The Truth about Sunscreens

Our knowledge of sun protection has most certainly improved, we’ve gone from only using sunscreens on holiday or when sunbathing to understanding that SPF needs to be used every day, all year round, in order to protect our skin from damage.

But while we have changed our behaviour towards how we use SPF, what we haven’t done is look at exactly what we’re applying to our skin and that is a cause for concern.

Medical skincare experts AlumierMD, whose research team includes leading scientists, dermatologists and industry professionals and is led by Dr Karl Lintner PhD. (responsible for introducing the peptide concept to cosmetic applications) and Dr Mindy Goldstein, PhD in photobiology, UV, and gamma radiation damage to DNA, want people to be able to make an informed decision when it comes to sunscreens.

The brand is promoting a #SunSafe campaign, their goal? To make people aware of the dangers of chemical sunscreens and ensure physical formulations, which are cosmetically elegant to use, are widely available.  

What happens to our skin during UV exposure?

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) measurements only measure UVB.  SPF protects against the UVB rays that are responsible for the burn, what they don’t tell you is that by using an SPF your skin does not become red as quickly and we think we are safe.  The issue is UVA I and II do not make you red and pass through the epidermis into the dermis and is the leading cause of melanoma, which is only 2nd to lung cancer as the leading cause of death from cancer.  So a good sunscreen will protect from UVA and UVB which is termed a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen.

Chemical Vs Physical Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens, like those you predominantly find on the shelves of beauty halls and supermarkets, contain special UV filters that absorb the sun’s UV rays, cutting down the amount of radiation that can penetrate the skin. However, chemical sunscreens penetrate into the skin below the surface of the epidermis and even enter the bloodstream. As a result, according to an article by Yale University, ‘they pose possible hormonal side effects and could even be promoting the kind of skin cancers they’re designed to prevent.’

Research led by Kerry M. Hanson, a senior research scientist in the Department of Chemistry at UCR, reported that three chemical UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3 and octocrylene), which are approved by the FDA and widely used in sunscreens, generate ROS in skin themselves when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, thus augmenting the ROS that is naturally produced. The researchers note that the additional ROS are generated only when the UV filters have penetrated into the skin and, at the same time, sunscreen has not been reapplied while exposed to the sun to prevent ultraviolet radiation from reaching these filters. They concluded that “More advanced sunscreens that ensure that the UV filters stay on the skin surface are needed; such filters would reduce the level of UV-induced ROS. Another solution may be to mix the UV filters with antioxidants since antioxidants have been shown to reduce UV-induced ROS levels in the skin.”

AlumierMD have solved this problem

Physical sunscreens (Zinc and Titanium Dioxide) do just this; they sit on the skin surface and deflect or block UVA I & II and UVB rays but are not absorbed by the body, they simply towel-off. This not only means the UV isn’t being taken into the skin but makes these sunscreens better tolerated and safer for most skin types.

In today’s society, where our toxic-loading is so high, it’s increasingly important to limit the toxins absorbed by our bodies that can disrupt our hormonal balance and have a long-term negative impact on our health.

If Physical Sunscreens are better, why don’t we have access to more?  

Grace Maree, Director of Operations for AlumierMD UK, who has a degree in molecular biology, explains

“Despite the concerns with chemical sunscreens and evidence to suggest they are hormone disruptors, affecting our oestrogen and estrogen balance, very few companies produce physical sunscreens. The reason for this lies in the research and development process. Physical formulas can often be very thick and unpleasant to use – think cricketers sun block – trying to convert physical sunscreen into a product that people want to apply to their skin daily is incredibly expensive and time-consuming. At AlumierMD, our sun protection line is a labour of love, a large R+D budget was spent on creating cosmetic elegance in a physical only SPF but we feel it’s so important to educate people on the implications of using chemical sunscreen so they can make an informed decision, whilst providing a feasible alternative. This type of sunscreen just hasn’t been readily available in the market until now.”  

‘Aerosol sunscreens should be avoided. They are designed to be used on the skin not inhaled and this is where the concerns start. Whether a chemical or physical sunscreen, the active ingredients in SPFs are not intended to reach our lungs or get into our bloodstream and their effects can be damaging. The FDA (food & drug administration) warn against using spray sunscreens, with the FDA even intimating a ban could be on the cards.’

AlumierMD – The SPF Pledge

AlumierMD have a clean science policy for all of their products and they do not angel dust. This couldn’t be truer of their SPF range, which is a complete collection of physical only SPFs, which will not transfer chemicals into the body and offer broad-spectrum UV coverage.  Each of the SPFs is also enhanced with powerful antioxidants to counteract free radicals and limit their damage.

sunscreens alumiermd uk

AlumierMD Sunscreens available at Margot London Crouch End

AlumierMD’s sunscreens use two physical filters of the highest quality:

Micronized Zinc Oxide: A safe, micro-fine mineral that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA (ageing) and UVB (sunburn-causing) rays without leaving residual chalkiness on the skin. Zinc oxide is known as a physical sunscreen agent, largely reflecting and scattering UV rays.

Titanium Dioxide: A naturally occurring mineral, coated for sun-stability, titanium dioxide offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide is known as a physical sunscreen agent and reflects UV rays.

The Tinted SPF: Moisture Matte Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 (RRP £47, 120ml)

Moisture Matte Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 provides powerful broad-spectrum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays using a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both physical filters. The formula lightly moisturises to smooth and hydrate, while absorbing excess oil to create a matte finish. Antioxidants like caffeine, silybin and knotgrass extract protect skin from UV and free radical damage. Cutting edge, colour-encapsulated technology blend on the skin creating a sheer tint and healthy glow. Available in Ivory, Sand and Amber Tints, it can be used in place of your daily foundation.

For All Skin Types: Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 (RRP £45, 120ml)

Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 is a silky and sheer physical only sunscreen. The formula uses a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays, while moisturising with vitamin E. The formula is also packed with free-radical quenching antioxidants including a stable vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, grape seed extract and glutathione, to protect skin from UV damage. Available in both untinted and a versatile tint that blends beautifully on the skin creating a sheer radiance.

Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 42 (RRP £47, 120ml)

Clear Shield Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 42 is a lightweight non-comedogenic sunscreen that provides powerful broad-spectrum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both physical filters. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) and sodium hyaluronate soothe and moisturise.

Light in texture, gentle and quick drying, this sunscreen is perfect for all skin types but particularly oily, rosacea and acne-prone skin.


Come into our Crouch End salon to test out which #AlumierMDUK 100% Physical sunscreen suits you. Contact us now for more information by calling us on 020 8347 5012.