People have a love/hate relationship with sunscreen. We love it because sun protection is the first line of treatment against wrinkles, open pores, pigmentation, basically all signs of ageing. But we hate it because of the tacky texture and the huge number of chemicals in it. That said, you can apply the most expensive serums and night creams but if you're not militant about sun protection then you will undo your hard work.


Recently though sunscreens have come under the scanner. Most of them use chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, homosalate and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor to guard the skin. Unfortunately a lot of these chemicals turn into hormone disrupters when they get absorbed by the skin. But that’s not all. Oxybenzone is banned in many countries, not just because it could be carcinogenic, but also because it is damaging to the environment. It is known to stunt the growth of baby corals in our oceans (among other things). Avobenzene (the other commonly used chemical guard) is broken down easily by the sunlight, reducing it’s skin protecting potential. So either way, chemical sunscreens are potentially harmful for health and, in many cases, do not provide adequate protection.


So, what’s the good news?


You can protect your skin without damaging your health or the environment. The new sunscreens are all natural and there are many reasons why you should adopt these new complexion protectors. The active ingredients are usually zinc or titanium dioxide, which provide a physical barrier on the skin. So this means that unlike chemical sunscreens, where you have to wait 20 minutes before going out, these are active as soon as you apply them.


What’s more, these minerals are known to be therapeutic for the skin (especially for people who are prone to redness or rosacea) as they help calm the complexion. This means that even the most sensitive skins will benefit from a mineral sunscreen. You can almost think of its as a day-long face mask. When you wash it off, you will find that your skin looks more rested. You can also use this sunscreen around the eyes and on babies too. In fact the healing properties of zinc oxide make it a popular choice to treat diaper rashes, chapped skin, and minor burns.


While the minerals in some natural sunscreens are responsible for that white tint on the skin, newer formulations get absorbed quickly so the white pallor disappears fairly soon. The new generation of natural sunscreens are also packed with antioxidants, botanicals and butters, which make them a complete anti-ageing solution.


Like in all aspects of life, in the battle between chemical and natural, nature always has the right answer.