Written by Erin Hourihan and Christina Mossaad
Q: I would like to know more about our sunscreen. What makes it better than others on the market and can it be used on the face?
A: It’s complicated.
Keep reading to discover a truth, 💣 complete with references.
Currently, nearly sixty active compounds are allowed in the making of sunscreen products. These are divided into two main categories, depending on their physicochemical properties and mechanisms of action: The organic chemical sunscreen filters act by absorbing the UV radiation (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Benzophenone-3); and the other group mainly formed by inorganic compounds creating a physical sunscreen (Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide), act by reflecting or dispersing it.
The SPF of a sunscreen is measured in a laboratory. It is defined as the amount of UV radiation (exposure time) needed to produce a sunburn (erythema) on skin protected with a sunscreen, relative to that of unprotected skin.
SeneSun SPF 30 sunscreen
Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (7.5%), Homosalate (6.0%),
Benzophenone-3 (6.0%), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (5.0%)
Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua Purificata) Purified, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,
Polysorbate 20, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Orchid Extract, Algae Extract,
Glucosamine HCL, Yeast Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate,
Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Tricontanyl PVP, Acrylates/C10-
30 Alkyl Acrylates Crosspolymer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Urea, Triethanolamine,
Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben,
Isobutylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum).
The main advantage of SeneSun over other chemical sunscreens on the market is the proprietary SenePlex content helping with hydration and cellular renewal while synergystically protecting from UV radiation with the Chemical sunscreen content.
For those concerned about the health and environmental effects of Chemical sunscreens, this information may be of interest:
The following SeneSun chemical sunscreens are present in concentrations approved by the FDA.
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (AKA octinoxate): used as a chemical sunscreen to absorb/filter UV light and prevent photo-deterioration by dispersing UV rays. It is cheap and effective at preventing sunburns. Research shows that when used in sunscreen this compound is absorbed through the skin an excreted through the urine. Potential endocrine-disrupting effects attributed to ethyhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC) are being debated. Preliminary results show that aggregate exposure results are below the level that should be considered unsafe. However, the long-term effects of endocrine disruptors are not known and future studies are need to provide accurate information regarding the safety for prolonged use in humans. EWG.org provides a list of synonyms and references supporting potential health concerns.
Homosalate: used as an effective chemical sunscreen. This molecule does experience degradation from exposure to light. Multiple concerns related to contamination, skin absorption, and endocrine disruption are found in the literature. One study showed that four of six UV-filters tested increased cell proliferation and that homosalate was one of the most active compounds, increasing the number of viable cells by 3.5.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/…/Simultaneous_determination_of_th… In this study, the presence of the UV filters in the human placenta samples found low exposure levels to these compounds, but the presentation would depend on the exposure and metabolism, so the more exposure during pregnancy, the higher the likelihood it would be found in the placenta.
http://www.synchropublisher.com/…/gj…/article/viewFile/87/58 This study has an excerpt of the conclusion worth considering:
“A few studies at the molecular level and in vivo have shown the interaction of HMS with antiandrogenic and estrogenic receptors. Homosalate has an endocrine disruptors activity. The long-term exposure to HMS can still cause serious toxic effects including mutations and genetic instability. As a consequence, this compound should be tested for with regard to endocrine activity. While using these chemicals, risk/benefit relationship should be considered. In conclusion, Homosalate must be researched in animal and human for the possible long-term toxic effects of homosalate in cosmetics. “
Benzophenone-3: oil soluble, chemical sunscreen widely used in the US. numerous studies have shown systemic absorption of chemical sunscreens. Due to the structural characteristics of benzophenone-3 it is well suited for maximum absorption through the skin. Benzophenone-3 and its metabolites have been detected in the plasma, tissue, and urine of animals, as well as the urine of humans.
Ethylhexyl Salicylate (aka Octyl salicylate): a colorless oily liquid used in chemical sunscreens. The salicylate portion of the molecule absorbs ultraviolet light and the ethylhexanol portion adds emollient properties to sunscreen products. When exposed to light this molecule undergoes some degradation and can be mildly irritating.
http://www.ijpderma.com/…/resources/documents/20170817T0823…(*study notes that skin absorption tests are usually done on the back and facial skin may result in greater levels of adsorption)
The second area of concern is the potential degradation of chemical sunscreens resulting in highly reactive and biologically damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). The number of UV-induced ROS is directly related to the length of time UV filters (chemical sunscreens) remain on the skin. Initially, resulting ROS are decreased with the addition of a UV filter, but after 60min degradation of the filters generates ROS in greater numbers than the control.
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: emollient and thickening agent
Polysorbate 20: surfactant, emulsifier, and fragrance
Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice: moisturizer and anti-inflammatory
Orchid Extract: antioxidant and moisturizer
Algae Extract: thickening agent and antioxidant
Glucosamine HCL: anti-inflammatory
Yeast Extract: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Tocopherol: (Vitamin E) skin conditioning and antioxidant
Tocopheryl Acetate: (Vit E derivative) skin conditioning and antioxidant
Retinyl Palmitate: (Vitamin A combined with a saturated fatty acid) improves collagen and elastin production. Troubling information related to the use of Vitamin A on the skin when exposed to light.
Dimethicone: lubricant and skin conditioning agent
Sodium PCA: skin conditioning agent
Ethylhexyl Palmitate: lubricant
Tricontanyl PVP: film forming and waterproofing
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylates Crosspolymer: used to create products with smooth consistency due to its ability to bind to both water and oil
Tetrasodium EDTA: chelating agent and potential antimicrobial and antibiofilm agent
Urea: water binding and moisturizing
Triethanolamine: surfactant and pH adjuster
Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben &
Isobutylparaben: preservatives are shown to result in bio-accumulation and possible endocrine disrupting effects.
Additional References of interest:
Conclusion regarding the safety of chemical sunscreens:
Research is on the cusp of realizing the detrimental effects of these compounds, so while nothing is absolute in conclusion yet, there is plenty to heighten concern and caution especially as a product used over large areas of the body and for multiple applications per day and days on end as with vacations.