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:


  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.


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

Product Review: Heliocare supplements

The Heliocare company reached out to me to try their antioxidant supplements, and as I had seen them before in the vitamin and nutrition aisle in my local Walgreens, I was intrigued to give them a try. They sent me a full bottle, and after doing a bit more research on my own, I decided to incorporate a once-daily capsule into my usual vitamin and supplements mix that I take every morning. Before I talk about how my body and skin felt after 2 months worth of trying them, let me share a bit more about what Heliocare is and how it works. You can also refer to Heliocare’s website for more information.


Per their product information, Heliocare is a vegetarian daily supplement that contains a proprietary antioxidant blend that helps your skin, and body, defend itself against free radicals. When taken daily over time, this helps protect your skin against UV damage, and also assists the cell’s structure in being stronger to resist the effects of aging. When I graduated beauty school back in 2000, I remember learning that up to 90% of how we age is based on environmental and lifestyle choices – antioxidants play a huge role in helping to prevent and reverse the aging process, based on the decisions you make on a daily basis. Sun exposure, daily diet, activity, and sleep all play a factor into those environmental and lifestyle choices. The remaining 10% of the aging equation is your own genetic makeup and heritage – or essentially the things you cannot control. Being a hyper-sensitive skin person, susceptible to sunburns, and an allergy sufferer, I wanted to ensure that I understood all of the ingredients before taking them, as some herbal supplements do give me reactions. But after learning more about their patented Fernblock® PLE Technology, which utilizes the fern Polypodium leucotomos, I understood that it wouldn’t counteract with any of the allergy medications or vitamins that I take on a regular basis. I also knew from the product information, and my research, that it does take your body a full year to incorporate the full benefits of the antioxidant blend, but I wanted to take some time to review how I initially felt after taking this daily for 2 months.

First off, I didn’t feel like the supplement upset my stomach, or made me feel any different than I normally do. After a few weeks, my skin didn’t have any reactions or breakouts, nor did my allergies seem any different. But what I started to notice, especially as I was outside more due to summer starting, was that I felt my skin wasn’t as flushed as I normally get in warmer weather and looked a bit brighter. I do wear sunscreen everyday on my face and arms (even in winter), as it’s built into my daily moisturizer. But I was happy to see that my skin seemed to be a bit calmer, especially after being out on the water sailing for a few hours. I also didn’t feel that it affected my sleep in any negative ways. Now, I do admit that I take very good care of my facial skin everyday, so my main focus was actually my body skin and appearance – to me, that will be more of the test from this product over time. The bottle contains enough for 2 months (60 capsules), and so I decided to take a a few weeks off after finishing all capsules to see if I felt differently, or noticed anything big. And I can say that I felt my skin looked a little bit dull in about week’s time, but my stomach and allergies didn’t seem to be affected. So, if my skin was on a better track to defending itself, and also was seemingly a bit more vibrant, then to me this is a beauty product that also has the overall benefits of total body health.

Bottom line, I’ve ordered 2 more bottles of Heliocare from Walgreens, as I’m encouraging have my husband start taking it. He and I have similar skin types, is prone to sunburns, and has also mentioned that he wants a supplement to start tackling aging. There a lot of other anti-aging supplements out there, especially targeting the HGH (human growth hormone) production topic. And a lot of them are very pricey to be taken daily, all year-round, and have stricter usage guidelines. To me, I’d rather take a plant-based supplement that I can easily incorporate into my daily routine, and that won’t break my bank account. I also visit my dermatologist next February, as I have my annual skin-check appointment – he and I chatted before about this supplement before, and I’ll be talking about this again with him at my appointment. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s imperative to take good care of it to help you age gracefully, plus stay in good health. In my opinion, if this supplement can help do that, then I consider this part of my daily beauty routine.

I do recommend that you do your research on any supplement before taking any of them, and also consult with your physician. I appreciate the Heliocare company for allowing me to try their product, as I was curious about it before and am glad to have been able to experience it first hand.

© 2017 28daysbeauty