Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body SPF 30 is almost identical to Suntegrity's Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30, which costs almost twice as much for half as much product. Like the facial version, the "body version" is best for dry skin; sadly, however, just like the facial version, the Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body SPF 30 also contains fragrant citrus oils research has shown pose a strong risk of skin irritation. These citrus oils make it impossible for this sunscreen to earn a higher rating. See More Info for reasons why it's best to avoid fragrance in your skin-care routine.
It's important to point out that Suntegrity lists their ingredients on this product in alphabetical order instead of by concentration, as they do for their Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30. Listing ingredients alphabetically is legal for a sunscreen, but it makes it impossible for a consumer to distinguish the difference between two very similar formulas; in this case, their facial version, whose formula it nearly identical. (H-m-m-m, we wonder if that was intentional,… but we can only guess.)
Suntegrity claims that it lists the ingredients in alphabetical order to comply with the new FDA monograph, but there is no such requirement—they are either misinformed or dishonest. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, like sunscreens, have the option to list their ingredients alphabetically, but it is in no way mandatory (FDA.gov, 21CFR201.66(8) It's not a new policy, either; it's been permitted for decades. This also begs the question: If this is a requirement by the FDA, why doesn't Suntegrity list the ingredients alphabetically on all of their sunscreen formulas?
Despite the "paraben free" label, there isn't anything wrong with parabens as preservatives in cosmetics. They have a substantial, decades-long global safety record for use in both food and cosmetics. For more information on parabens in cosmetics, see our article on the topic. Also, scare tactics like those used by Suntegrity about ingredients such as mineral oil are unfounded by published, peer-reviewed science.
Suntegrity portrays ingredients like cetyl dimethicone on their ingredient list as being "mineral-based." Technically, all silicones are engineered from the mineral silica (sand), but what comes out of that engineering process is anything but natural.
Silicones are perfectly safe and beneficial for the skin, but it's worth noting for transparency's sake that Suntegrity portrays their formulas as "natural," when, in fact, they contain ingredients that are about as natural as Splenda. Ditto for the preservative polyaminopropyl biguanide—it's a totally synthetic ingredient (and perfectly safe and effective, just like parabens).
There are many better-formulated alternatives to consider on our list of Best Sunscreens (Including Kids), and they will work well on the face or the body.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Suntegrity’s SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen for the body offers broad-spectrum protection and is free of harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, sulfates, nanoparticles and chemical UV absorbers. It's non-greasy and contains 20% non-nano, uncoated zinc-oxide for therapeutic broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen formula is easy to apply, loaded with antioxidants for healthy protection all year round and has a light uplifting citrus scent.21CFR201.66(8)
Active Ingredients: 20% Zinc-Oxide. Inactive Ingredients (listed in alphabetical order per the new FDA sunscreen monograph): Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides (Coconut Oil Extract), Cetyl Dimethicone (Mineral Based), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Essential Oil, Citrus Reticulata Blanco (Tangerine) Essential Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Organic Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin (Plant Derived Preservative), Glyceryl Monostearate (Plant Derived), Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hexyl Laurate (Plant Derived), Hyaluronic Acid (Plant Derived), Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salt), Polyaminopropyl Biguanide (Preservative), Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate (Plant Derived), Punica Granatum (Organic Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sorbitan Stearate (Plant Derived), Water (Aqua).
Created by aesthetician Tricia Trimble, Suntegrity is a relatively small collection of products focused on mineral (zinc oxide)–based sunscreen formulas. According to Trimble, she developed the Suntegrity line out of the desire to create sunscreens that appeal to those who traditionally don’t like to wear sun protection, due either to their aesthetics or other qualities. That’s certainly a commendable goal!
Unfortunately, these noble intentions are wrapped up in a lot of misinformation that’s intended to make these products seem safer than other options, which is not the case at all. For example, Suntegrity makes a great deal about their products being “natural,” which they are not; they contain many “unnatural” ingredients. They describe certain ingredients as being plant or mineral derived, but that doesn’t make them natural in the least.
For the record, we have nothing against any ingredient—natural or synthetic—as long as it is good for the skin. But, there isn’t anything special about a natural ingredient that makes it automatically better for the skin than a synthetic ingredient. In fact, many natural ingredients are extremely damaging to the skin, and some are phototoxic, which means they cause even more damage when they are applied and then the skin is exposed to the sun.
What we do take issue with are beauty brands that use scare tactics to sell the notion that their natural products are good and that everyone else’s products are bad because they contain synthetic ingredients. This is especially obnoxious when a company, like Suntegrity, makes products that do include synthetic ingredients. Their products are not “chemical-free” as they state; in fact, everything on a cosmetic ingredient label is technically a chemical, including water.
We’re always so disappointed to see such needless twisting of the facts; brands should just rely on the quality of their products to speak for themselves, but we know that’s not going to happen any time soon.
When we evaluate the potential benefit or potential harm of any ingredient, we always consider what the peer-reviewed, published research demonstrates as fact—whether an ingredient is natural or not isn’t relevant in determining whether it’s helpful for the skin.
It’s ironic, and so frustrating, that many of Suntegrity’s formulas would have been excellent options had they not included citrus oils, which have strong potential to irritate skin and cause phototoxic reactions. Suntegrity doesn’t address the fact that the ingredients they demonize, like mineral oil and sulfates, have plenty of research demonstrating their safety and effectiveness in cosmetics formulas, while the fragrant ingredients Suntegrity includes in their products (such as grapefruit, tangerine, and orange oils) are well documented for their potential to provoke sensitizing and allergenic reactions (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
If you look past the Suntegrity products that contain citrus oils (and you should), you will find that they have a few truly excellent mineral-based sunscreens for dry to very dry skin (an area of the market that’s largely lacking; it’s tough to find a truly emollient mineral sunscreen). If Suntegrity had left the fragrance out of all of their formulas, they would have a lineup of BEST-rated sunscreens; we might even overlook their scare tactic marketing approach.
It’s worth noting that Suntegrity’s body sunscreens are nearly exact duplicates of their facial formulas, but their body formulas cost only about half as much for twice the amount of product. Suntegrity appears to use a few rather, what we call, “slippery” techniques to make this fact less obvious, and we point these out in the relevant reviews. All told, we wish we were as impressed with this brand’s approach to sunscreen marketing as we were with some of their products. In a perfect world, such misinformation wouldn’t be perpetuated, and we could focus on what’s most important for skin health: Protecting it from sun damage.
For more information about Suntegrity, visit www.suntegrityskincare.com
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