How Organic is your Organic Sunscreen?

Following my post of Cancer Alert: Protect Your Skin this Summer, I have been searching for natural and safe [tag]sunscreen[/tag]s that is free of harmful chemical ingredients like Octyl Methoxycinnamate (OMC), Titanium Dioxide, benzophenone and etc…

I first did a search in [tag]Google[/tag] using the search term “organic sun screen” and a list of hits were returned. One of the hit results interest me and I clicked on the following:

Google Results

The above search results said “Find organic sunscreen manufacturers and retailers” and that’s definitely the site I would like to check out as part of my quest.

I was delighted to find a list of manufacturers that produce [tag]organic sunscreen[/tag]:

Sunscreen manufacturer

I was attracted to [tag]Alba Botanica[/tag] because they are selling “Organic Lavender Sunscreen SPF 30. Light textured and fast absorbing sun protection enriched with vitamins, certified organics herbs and pure plant proteins for optimum benefits. SPF 15 “. With that, I decided to click on their link and see what they got to offer.

Alba Sunscreen

It is a very well designed website and I am quite impressed with what I read about the product description:

Product Description

PRO: From the Signature Ingredients, the product looks fantastic. They actually include CERTIFIED organic lavender, aloe vera, chamomile, green tea and ginkgo.. !How exciting… :)

However, being a skeptic I searched for the complete ingredient list on the web page. The ingredient list was displayed on the right most panel of the page and here is a snap shot of it:

Ingredient List

CON: Hmm..after scrutinizing and analyzing the ingredient list, I am VERY disappointed with Alba Organic Lavender Sunscreen. Besides the organic ingredients, they have included other nasties as well! From the list, Alba sunscreen also contain:

  • isopropyl palmitate,
  • glyceryl stearate SE,
  • steareth-2,
  • dimethicone,
  • trimethylsiloxysilicate,
  • glyceryl stearate,
  • stearic acid,
  • methyl glyceth-20,
  • cetyl phosphate,
  • allantoin,
  • phenoxyethanol,
  • benzyl alcohol,
  • potassium sorbate

These stuff are definitely neither natural nor organic! These are synthetic chemicals and you can actually go to MSDS to check its toxicity.

For example, Dimethicone is a silicone emollients that is occlusive – that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do. Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients are known tumor promoters and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.

I cannot imagine myself putting some Dimethicone on my skin. Even, the thought of applying a mixture with isopropyl palmitate is rather daunting. This is because isopropyl palmitate is a fatty acid from palm oil combined with synthetic alcohol. Industry tests on rabbits indicate the chemical can cause skin irritation and dermatitis. Also shown to be comedogenic (i.e. acne promoting).

These are just a small research on the ingredient list and I am not liking what I’ve read. For sure, Alba ‘Organic’ sunscreen will not be one of my to-buy product. It is now in my black book.

I am feeling angry about the abuse of the word ‘organic’ as a mere marketing strategy to attract health-conscious consumers. It is really up to you to judge, how organically safe is your organic sunscreen?

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