zinc oxide

The Trouble With Making Your Own Sunscreen

Yes I have gone sunscreen crazy a little over the last week or so but it is for a good reason. It’s hot here in Australialand right now, hot, UV rich and waaaay too long between pay checks to go buy a $20 bottle of SPF 30 something for some people.  That and the fact that there are a growing number of people for whom consumer SPF 30 plus sunscreen no longer cuts the mustard – too many chemicals, what about nanoparticles,  too much synthetic perfume,  allergic to the preservatives and so on.

So is home-made sunscreen possible?

I would strongly advise against trying and that’s not because I have shares in a sunscreen company because I don’t.  It’s hard. Very hard. It’s expensive and hard and more importantly sunscreens are not just any old cosmetic, they might just save your skin.

The googlesphere is jam-packed full with recipes teaching you how to make your own homemade sunscreen.  A typical recipe looks something like this:

To make 100g

25g of Zinc Oxide powder

50g Shea Butter

10g Jojoba Oil

2g beeswax

3g Cocoa Butter

10g Olive Butter.

Mix it all up and voila, your own sunscreen and as Zinc Oxide gives somewhere between 1-1.5 SPF unit per % added you have a product with an SPF of between 25-35. Amazeballs.

Only you probably don’t.

Having worked with zinc oxide sunscreens for the last three years with varying success (and lots of failures) I can assure you that it is a pig of an ingredient being both difficult to blend into a base and keep dispersed in said base.  Being a strongly charged particle it tends to migrate towards its self and form big clumps at every available opportunity (think of it like a super charged magnet that […]

Episencial Sunny Sunscreen (and the very hungry caterpillar)

How many of us actually read the small print that covers the outer packaging of the newest addition to our bathroom cabinet?  Well, I probably spend more time reading it than most which is partly due to the fact that I write some of it but mostly because I’ve always been a bit nerdy like that. I remember as a kid trying to read the back of the henna shampoo bottle advert style as I washed my hair in the bath.  I also remember getting cross with myself for constantly stuffing it up before I wrapped the imaginary add up (note to self, I am not destined to be a hair ad voice-over artist)…..

Anyway, waffle over. I was reading the back of the Episencial sunscreen pack and found this interesting bit of text:

“I feel that taking the time to tell a story, read a book and play with your child is so important”

So do I but isn’t that a bit of an odd thing to put on a sunscreen???

And then it clicked (yup, not quick either).  This sunscreen has been licensed to use the artwork of Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  What a quaint little touch and I must say, the guys have done a great job with the branding.

The Product.

This sunscreen claims to offer an SPF 35 which is amazing being as though it contains only 5% of Zinc Oxide and 5% of Titanium Dioxide. Usually I would not expect an SPF of more than 18 with this blend, 20 at the most but by some magic of science we are up at 35!   The sunscreen feels very zincy on the skin and while it goes in quite easily it does leave […]

Avado Sunscreen

I live on one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches, Narrabeen. My husband, baby Luke and I, LOVE the outdoors; we enjoy our walks, picnics and the surf! So it’s very important that we are properly covered and protected from the sun. This sunscreen caught my eye, and Luke’s, because of the bright colour!            

What I love about this sunscreen is the wonderfully soft tube packaging, which makes it easy to squeeze the sunscreen out and also the great “Sun Sense” directions on the back! It was so amazing to see a sunscreen that has this little snippet. It was really smooth to rub onto Luke’s skin and it’s JAM-PACKED with great oils to moisturise the skin. However what I wasn’t really fond of was the thickness of the sunscreen and it was quite oily once I applied it on Luke’s arm (see picture of Luke’s chubby arm!)

Also, the smell wasn’t that appealing to me – it is very hard to disguise the smell of all that oil and Zinc.

As far as claims go, the active ingredient Zinc Oxide is a great Inorganic broad spectrum; this means that it covers both the UVA and the UVB part of the spectrum.

