my dirty sunscreen habit

it would be rude of me not to address the fear-mongering and cancer-inducing behaviours a certain video promoted this week… everything based off of false allegations that are not science-backed.

a famous woman who happens to now sell cosmetics, – using her own blog/website to solidify a non-scientific narrative that benefits the sales for said products – made a video in a platform owned by a company that profits from affiliate links, where she deliberately ill-applied sunscreen – the underlying motive: because it has “toxic” ingredients.
I don’t care that this over-privileged woman, with privileged access to all the best of everything, including information, decides to throw it all out the window and live her whatever Detox Avocado Lifestyle. it’s one thing to do it for you. another thing is the responsibility that comes with the platform she has, plus Vogue’s. they are spreading a cancer-inducing behaviour – and it’s one of the few cancers that, to some extent can be preventable.
I deeply believe this is utterly wrong and dangerous, and everyone involved should be held accountable.

if Beenyth Faltrow was out there doing a video on how she smokes a pack a day because she discovered oxygen was toxic*, would we be having this conversation? Because, if you come to think of it, oxygen is involved in so many processes that may lead to death. and don’t get me started on hydrogen peroxide!

everything taken out of context can mean anything, and the “clean” beauty marketing spiel is creating dangerous habits along with paranoid misinformed consumers.

let’s get down to business:

  • the ingredients used in cosmetics – including sunscreens – are regulated by people who actually know how to determine that, and are used in safe concentrations;
  • sunscreens are not toxic;
  • unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, or, at best, to skin damage, premature ageing and hyperpigmentation;
  • there is no conspiracy from the Cosmetics Overlords to slowly kill you while taking your money from you intoxicated hands;
  • cosmetic science and formulation involves very intelligent, skilled people and decades of intersectional knowledge and research, testing, peer reviewing, working according to specific methodologies that help determine things like ingredient toxicity and interaction, correlation versus causation, and ultimately determining ingredient concentrations regulations and creating formulas that are absolutely safe;
  • there are international and national official/governmental organisations that define and oversee those regulations – some are more strict than others, but none is lax on safety requirements;
  • sunscreen was created to protect you from a disease that is, to some extent, preventable;
  • if you’re not using sunscreen, every other skincare you’re applying will be futile. whatever you do, the sun will basically undo;
  • it’s the ultimate anti-aging product, and it’s especially essential if you suffer from acne and/or hyperpigmentation.
  • daylight is made of UV rays, even when it’s overcast

so screw these Melanoma Janices, and let’s slather ourselves in one of the three pillars of skin health, sun protection!


1 gram, 1/2 teaspoon, or two fingers length, for face and neck.
it should be reapplied at least every two hours if under continued sun exposure/sweating/friction, or topped up whenever you’re stepping out.

which one’s the best?

ultimately, the one your skin prefers and you apply in the correct amount every day, and reapply whenever needed.
it’ll never be the most glamourous step in your routine, but it’s essential.

mineral or organic filters?

Unless you have specific skin intolerances, either is fine.  
Fully mineral sunscreens are widely recommended for sensitive skins, yet mineral filters (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) can more often make for pastier or thicker formulas and leave a white cast.
It’s easy to formulate those more elegant, fluid, lightweight, transparent formulas with organic filters.

Fun fact: My skin itches with mineral-heavy sunscreens. So it all comes down to testing stuff out.

expiration dates

If a sunscreen expires you’ll think you’re protected but the filters are no longer active, which can lead to sun damage. So keep the expiration date in check: look for the open jar symbol in the packaging — the number inside is the amount of months the product will be good after opening. I like to write the “expiration date” once I open the product, right on the packaging.

Sunscreens mentioned in this video:

at home

top up

(the mists are not reliable on their own because you need an even application)

reliable science-based communicators

The Eco Well – Science Communicator & Formulation Chemist
Lab Muffin Beauty Science – Science Educator, Chemistry PhD 
Kenna Whitnell – Biochemist & Cosmetic Formulator  
SkinChemy – Cosmetic Chemist 
SkinPerspective – Cosmetic Formulator
Kind Of Stephen – Skincare and cosmetic formulator
Annika Coherent – Material Science PhD
Caroline Hirons – Esthetician
Shereene Idriss – Dermatologist 
Dermatology demystified – Dermatologist
Ranella MD – Dermatologist
Dr. Ginza – Cosmetic Scientist, Science Educator / Communications


Lab Muffin Beauty Science on sunscreens
Lab Muffin Beauty Science on cosmetic science and formulation
The Eco Well – interview on toxicology
The Eco Well – on the “clean” movement

*the oxygen thing

“Oxygen is not only required for oxidative phosphorylation but also serves as the essential substrate for the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is implicated in ageing and tumorigenesis.” 
— Mitochondrial respiration protects against oxygen-associated DNA damage

“Pro-oxidants, reactive species and free radicals, are toxic substances that can cause oxidative damage to major constituents of biological systems. […]”
— Reassessment of a free radical theory of cancer with emphasis on ultraviolet carcinogenesis

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