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From today, you’ll only be able to buy mineral SPFs
There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years on the effects of sunscreen on our oceans. A 2008 European study found that approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in our oceans every year, while a 2015 study in the journalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology led to the ban of oxybenzone (a popular sunscreen ingredient) in many countries, after it was found to be directly linked to coral bleaching, the top cause of coral death worldwide.
And now Holland & Barrett are taking things one step further – by becoming the first major retailer in the UK to ban all chemical sunscreens from their stores, making the retailer’s entire suncare range ‘reef safe’.
What does this mean? Essentially, it ensures that all products containing ocean-damaging ingredients (including oxybenzone and octinoxate) will now be banned from all Holland & Barrett stores nationwide, and online, and the retailer will be offering only 100% mineral formulas. In a nutshell: if you’re wanting to shop purely mineral SPF formulas, it’s a good idea to head to Holland & Barrett.
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But let’s go back to basics for a minute. Mineral and chemical sunscreens not only use different ingredients to protect the skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays – but they actually work in completely different ways.
Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. They then allow sun rays to be absorbed, before turning the energy into heat that is then dissipated. Mineral sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and acting as a physical barrier, reflecting the sun rays away.
While you will no longer be able to buy chemical formulas in Holland & Barrett stores – this doesn’t mean you should completely shun chemical formulas if you find that they work for you – and you’re not going swimming in the ocean.
‘One is not better than the other, and it largely comes down to personal preference with regards to which SPF format you opt for,’ says consultant dermatologist and WH Collective expert, Dr Anjali Mahto. However, ‘many people with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may find that mineral sunscreens are less irritating to their skin.’
Beauty marketing and lingo can get confusing, so if you’ve decided that mineral SPFs are for you – your best bet is to head to Holland & Barrett so that you can rest assured that your sunscreen formula is 100% mineral.