I’m not too keen on the “non-irritating” claim … especially if the cream contains Macadamia and Sesame Oil … what if there are children that are allergic to these? Hmmmm … tricky!

I feel proud in the fact that all these products are developed and made in Australia … now, how inspirational and awesome is that!

Avado Sunscreen Ingredients Listing:

This is an oil-only sunscreen which is why it feels a little greasy and is a little expensive. The main benefit of a water-free system is the fact […]

Sunscreen Technology – Nanoparticles on Trial

It was nearly one year ago since I took on the guise of my alter-ego  ‘lab rat’ to participate in a human study on the potential of the zinc oxide found in sunscreens to penetrate the skin.  The trial interested me on a number of levels. I have heard many a scary story about our skin and chemicals including those from camp 70% absorption to camp ‘only 10% get’s through if you REALLY try’.  I must admit that logic would lead me to the conclusion that our largest organ who’s main job is to keep what’s out out and what’s in in ‘could do better’ if it does indeed let 70% of stuff through (maybe we should just rub chocolate on our arms and give our mouths a break) but being a cosmetic chemist it seems too much of a ‘convenient truth’ to just blindly sit myself in the 10% camp. 

In addition to the skin penetration stuff I was also interested in the neat method that was proposed to track zinc through REAL people in REAL life situations using a stable isotope. That’s genius. Oh, and  last of all I just had to learn more about these nanoparticles.

So what does one do in such a situation? Well one finds some smart scientists with a laboratory,  a solar measuring machine and some rather sensible ideas and then follow them around, asking to be experimented on. That is what I did!

And now the preliminary results are published :  ICONN2010 Abstract Gulson[1].

The trial looked at two sunscreen formulations which were identical except one that formulation contained nanoparticles of zinc oxide and the other contained the good old fashioned white stuff – big and chunky (sunscreen grade) zinc oxide.   […]

Can You Banish Wrinkles with Hemorrhoid Cream

Aside from the obvious cringe factor of not wanting to rub booty cream into ones delicate eye area, this beauty tip from the junior nursing fraternity seems like just another urban myth. However, being the curious type I thought that it was about time I did some investigating…

Say What?

Apparently it is true and many people dab on a bit of hemorrhoid cream around the eye area as a quick fix to wrinkles.  A trip around google finds numerous tributes to the American brand “Preparation H” which claims to be able to shrink, soothe and smooth in one quick application. Wow!

So,  Can it work?

Now, having not tried this for myself I can’t give you a “before” and “after” testimonial. However, I can review the ingredients listing and shine a little light into what may or may not be possible.

There are many creams on the market containing many different types of ingredients – hey, there are even 100% natural butt creams to satisfy our environmentally aware side.  Some ingredients are just in the product to give it structure and stability while others perform one or another function:

Phenylephrine HCL – This is a pharmaceutical grade active that can be inhaled to help decongest the nasal passage or topically applied to help reduce swelling.  It is actually a vasoconstrictor which means it shrinks down the blood vessels a little – something that could be helpful in reducing the appearance of swollen, puffy eyes as well as other things. This seems to be the main active and technical literature about this drug explicitly states that it can reduce swelling around the eyes. Therefore it is reasonable to expect this to have some visible effect on puffy eyes. Just […]

Nanoparticles in Cosmetics to be Labeled in EU.

The European Parliament sat last week to discuss, among other things how the European Cosmetics Industry is regulated. While the cosmetics industry has been to a large degree self regulated it has to work within the laws of the country or legislative area in which the product is to be sold for some time.

Lab Rat Training Camp for Nanotechnology Project

Life as a lab rat part 1. Getting set for the trial to find out what happens to nano-sized Zinc Oxide in a sunscreen when it is applied to your skin.

Lab Rat Work Starts Tonight – Video Diary Coming Very Soon.

What to know what a real life lab rat looks like? See Amanda from Realize Beauty put through her paces in the video diary.