Price: $14.98 for 4 ounces or $3.75 per ounce
Active ingredients: zinc oxide, 10%
Antioxidants: green and white tea extracts, Vitamin E
Ease of applying: good on dry skin, more difficult absorption on wet skin
Scent: scent is a hint of green tea
Water resistant: does not bead with water, seems to come off easily with wet skin
There are so many different types of sunscreens on the market all with differing levels of protection, that it can be quite confusing as to which products may be the most effective. Some may be less effective, but unfortunately may also be more harmful!
I like to spend a lot of my free time outdoors, either walking or running, playing a round of golf, or occasionally sitting at the park or lake side with my family. Often I can be outdoors anywhere from 1 hour to 6 hours at a time. It is definitely important for my family and I to have very good protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Over the past week, I have had the pleasure of trying a new, more natural sunscreen product called Glacier Tropical SPF 20.
First a little science about ultraviolet rays. The sun produces ultraviolet rays at different wavelengths, some short and some long. The shorter waves are known as UVB rays and are the waves responsible for the reddening of the skin and causing sunburns. UVB rays can vary in intensity depending on season and time of day. They are also the rays responsible for Vitamin D production in the skin. These rays can also cause cancer, mostly squamous cell carcinomas. Most sunscreens base the SPF rating on its ability to block UVB rays since this is measurable in terms of skin reddening.
UVA rays are longer rays and therefore are more penetrating. They penetrate deeper into the skin and can also penetrate glass. UVA rays do not vary in intensity so remain at the same level regardless of time of day or season. Most sunscreens do not block UVA very well, and UVA rays cause accelerated skin damage and malignant melanoma, a very serious and deadly type of skin cancer.
Glacier Tropical SPF 20 is a mineral sunscreen. The main active ingredient is micronized zinc oxide, 10% which is very good at blocking both UVB and UVA rays. The main active ingredient in many sunscreens is oxybenzone, which is good at blocking UVB rays, but not UVA. Oxybenzone is also a chemical that accumulates in the body with continued use and is known to cause hormone disturbances and possibly developmental toxicities.
The other qualities of Glacier Tropical that make it a very good and effective mineral sunscreen are that it absorbs relatively well for a zinc oxide based protectant. This is probably due to the use of micronized zinc, which helps penetrate the skin a little better. It took me about 40 seconds of constant rubbing for it to fully absorb. I did not see a lot of white residue, and it actually provided a relatively clear finish. I could notice a very slight lightning of my skin tone, and I do have a darker skin tone. Another added benefit is that it contains natural antioxidants such as green tea extract and Vitamin E. It does not contain Vitamin A as many sunscreens tend to have. Vitamin A can actually accelerate skin damage and skin cancer, especially when in the sun. Any sunscreen you buy should not contain Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate.
Some things I would like to see improved from this sunscreen are its water resistant capabilities, ease of applying with wet skin, a smaller list of inactive ingredients, and a higher SPF rating. I did not get to use the product while swimming, but I did find it more difficult to apply while sweating. It did take a longer time for it to rub clear. Also with the skin wet, it seems to come off easier. Some of the inactive ingredients are chemicals that are difficult to pronounce, but after looking them up, they were all much safer than oxybenzone and Vitamin A. I would like to see this sunblock in an SPF 30. This would give it a slight increase in protection, from about 94-95% to about 97% blockage of rays.
Overall I think this is a great product for anyone to use, and my family and I are definitely making the switch from conventional, chemical based sunscreen to this natural, mineral based sunscreen.