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Safe and Effective Sunscreen: How It Works

There’s been a lot of chat recently about the effectiveness of sunscreens and the safety of sunscreen ingredients.  Our dermatology nurse, Susan, is here to bring you the most up-to-date, and scientifically correct information. With over 25 years’ experience in dermatology and cosmetic medicine she knows all about sensible, effective sun care.

Oasis Sun is now the number one NZ-made sunscreen in New Zealand, so we know you love it.  Full of gorgeous natural ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter, Oasis Sun is a zinc based sunscreen. But it also contains a sunscreen ingredient called ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, and there’s a really good reason for this.

 Now some folk have concerns about ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, but they are using bad science to support spurious claims.  This ingredient has been safely used in sunscreen formulations for many years and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 In order to understand how sunscreens work, let’s look at the real science.  Scholarly research suggests that an effective sunscreen should contain both UV blockers and absorbers. In Oasis Sun, we have combined zinc (blocker) with ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate (absorber) to provide stable, safe and effective daily sun protection that is suitable for all sensitive skin. 

That’s because sunscreens that combine UVB- and UVA-absorbing chemicals and/or physical screens are recognised as giving the widest range of protection.

But zinc is not only a UV blocker.  It sits on top of the skin and acts as a barrier. (This is why it’s a common ingredient in nappy rash creams).  Because it acts as a barrier on the skin, it prevents any penetration of the absorber.  So in our sunscreen the absorber (ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate) sits on top of the zinc and absorbs UV radiation on top of the skin.  We can be assured that the amount of ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate that could potentially be absorbed into the skin is clinically insignificant.

One of the biggest problems with zinc-only sunscreens is that they tend to be very greasy and heavy on the skin, and to be honest, people just don’t like wearing thick gloopy sunscreen every day, especially on their faces. We promote sun safety and really want to ensure that every single New Zealander is educated in the importance of wearing sunscreen every day.  Part of this is finding a sunscreen that feels lovely to wear, dries matte and is non-greasy so it’s even suitable for acne- or rosacea-prone skins.

 Oasis Sun ticks all the boxes.  In combining zinc with the UV absorber, we can provide a product that gives great sun protection without being greasy or staining clothes. So it’s a great choice for effective daily sun care for the whole family and especially for sensitive skin.


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