How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXIX

Considering it is Sunscreen Week, it only makes sense to cover a sunscreen! Sunscreen is a must for many, not only during the summer, but year round. If you are applying sunscreen daily, one must stop and think: “What exactly is in my sunscreen?” There has been a fiar amount of controversy surrounding sunscreens and their believed toxicity over the past few years, which have mainly centered about Zinc Oxide nanoparticles.

For today’s feature of Label Poise, we’re going to do things a bit differently.  Usually for Label Poise each ingredient along with its safety rating and information about its origin and purpose are listed, however, the sunscreen featured is very different from any of the other products that have been featured. This product has 52 ingredients (yes you read that correctly!)–2 active and 50 inactive. Many of the inactive ingredients have been covered here before, so only the active ingredients and the first 6 inactive ingredients will be covered.

The Label


The Ingredients

Titanium Dioxide: Safe!  Also known as CI 77891, this is a white pigment used for various applications. In pure form Titanium Dioxide is a potential human carcinogen when inhaled. Its health impacts are dependent on size (i.e. nanoparticles), based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It should be fine to use in this topical product. (MSDS)

Zinc Oxide:   Safe!/Beware!!Zinc Oxide is an inorganic compound that is commonly produced as a white powder. It is used in sunscreens to absorb UVA radiation. It can be a skin and eye irritant in pure form, as well as a mutagen to mammalian somatic cells, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, or teratogenic. Zinc oxide has been the source of significant controversy when it is produced as a nanoparticle, which allows it to provide the same UV protection without leaving a white residue on the skin. (MSDS)

Water: Safe! Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in any moisturizing product.

Butyloctyl Salicylate: Beware!/Avoid! This ingredient is an ester of Salicylic acid and is typically used as a skin conditioning agent and solvent. It is considered safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review when formulated to not increase the skin sun sensitivity or be a skin sensitizer. It is not believed to be a skin or eye irritant. It is not known to be a mutagen or aquatic toxin. (MSDS)

Cetyl Dimethicone: Avoid! Also known as Cetyl Dimethicone Copoyol and Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, this ingredient is a synthetic silicone-based polymer that is typically used as an emollient, skin conditioning agent (occlusive), and anti foaming agent. This ingredient prolongs the release of active molecules and does not have a tacky texture applied to the skin. No toxicological information available. (MSDS)

DimethiconeBeware! Dimethicone is a synthetic chemical polymer siloxanes derived from silica. They are used as a skin conditioning agent and it forms a protective barrier on the skin the prevents moisture from leaving or entering, which can be harmful to skin. (MSDS)

Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer:  Beware! This ingredient is a polymer of styrene and a monomer of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid or a simple ester of one of the two. It is primarily used as a film former and is used fir its opaque properties. It has a large molecular weigh and does not penetrate the skin, though there are contamination concerns with acrylic acid, which is a respiratory toxicant and potential carcinogen, as well as 2-ethylhexyl acrylate which is a known immune system, skin, and lung toxicant. This ingredient has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and is believed to be safe in low quantities, when formulated to be non irritating. No MSDS.

Trimethylsiloxysilicate:  Beware!/Avoid!  This ingredient is a silicone based polymer that is typically used as an emollient, skin conditioning agent (occlusive), and anti foaming agent. Due to its structure, it is not water soluble. This ingredient has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and is not believed to be genotoxic, carcinogenic, skin irritants or sensitizers. No MSDS.

Not Covered

44 ingredients!!!


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