Natural Sunscreen Vs. Organic Sunscreen: What's The Difference?
When summertime rolls around, you whip out the sunscreen and lather it all over your and your kids’ bodies. But exactly what’s in that sunscreen going on your skin? If you’re wondering about natural sunscreen or organic sunscreen and what they can do for you, stick around.
In this article, we’ll give you the low-down on natural sunscreen as well as organic sunscreen — what those terms mean and why you can trust natural sunscreen to protect your skin from the rays of the sun.
Let’s start by talking about natural sunscreen before we move on to what the term “organic” means when applied to sunblock.
Defining Natural Sunscreen
The word “natural” is thrown around a lot these days in the skincare and cosmetic world. It’s not only used to define sunscreen.
So, before we focus in on what “natural sunscreen” is, let’s talk about natural skin care in general.
Natural Skin Care
“Natural,” when applied to skincare products, is not a technical term regulated by the government. Usually, it just means that a product has been made with ingredients that come from plants, botanicals, or great Mother Nature. You get the idea.
Let’s move on to sunscreen specifics, though.
There are two types of sunscreen — mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen — and the difference between the two is in their active ingredients. Natural sunscreen typically refers to mineral sunscreen, which is also called physical sunscreen.
Let’s briefly talk about each one so you can know exactly what you’re getting in your sun protection products.
The active ingredients in sunscreen are what actually do the work of warding off the sun’s rays. In mineral (or natural) sunscreens, the two active ingredients used are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
These two active ingredients work by sitting on top of your skin (rather than absorbing into your skin) and reflecting, absorbing, and scattering the sun’s UV rays.
To clear up the particulars of mineral sunscreen even more, here’s another important detail about the active ingredients. Non-nano zinc oxide is the cream of the crop when it comes to active ingredients.
What’s the deal with “non-nano?” In layman’s terms, a nanoparticle is very, very, very small. So, non-nano means that a particle isn’t quite as tiny.
The concern with tiny nano-particles is that they may be small enough to penetrate your skin and make their way into your bloodstream.
There’s not enough data to prove that this happens, but it’s not really worth the risk since non-nano sunscreen is an option. This is why here at Babo Botanicals, we think non-nano zinc oxide is the way to go.
Plus, zinc oxide is a powerhouse because it provides broad-spectrum (meaning that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays) protection all by itself with no other active ingredients required.
Zinc oxide is also super gentle on sensitive skin. In fact, it’s so easy on skin that it’s a common ingredient in baby diaper cream.
It’s easy to remember the sort of protection that mineral sunscreen offers since it’s also called physical sunscreen and that’s just what it does — it provides a physical barrier that helps protect your skin from the sun.
So, this is what natural sunscreen is: sun protection that uses the power of minerals to block the sun’s rays and protect your skin without chemical active ingredients.
Here at Babo Botanicals, all of our sunscreen products are made with either non-nano zinc oxide or a mix of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
For example, Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion is formulated with zinc oxide to provide sun protection and skin-soothing oils to moisturize your skin at the same time. Talk about a hard-working sunscreen!
An example of a sunscreen that combines titanium dioxide and non-nano zinc oxide is Babo Botanicals Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Spray. With 100% mineral active ingredients, it’s not only good for your skin, but it’s also reef-safe. Win-win.
Simply shake well, apply liberally, and reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. Remember not to spray it directly into your or your child’s face.
Now that you know about natural sunscreen (mineral sunscreen), let’s turn to the other type of sunscreen so you can get the full picture.
Chemical sunscreen works a bit differently and uses different active ingredients than mineral sunscreen.
The sun-blocking active ingredients used include the chemicals avobenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. Typically, more than one of these is used in a chemical sunscreen in order to provide adequate broad-spectrum protection.
Now let’s talk about how these ingredients offer that much-needed protection from the sun.
Basically, there is a chemical reaction that takes place when the UV rays hit your sunscreen-covered skin. The sun’s rays are absorbed and converted into heat energy so they don’t damage your skin.
Chemical sunscreen may provide effective sun protection, but its ingredients are questionable in other ways. The chemical active ingredients we mentioned above can soak into your skin and do some damage to both your skin and your body.
Here’s one example. Oxybenzone, a chemical active ingredient, can irritate sensitive skin, disrupt your hormones, and bleach coral reefs when it washes off of your body and into the ocean.
(Sunscreen doesn’t just affect you and your body! This is why many are advocating for reef-safe sunscreens.)
Now that you know about natural sunscreen and how it differs from chemical sunscreen, let’s wrap up by talking about organic sunscreen.
Defining Organic Sunscreen
“Organic” is a word that requires some defining since chemists in a lab would use it quite differently than your average Joe shopping for fruit that’s grown without pesticides, hormones, and the like.
Firstly, food isn’t the only thing that can be classified as organic. Skincare products, like sunscreen, can also wear this label.
To be considered USDA Organic, skincare products must be made of at least 95% organic material. Some products contain lots of wonderful organic ingredients; they just don’t quite meet the requirements for the USDA Organic seal.
What’s another reason that a product containing organic ingredients might not wear the USDA Organic label? The USDA certification is expensive! Some smaller companies might not be able to pay for it.
For both of these reasons, it’s always a good idea to read the label on sunscreens and other skincare products to see exactly what organic ingredients it contains.
That said, let’s cut to the chase. What is organic sunscreen? It is sunscreen made with ingredients that are organically grown.
For example, Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Facial Sunscreen is made with titanium dioxide and non-nano zinc oxide to safely protect your skin from the sun, but it also contains organic ingredients including aloe, shea butter, and jojoba oil.
Additionally, it is crafted with our organic Nutri-Soothe™ Complex, which is rich in vitamins. This sheer, non-greasy mineral sunscreen is a treat for your skin and perfect for everyday wear.
We have one last note about organic sunscreen. Keep in mind that organic is different from vegan and cruelty-free.
Vegan means that there are no animal products or by-products, while a product that is “cruelty-free” assures you that the product and its ingredients were not tested on animals.
Safe Sun Protection With Natural Sunscreen
In this article, you’ve learned about natural sunscreen and organic sunscreen and what they both bring to the table.
For sunscreen that is easy on your skin, good for your body, and safe for the coral reefs, turn to natural sunscreen made with organic ingredients. Mineral sunscreen formulated with non-nano zinc oxide provides the safe, effective sun protection that you need!
Simply apply and enjoy fun in the sun the natural way. It’s as easy as that!