfect size for us to share.

3) CeraVe Eye Repair Cream – I didn’t want to pack too heavy of an eye cream, since I knew we’d be dealing with humidity, but I wanted a formula to mostly treat and soothe. This formula nails it everytime. It is lightweight, but is loaded with anti-aging and hydrating ingredients. For the price, it’s one of be best values on the beauty market for performance. Plus, the tube is perfect for travel. 

4) CoTZ Face – with SPF 40, and an all mineral-based formula, this product was our workhorse for targeted facial sunblock protection. The formula is perfect for men and women, and absorbs quickly. I used it prior to makeup, and on the areas that would be affected most by sun – cheeks, nose, forehead, back of my neck, and ears. It worked perfectly, and didn’t add any shine or a greasy/sticky feeling that some sunblocks do.

neutrogena, altchek md
high-performing must-haves

For body care, I did pack along my favorite high-performers to prevent sunburn, and treat cracked/dry skin:

1) Altchek MD Doctor’s Skin Remedy is a multi-tasking balm that repairs chapped lips, ragged cuticles, small irritations, flakiness, and other dry skin issues. A little goes a long way, and it makes a great lip balm base for lipstick. We used it as a hand cream, since we were constantly washing our hands due to public places. It has made it’s way into my daily skincare regimen.

2) Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen – for all skin types, this truly is one of the best you can get for sun protection that won’t cause allergic reactions. So many people buy spray sunscreens or chemical based sunscreens, and then end up having reactions, redness, bumps, and other skin issues. This never failed us – it is sweat proof and waterproof, and didn’t cause any irritation. One tube was great for the both of us, and we used it over the Olay moisturizer to give extra coverage to arms, legs, and shoulders.

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first aid beauty’s bar soap

Finally, the best multi-tasker of the bunch was the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar. Don’t let the name fool you – this is a really highly performing product that we used head to toe (face and body) that got us squeaky clean yet feeling hydrated and soothed. This is a fantastic new soap on the market, and I was so impressed with the condition of our skin. It performed in various water (hard and soft), and washed  away the sweat, dirt, and grime from us being active tourists. One bar was plenty for us to share – it’s a great value! 

By packing smart and effective products that care for your skin, you can save space in your luggage and feel comfortable during your travels. Many people rely on hotel provided products, but then end up feeling itchy or irritated due to unknown ingredients. Plus, these have changed my routine at home a bit, to help save time and money in buying multi-taskers that perform!
© 2016 28daysbeauty