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Why Use Mineral Sunscreen

Health Concerns and Facts About Sun Exposure

The increasing occurrence of skin cancer in the USA is a major concern of physicians. New research shows that the active ingredients (toxic chemicals) in some sunscreens may contribute to genetic damage and skin cancer (The Scientist, Mar/Apr. 1999, page 7). Current advice on sun and skin care strongly recommends the heavy use of chemical sunscreens on the delicate skin of babies and young children, as well as adults. The consumer falsely believes a sunscreen forms an invisible protective barrier against harmful solar rays. In fact, the sunscreen chemicals can absorb the rays' energy, become energized, and chemically reactivate themselves, which can lead to chemical reaction in the skin that creates free radicals that cause DNA damage.

Dr. Marianne Berwick, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reported at a 1998 meeting that her analysis of 16 epidemiology studies suggested that the more sunscreen a person used the higher chance of developing skin cancer. Dr. Frank Garland of the University of California, believes the increased use of chemical sunscreens is the primary cause of the epidemic of skin cancer. Dr. Gordon Ainsleigh in California believes that the use of sunscreens causes more cancer deaths than it prevents. He estimated that the 17% increase in breast cancer observed between 1991 and 1992 may be the result of the pervasive use of sunscreens over the past decade. (Preventive Medicine, Vol. 22, Feb. 1993) Professor John Moan of the Norwegian Cancer Institute found the yearly increase in melanoma in Norway had increased 350% for men and 440% for women during the periods 1957-1984, when sunscreens were introduced.

Researchers encourage consumers to READ THE LABELS on suncare products. If the product contains any of the following chemical ingredients, use discretion before applying to your skin:

  • Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)
  • PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA,
  • p-aminobenzoic acid padimate O or Octyl dimethyl PABA
  • Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl, p-methoxycinnamate)
  • Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)
  • Avobenzone (butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789)
  • Digalloyl trioleate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Propylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol: Called a humectant in cosmetics, it is industrial antifreeze, and the major ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluid. Material Data Sheets warn to avoid skin contact as it is systemic and can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. If anti freeze is spilled on your garage floor and a dog or cat drinks one lick, it will kill them.

Chemical sunscreens contain 2-5% of chemical compounds. Benzophenone, and similar compounds, is one of the most powerful free radical generators known to man. It is used in industrial process as a free radical to initiate chemical reaction. When activated by ultra violet light, it doubles the bond to produce two free radical sights. The free radicals then initiate a chain reaction which can increase skin damage and increase skin cancer.

Worldwide the greatest risk in melanoma has been in countries where sunscreens have been heavily promoted. Queensland, Australia, where the medical establishment has vigorously promoted the use of sunscreens has more evidence of melanoma per capita than any other place (Garland, Cedric F., et al American Journal of Public Health, April 1992). Drs. Cedric and Frank Garland of the University of California have pointed out that while sunscreens do prevent against sunburn there is no scientific proof they protect against basal cell carcinoma in humans.

In 1997, Europe, Canada and Australia changed sunscreens to use only three specific sunscreen ingredients, avobenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the basis of sunscreens. All others were banned. 

Mexitan encourages use of only pure suncare products made with all natural ingredients, or pure mineral sunscreens that act as reflective sun blocks such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which provide a physical barrier to the sun, does not irritate skin, and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The ingredients in Mexitan include Green Tea, which some researchers suggest reduces skin damage from radiation, and Vitamin E, which slows cell damage, and provides anticarcinogenic protection.

Moderate Sun Tanning Is Healthy

Humans evolved in the presence of sunlight. Mother nature gave us skin pigment or melanin to protect us from sunburn. The closer you lived to the equator, the more melanin you were born with. The dark skinned people of Africa, Central America South American, etc., are naturally protected by their dark skin pigment. A suntan as we know it brings the melanin to the surface of the skin creating the brown color we call a suntan and this then protects us from sunburn in the very same way.

Dr. Martin Rieger discussed the chemistry of oxidization and peroxidation in his publications and emphasizes that melanin, the skin's pigment, is a free radical scavenger and protects us.

Dr. Ester Johns, Northern California Cancer Center, reports that sunlight is the only way we get Vitamin D, which can lower breast cancer by 40%. Sunlight exposure may reduce breast cancer 30-40% and ovarian cancer by 80%. Rates of breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer are lower in persons with more sunlight exposure. Cancer rates are highest in northern states with the least sunlight. White women in the South had a 41% lower risk of breast cancer.

Dr. John Voorhees M.D., University of Michigan, says that sunlight inhibits more cancer deaths than it causes. Cancer deaths are higher in sun deprived areas of the world and decrease significantly as one gets closer to the Equator. Malignant melanoma skin cancer is most common in people who do not receive regular sun exposure and most frequently develop on parts of the body that are not regularly exposed to sunlight.

Dr. Gordon Ainsleigh estimates 30,000 cancer deaths in the USA could be prevented each year if people would adopt a regime of regular, but moderate sun exposure.

