Why use natural sunscreens?

Summer is approaching and with it the time of holidays, which many of us associate with travelling to sunny areas, relaxing by the sea or in the mountains and playing sports. In all this, the sun keeps us company. And we all know that it's a good idea to protect ourselves from the sun's harmful rays with sunscreen. But are conventional sunscreens safe enough?

Trip to history

The very first references to sun protection date back to ancient Egypt, when fair skin was the trend. However, real sunscreen with SPF as we know it today came much later, around the 1930s-40s.

As the popularity of travel and summer holidays grew, so did the need and especially the consumption of SPF sunscreens. Today, travel is truly a mass affair and so is the use of sunscreen. As these are creams that block the effects of UVA and UVB radiation on our skin, they contain a large number of chemical ingredients and compounds that must inevitably affect not only our health, but also the balance of nature and have a major impact on the environment. Today, we already have quite a large number of scientific studies that prove that the use of conventional sunscreens in the extreme quantities that mankind uses them is a real threat.

Harmfulness of conventional sunscreens

Conventional sunscreens are made up of many synthetic substances that can negatively affect our skin, irritate it or cause allergies, and often upset our hormonal balance by entering the body through the skin. This can result in menstrual or fertility problems in women and a reduction in sperm count and quality in men.

We'll stop with male fertility for a moment.

In general, one of the reasons for male infertility is excessive heating of the body, especially the genitals. Therefore, excessive sunbathing is harmful, even with the use of conventional synthetic sunscreens. These sunscreens act as a blockade of harmful UV filters by essentially locking the body down, making the skin even more excessively heated than normal. In scientific studies, it has been proven that male sperm is already damaged by temperatures above 38°C. High temperatures not only affect the quantity of sperm, but also their quality.

Another reason for male infertility is of course lifestyle - large amounts of alcohol, smoking, unsuitable diet.... All this has a great influence on our, and therefore on fertility.

For men, tight clothing or excessive sitting can also be a big problem. Of course, we must not forget stress, which can be proportionately followed by the aforementioned dietary and substance abuse problems.

What do chemical sunscreens contain?

It has been proven that most of the chemicals that reflect UV rays pass very easily through our skin into the body. A Danish team of scientists tested a total of 29 UV filters that are commonly used in sunscreens in this country and in Europe. Out of the 29 tested, 13 affected the so-called calcium signalling that allows sperm to swim. Nine of them then presumably behaved in the body similarly to the hormone progesterone, which strongly affects human fertility.

In addition, exposure to chemical UV filters has also been shown to significantly affect fetal development, and traces of UV-filtering substances have been found in maternal urine, fetal blood or cord blood.

Do you know the most common chemical compounds found in sunscreen and how they affect your health?

  1. Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) - This substance is commonly used as a chemical SPF filter. Oxybenzone has been linked to hormonal disorders and suspected carcinogenicity.
  2. Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate) - Another common chemical compound in SPF creams that can penetrate the skin and negatively impact hormonal balance.
  3. Octocrylene - This SPF chemical has been linked to allergic reactions and can have potential negative effects on marine life.
  4. Avobenzone - Avobenzone is effective against UVA rays but can be unstable when exposed to sunlight and can cause skin irritation.
  5. Homosalate - This substance is often used to protect against UVB radiation, but can be absorbed by the skin and have a negative effect on hormonal function.

Natural mineral sunscreens

Natural sunscreens work on a different basis than chemical sunscreens. Thanks to substances such as zinc, they reflect the sun's rays away from the skin without heating it excessively. Natural sunscreens containing micro-particles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide work like a mirror, reflecting rather than absorbing the sun's rays.

Which oxide is better for sun protection?

Because zinc oxide absorbs several times more UV radiation than titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is also more resistant and does not break down into other organic compounds when exposed to the sun's rays. According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), zinc oxide is considered the safest UV filter available. And that's why it's so popular at Suntribe.

Other principles of healthy sunbathing

Finally, let's remind ourselves of other healthy tanning principles. We're sure you can name them all:

1) Look for shady spots especially during the peak hours of sunlight, which is between 11:00 and 16:00. Never expose babies younger than 6 months to direct sunlight. In addition to sunburn, scalding or heatstroke, there is also a risk of overheating, as babies do not have a developed thermoregulatory system.

2) Proper clothing and accessories. These include flowing clothing, sunglasses with sufficient UV filter, head and hair coverings.

3) Keep in the shade under an umbrella or beach tent. You can tell if a beach tent or umbrella will protect you by the UPF value on the label. This is the ultraviolet factor, which refers to protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It should be at least 30.

4) Make sure your sunscreen is still working. Choose a sunscreen that is waterproof and long-lasting, or reapply throughout the day. Remember to protect yourself adequately, even when you're in the shade. The sun not only affects your skin in the shade, but also when it's cloudy.

5) Wear sunscreen and protective equipment when in high mountain areas. Although it may not seem like it, the sun's rays are much more intense than in the lowlands, even in winter.

6) Use sunscreen even if you already have a tan. Dangerous UVA and UVB rays can affect your skin at any time.

7) Know your skin type and then choose adequate protection. What is your skin type? Light to alabaster, the kind that burns quickly or tans easily? When choosing the right cream, you must keep these factors in mind as well.

8) After sunbathing, be sure to give your stressed skin adequate care with after-sun creams. If you do get a sunburn, use appropriate products to restore and care for the sunburnt skin and do not expose it to further sun exposure.

Tanning is a bit of a science. We hope we've helped you decide which sunscreen to buy for your holiday. In our next article, we'll look at what happens if chemical UV filters get into the sea and how to prevent it.


Your girls ❤️






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