This somewhat thick ointment provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection in a formula that includes the mineral zinc oxide as the sole sunscreen active. This should mean this product is a home run for sensitive skin that can have problems with so-called "synthetic" sunscreen ingredients—but in this case KINeSYS dropped the ball when it comes to some of the supporting players!
This is definitely not a sunscreen for people who prefer an "invisible" application, as it leaves a noticeable white cast, but KINeSYS doesn't advertise it as invisible. This is definitely a heavy formula that you can easily see as you're applying it; KINeSYS notes that this helps avoid any missed spots in application, and they're right!
The zinc oxide is combined with a good blend of emollients, such as sunflower seed oil and beeswax, and there are some antioxidants in the mix, which helps boosts skin's defenses against environmental damage. Unfortunately, because this product is packaged in a jar, those antioxidants will begin to lose their potency as soon as you open the lid. See More Info for why jar packaging can be a bad thing!
There's also the matter that this contains peppermint oil and rosemary leaf oil, both of which are bad news for skin, whether it's sensitive or not. Peppermint is a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis on the face (Sources: International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, January 2012, pages 147–161; Dermatitis , November-December 2010, pages 327–329; and www.naturaldatabase.com). Rosemary oil has aromatic components that can cause irritation, or sensitizing or toxic reactions on skin (Source: Chemical Research in Toxicology, November 2001, pages 1546–1551).
Given the presence of these two problematic ingredients, we advise steering clear of this ointment and turning to one of the options on our list of Best Sunscreens instead.
The fact that this sunscreen is packaged in a jar means the antioxidants won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
100% mineral block contains 25% pure zinc oxide with the refreshing and vibrant essence of peppermint and rosemary extract.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 25.0%; Inactive Ingredients: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Capric / Caprylic Triglyceride, Beeswax, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil and Tocopherols, Polyhydroxystearic Acid (and) Isostearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (and) Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Bisabolol.
Strengths: All the KINeSYS sunscreens provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection; all the spray-on products are alcohol-free; many of the sunscreens contain a good blend of lightweight emollients and are non-greasy; all formulas are either fragrance-free or minimally fragranced.
Weaknesses: Pure zinc oxide product contains rosemary and peppermint oils, which pose a risk of skin irritation; the sunscreens would be better if they included more antioxidants.
As with many smaller skin-care brands, the story of KINeSYS begins with one person’s mission to fill what they perceived as a gap in the market. In this case, that person is Jeff Kletter, a Californian who got a stark warning from his physician during a checkup in 1993: Get in better shape or die young! With that in mind, Kletter hired a personal trainer, and began to seriously work out. Not surprisingly, he experienced some pain and soreness following the workouts, and complained to his trainer that the pain relief products he used for his sore muscles didn’t work for him. The trainer jokingly suggested that Kletter make his own pain-relief formula, which he took seriously, resulting in the birth of KINeSYS in 1994. This this now-primarily sunscreen brand began by selling an Analgesic Sport Stick for pain relief, and it’s still in the product lineup. The sport stick is hardly revolutionary, containing mostly wintergreen oil, menthol, and alcohol… but we digress.
The lore continues that Kletter and his trainer, who eventually married, went on to hire a chemist and a doctor of sports medicine to help them develop more products. That doctor, Doug Clement, told Kletter that, in general, athletes have a lower occurrence of most diseases except for one - skin cancer – the reason being that athletes spend a greater amount of time outdoors. After hearing this, KINeSYS began to focus on sunscreens and the importance of daily sun protection.
The brand’s messaging states its products are ideal for athletes and for anyone who participates in a lot of outdoor activities, but the truth is that a good sunscreen is a good sunscreen, regardless of where it’s being used or who’s using it.
So, are KINeSYS sunscreens good? For the most part, the answer is yes. Every formula offers reliable broad-spectrum protection, which is crucial in preventing sun damage. Though the formulas are extremely basic, they contain no alcohol, which is always a benefit for skin. Even the spray-on sunscreens are alcohol-free, a rarity for this type of sunscreen. Some also are fragrance-free, and even those products that do include fragrance contain only a minimal amount. Also appealing is the fact that the spray-on formulas dry to a silky finish in about five minutes, thanks to the inclusion of silicones that keep them lightly emollient without being greasy. They’re also water-resistant, which means you can be in the water from 40 to 80 minutes (depending on whether the product is “water resistant” or “very water resistant”) before you have to reapply.
For all of our enthusiasm, however, there are some drawbacks. We would like to see more antioxidants included in the formulas, as antioxidants help increase skin’s environmental defenses and give sunscreens a natural boost so they can better protect your skin.
While these formulas are great for skin, if you apply them to your forehead and then sweat profusely, there is a risk of it creeping into your eyes and stinging, although that’s true of any sunscreen that contains synthetic sunscreen agents. Consider testing this issue out; if you have a problem, then to protect your face, wear a hat or use a sunscreen that has only mineral actives
There’s only one true stinker in the KINeSYS line: the zinc oxide ointment, which would have been a great option for sensitive skin, except that it includes peppermint and rosemary oils, both of which pose a risk of skin sensitization and irritation. What were they thinking?
Despite this slight misstep, KINeSYS offers decent options for sun protection, and in convenient, easy-to-use-on-the-go forms that hopefully will lead to more sunscreen application, something we definitely encourage, whether you’re an outdoor athlete or spend most of your time indoors.
For more information about KINeSYS, visit www.kinesys.com, or call 1-877-KINeSYS (U.S.) or 1-888-KINeSYS (Canada).
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