There is evidence that, in older people, too little sunshine can increase susceptibility to a range of serious diseases. (AARP Your Health, June, 2004) Studies now show that Vitamin D (from direct sunlight) not only helps the body absorb calcium, building stronger bones, but also protects against a host of other problems, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk of falls among people over 65 and to persistent and unexplained bone and joint pain. "If sunlight were really that bad for us, we'd be nocturnal creatures like mice", says Francis Gasparro, professor of dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide Information

Mexitan sunscreen lotions contain Z-Cote and T-Lite, which are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide products in very fine-powdered form manufactured by BASF. These micronized ingredients serve as a physical barrier that actually reflects the damaging UVB and UVA rays before they reach the living tissues in your skin. Mexitan mineral sunblocks are more effective and safer to make and use than chemical sunscreens which have been shown to interfere with the body’s hormonal systems.

These ingredients have a variable particle size in the mean and median range of 100-200nm. This allows our sunscreen lotions to be more cosmetically appealing compared to coarser particles. The protection is less visible, yet remains on the skin's surface. Depending on the particle size, a micronized pigment may or may not be considered a nanoparticle. A nanoparticle is a particle with one or more size dimensions less than 100nm. Very-well intentioned consumer groups have recently raised the controversy regarding nanoparticles posing many "what if" scenarios regarding uncertain possible negative effects on human health, primarilly relating to the outer dead layer of the skin.

Nanoparticles and micronized particles are not new to the sunscreen and cosmetics industry. The micronized pigments are common ultraviolet light (UV) filtered ingredients and have been used safely for more than a decade in a variety of applications. In particular, products offering high protection levels can only be formulated effectively using these products. A number of authorities and committees have evaluated the available data on the safety of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in sunscreens in recent years and widely they came to similar conclusions:

USA
The FDA's position is that sunscreens containing these ingredients are safe and help protect the skin from cancer. Recently, a Task Force within FDA concluded that although micronized materials may have different properties from the larger size of the same substance, there is no evidence that they present greater safety concerns than their bigger counterparts and, therefore, no special regulations or labeling is required based on current science.

Germany
In April 2005, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin approved the use of the two UV filter pigments in sunscreens without any reservations. The safety of the microfine filter pigments was confirmed regarding possible dermal intake. On the risk issue the experts came to the conclusion that, at the present time, there are no indications of a specific "nano-toxicology".

Australia
The Therapueutic Goods Administration of Australia completed in 2006 a review of the use of nanoparticles (or micronized) of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in sunscreens and concluded that the weight of current evidence is that these materials remain on the surface of the skin in the outer dead layer.

European Union
In December 2007 the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products in the EU adopted a report on the safety of nanomaterials in consumer products. The report, which was made public in March 2008 widely confirms the value of nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as UV filters in sunscreens. In addition, some further tests are suggested to confirm that these materials are not able to penetrate even diseased or compromised skin. While these studies may help to remove any uncertainties about dermal penetration, even through compromised skin, the importance of this information for sunscreen applications is questionable. Data from recent studies with systemic administration of titanium dioxide nanoparticles suggest that even following administration of high dose levels of titanium dioxide, there would be no adverse effects. So, if low amounts are absorbed by the skin it is unlikely that these small amounts would result in any significant health hazard. In addition, published data with pharmaceutical compounds do not indicate that nanoparticles would penetrate compromised skin more easily than intact skin.

BASF
BASF is the leading supplier for zinc oxide (under the trade name Z-Cote) and an important supplier for titanium dioxide (which is marketed as T-Lite) to manufacturers of sunscreens and cosmetics. Following the principles of Reasonable Care, BASF has published the results of its own toxicological study titled "The in-vitro absorption of microfine zinc oxide and titanium dioxide through porcine skin" that shows that neither zinc or titanium ions nor microfine zinc oxide or titanium dioxide particles were able to penetrate pig skin. The pig is the species of choice because its skin is similar to that of humans and its use in skin absorption studies has been validated by the scientific community. Together with data from several other studies there is sound evidence that microfine particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not penetrate through intact skin to reach viable tissues.

A potentially greater risk of skin damage, even skin cancer would be the results of unprotected exposure to sun irradiation. The best protection from the sun is to stay in the shade or wear protective clothing and a hat, but if you’re going to be in the sun you should protect your skin, and a mineral-based sunblock such as Mexitan is the safest and most effective approach.

Importance of Green Tea in Mexitan

Recent studies suggest that green tea may counteract the adverse biological effects of UV Radiation. Green tea was shown to help protect skin cells, and the effects of both UVB and UVA rays by its photoprotective effect on human skin and its polyphenolic antioxidant contents. 

Green tea protection works in the cell after exposure to ultraviolet rays. Studies suggest it causes abnormal cells to kill themselves, a type of programmed cell suicide that prevents the development of abnormal growths. Green tea inhibits UVB-induced erythema response in the skin (redness reaction). At the same time Green tea supports the production of melanin, the skin's own natural sunburn protection. Green tea helps reduce the risk of sunburn.

This leads to a new strategy...Green tea combined with a mineral sunscreen. Mexitan meets the immediate need for a non-chemical sunscreen. Each ingredient has been carefully chosen for its specific benefit to the protection and nourishment of your skin.

*The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Mexitan products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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