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About Aspire Sunscreen

About Aspire Sunscreen

Aspire sunscreen is basically Aspire lotion bar that is cut with 15% zinc oxide.  Could it get any simpler?  At 15%, zinc oxide is equivalent to SPF 30.   Zinc oxide powder is the most sustainable choice, being one of two sun blockers that the Food and Drug Administration declares to be "generally recognized as safe and effective", which, it turns out, is about as good as it gets when it comes to sunblockers.  Also, it's fairly benign in the environment, and it has the highest range of UV wavelength protection of any sunblocking agent.  Also, it's one of the few sunblocking chemicals that isn't a carcinogen or endocrine disrupter.  Now, wait a minute!  Aren't sunscreens supposed to prevent skin cancer?  Actually, not neccessarily.  They prevent sunburn, but not always skin cancer.  It was discovered long ago that sunscreen ingredients, while preventing sun burn, actually may increase risk of skin cancer,particularly if overused, or if their use leads to more time in the sun.  And, at the end of the day, by far the best way to prevent sunburn is to physically cover our skin, and limit the time our skin is exposed to sun.  Another thing to remember is that we actually need some sun on our skin, because it produces the all-important vitamin D that we all require to absorb sufficient calcium for bone density.  Recently, there's been a trend of reduced vitamin D leading to reduced bone density, related to overuse of sunscreen.  So, our recommendation is to be sensible.  Use Aspire sunscreen as needed, but don't use so much that you need a vitamin D supplement, when what you might really need is more sun on your skin!  At the end of the day, it's ultimately about balance.

Ingredients in Aspire Sunscreen

  • Zinc Oxide Powder.  This is the active ingredient in Aspire Sunscreen.  It is 15%,  which is sufficient to provide an SPF of about 30.  It is a fine powder that easily biodegrades in the environment, since zinc is an essential nutrient.  From Canada.

  • Beeswax or Candelilla Wax.  These waxes are used to harden the product,so it doesn't tend to flow or leak at common outdoor temperatures, even up to 110 ºF.  The beeswax is our original wax, and we have added a choice with candelilla wax to serve vegan preferences.  We are currently using local beeswax from local bee hives, and although the owners of the hives don’t use toxic chemicals in their yard, there is no guarantee that the neighbors also grow organic, so we consider this wax “partly” organic.   The candelilla wax is currently not organic.

  • Shea Butter.  Organic.  From West Africa.
  • Coconut Oil.  Organic.  From The Phillipines.
  • Olive Oil.  Organic.  From Spain.
  • Hemp Oil.  Organic.  From Canada.
  • Vitamin E Oil.  Organic.  From China.
  • Tea Tree Oil.  Organic.  From China.

  • Lemon Oil.  Organic.  From U.S.A. when available.

Ingredients that are not in Aspire Sunscreen

  • Water.  Most sunscreen is an emulsion of various oils and water.  These emulsions are liquids, so a bottle or squeeze tube of some sort is required to contain it.  Also, oil and water don’t like each other, so in order to maintain a consistent emulsion of oil and water, some sort of emulsifier is required.  This naturally means more complex formulations and chemicals.  Finally, when we rub sunscreen on ourselves, we usually have to rub for a while to get the water to evaporate, so we’re not left with a “wet” feeling on our skin.  So, with all that, why have water in the sunscreen in the first place?  Aspire sunscreen contains only the active zinc oxide and oils, blended to a solid consistency, that melts into the skin, without the water.  Since Aspire sunscren is solid, a bottle is not required.  You can get a naked puck, and store it in your own re-used container when you take it home.  Like a bar of soap.  Or get a refillable tin or compostable tube.

  • Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.  Oxybenzone is a petrochemical that can soak through your skin and get into your pee, breast milk and bloodstream and once there, mimic your hormones, causing scary things like menstral problems in females, and lower testosterone levels in males, as well as reduced reproductive suscess.  It's even been found to damage DNA in coral larvae and cause reef bleaching.  Animals exposed to oxybenzone and octinoxate, another UV absorber, were found to have lower sperm counts and higher sperm abnormalities.  Hawaii banned both of these chemicals in 2019.

  • Other Petrochemicals with scary genetic side-effects include Octyl mithoxycinnamate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and Octobrylene.

  • Parabens.  These have also been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, potentially increasing risk of reproductive toxicity.  Oxybenzone, benzophenone-4, avobenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate, octisalate, and octocrylene have all been associated with contact allergies, and methylisothiazolinone was actually named "Allergen of the Year" by the American Contact Dermatitis  Society in 2013.

  • Retinyl Palmitate and related chemicals retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol all contain vitamin A, which has been shown to increase the number of skin tumors and lesions in mice when spread on skin and exposed to sun. Vitamin A may be a necessary nutrient, but it definitely shouldn't be in sunscreen.

  • Siloxanes, or Silicones, such as cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, or dimethiconol.  These are typically used to improve the texture of formulations, helping products to glide on smoothly and evenly, as well as moisturize the skin.  These are horrible for the environment, and extremely toxic to aquatic life.

  • Plant-Based Emulsifiers, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, behenyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate or stearic acid.  Aspire sunscreen doesn’t need these, because the product doesn’t contain water.

  • Petroleum By-Products, such as propylene glycol, mineral oil or sodium polyacrylate.  They’re used as moisturizers, thickeners and for texture in products.  Propylene glycol has been found to cause severe neurological symptoms and seizures.  There have also been cases of nausea and vertigo.  Mineral oil is composed mainly of alkanes and cycloalkanes, related to petroleum jelly.

  • Propylene Carbonate.  Used as a dispenser and disperser, a similar purpose as emulsifiers, which aren’t needed in Aspire Sunscreen.  Made from petroleum.

  • Triethanolamine.  Triethanolamine is used to stabilize and increase the pH of products to improve the way they feel on the skin.  Triethanolamine is a mild skin and eye irritant.  It is made from ethylene oxide and ammonia, both petrochemicals.  Just another unnecessary nasty chemical that Aspire will never use.  Who would want this on their skin anyway?

  • Synthetic Preservatives, such as quaternium-15.  Quaternium-15 is an allergen, and can cause contact dermatitis in susceptible individuals.  Quaternium-15 is a known human skin toxicant and allergen and possible eye irritant. It is also a formaldehyde-releasing preservative.  It is made from fossil fuels.  Aspire uses a mild natural preservative, tee tree oil, instead.  And, in reality, lotion bars don’t really need a preservative, because with no water in the formula, it’s impossible for organisms to live there, anyway.  Just keep your lotion bar reasonably clean, dry and covered, and it will be just fine.

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