By Toni Tetzner - January 12, 2019

We all love the sun and we are sure that the sun loves us right back, sometimes even a little too much. So, we have to make sure to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of worshipping the sun.

Unfortunately some chemical ingredients in sunscreens can be more harmful than protective, defying their original purpose of protecting your skin. Luckily there’s two safe alternatives out there: the physical (also called mineral) UV-filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. They build a protective layer on top of your skin instead of penetrating your skin as chemical UV-filters do. 


Why Zinc Oxide is The Best Choice For Natural Sunscreens

If you want to use the correct terminology, both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are also chemicals. Sounds confusing? It is. 

The term “chemical” is widely used to refer to dangerous chemicals, while it would be more accurate to differentiate between organic and inorganic chemicals. A chemical substance is defined as “a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties”, which includes for example water. The difference between organic and inorganic chemicals is that organic chemicals are carbon-based molecules, like Avobenzone and Oxybenzone. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are inorganic chemicals.

Which One is Better, Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide?

The active ingredients of many sunscreen products absorb UVB. The degree of protection from UVB rays is by the SPF rating a sunscreen product achieves. However, ingredients that efficiently absorb longwave UVA light are also required to provide broad spectrum protection. The issue: when using a high SPF sunscreen you could still damage your skin because of exposure to UVA, but without noticing it because whereas UVB rays cause sunburn, overexposure to UVA rays does not lead to any visual indication. As you can see in the table below, Zinc Oxide absorbs significantly more UV light than Titanium Dioxide. 
Zinc Oxide

Zinc Oxide has a very low photoreactivity which means it is stable in sunlight. Titanium dioxide on the other hand not only doesn’t provide adequate protection from UVA rays, it also shows some photoreactivity which means it breaks down in sunlight similar to Avobenzone and could attack other chemicals in the sunscreen formula or the skin itself. 

As a second case in point, there is research showing that Titanium Dioxide can affect your lungs when inhaled. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Committee recently concluded that: “the available scientific evidence meets the criteria in the CLP Regulation to classify titanium dioxide as a substance suspected of causing cancer through the inhalation route”

This is particularly problematic since Titanium Dioxide often is used in its nano-form which makes it easier to inhale it.

Why Zinc Oxide is the Best Choice for Natural Sunscreen

Zinc Oxide is a proven-effective ingredient and is considered the safest UV filter available, for example according to the EWG (Environmental Working Group). Since experts consider daily sun protection one of the healthiest skin habits, using a product like a mineral day cream, makeup, sunscreen, etc. containing Zinc Oxide, is a great choice for all round daily protection for every type of skin.

All in all, a double win for Zinx Oxide! And therefore it’s the only UV-filter we ever use in our mineral sunscreens.