I’ll start this post out by saying that I’m a huge fan of Botanic Organic skin care. Today I’m going to give Nancy Newsom (founder of Botanic Organic) the floor to share how best to protect troubled skin (acne, sensitive, blemished) during the sunny summer months with the best natural sunscreen. I met Nancy at a women’s entrepreneur event in San Francisco over a year ago, and after trying out a few sample products, I was hooked. We discussed my years of skin drama (and my eventual cure), the scarring that resulted, and the best ingredients to use for topical skin care to help keep my acne-prone skin looking its best. In fact, we’re working together to get my favorite products to you at a discount, but more on that at the bottom of this post.
Mineral Sunscreen (Natural Sunscreen)
One thing Nancy insisted on without giving me even an inch of leeway was the need for a daily facial sunscreen. The word “natural,” as in “natural sunscreen” is implied here, because BO products are among the cleanest you’ll find out there. I make that distinction, because some of the chemical sunscreens (even those designed for sensitive skin) are so questionable that you might actually be better off without them — wear a hat and call it a day. I haven’t done enough research on my own to draft a solid post about this topic, but here’s a quick reference from the Environmental Working Group that explains some of the risks of chemical sunscreen, including endocrine issues (something women with PCOS certainly don’t need).
I’ve always hated putting sunscreen on my face. I hate that gross slick, that heavy feeling, that non-breathable gross glue that passes for natural sunscreen that you find on the shelves at Whole Foods (and I used to work there, so I’ve tried a LOT of them). Remember that stuff from the 80’s that was made in fluorescent colors trying to make slathering straight zinc oxide all over your face seem cool by making it pink or green or orange? I think it was called Zinc. Or Zinka. I can’t tell if this awesome picture I found is actually from the 80’s or if this is a new product that’s trying to be as “cool” as the one from the 80’s I’m thinking of.
ANYWAY, you get the idea. But in the spirit of practicing sun safety as we approach what will likely be our warmest summer on record, I asked Nancy to write a guest post showcasing her “Toni-friendly” sunscreen options. Hilariously, she starts off right away with the ingredient I just complained about — zinc oxide. And I’m happy she did — I actually learned something about how and why it’s good for problem skin, and I bet you will too.
Both of natural sunscreen products she shares are great — I use them without complaint, which is definitely saying something. In fact, I’ve already written a review about the Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer as part of my Summer Travel Skin Care strategy. It’s my favorite facial sunscreen of all time.
Take it away, Nancy!
Zinc Oxide for Sun Care and Acne-Prone Skin
At Botanic Organic, we’re big fans of zinc oxide for skin care because of its ability to both protect and repair skin. Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound that can prevent sunlight and ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin and can also act as a barrier to protect skin from outside irritants. As a sunscreen, zinc oxide reflects ultraviolet rays away from the skin and provides protection against sun damage. It is particularly effective against long-wave UVA rays and appears to block out the harmful rays without actually penetrating the skin. (The two choices for sunscreen on the market are chemical barriers and physical barriers. Zinc Oxide is a physical (mineral) barrier and doesn’t pose the potential health risks mentioned in the EWG article linked above.)
Sun Exposure for Acne-prone Skin
Why should acne sufferers be particularly careful about wearing a sunscreen? Tanning appears to cover up redness and dry up the surface of your skin, making some blemishes fade away temporarily. In reality, tanning causes skin irritation, especially if you stay out a bit too long and burn yourself. This adds to redness and leads to peeling, both of which may later aggravate the appearance of acne. Tanning also breaks down collagen. Collagen is one of your prime defenses against wrinkles because it keeps your skin elastic. When skin loses collagen, not only are you more likely to see wrinkles but your pores may appear larger as well.
Sun Exposure for Acne Scars
Those who are dealing with discoloration or scarring from acne may be tempted to sit in the sun to “even out” the dark marks or “camouflage” them with a tan. Unfortunately, sun is the last thing your scars need. Scar tissue is different from normal skin. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and much more prone to sunburn, especially if they are fresh. Prolonged sun exposure can also permanently darken a scar, especially in people with darker skin complexions. Therefore, scars should be protected from prolonged, direct sun exposure year round, not just during the warmer summer months. Using a sunblock on your face every single day is extremely important for this reason.
A sunblock containing zinc oxide may help to prevent scarring and hyper-pigmentation with moderate acne. Additionally, some potential scarring from severe acne might also be avoided with regular use. By reducing inflammation and encouraging proper collagen growth, the skin is able to repair itself and prevent future damage. Please remember that you may be at risk for increased sun sensitivity if you’re using an acne treatments. Products such as Accutane, Retin-A, and even over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide ointments recommend avoiding sun exposure due to an increased sensitivity.
Natural Sunscreen, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant …
Sun blocking benefits aside, zinc oxide has mild astringent and antiseptic properties making it useful for acne and wound care. It is suggested that zinc for acne is effective because it can kill bacteria that causes red bumps during breakouts. By killing bacteria, the inflammation is reduced and pores can then be easily cleaned. It may also reduce overall inflammation and its antioxidant properties can help reduce skin damage during breakouts. Zinc oxide has been used for a number of dermatological conditions beyond acne, including infections, rosacea, pigmentary disorders (melasma), and basal cell carcinoma. 
High SPF zinc sunscreens can feel a bit thick and chalky for daily wear on face and neck. With this in mind Botanic Organic developed Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer. We designed this formula to encourage everyday use and included 11% zinc-oxide to provide a significant physical barrier to reflect UVA/UVB rays. Our customers who suffer from blemished skin find that it helps to control oiliness and acne without feeling heavy on the skin. Additionally, vitamin and antioxidant rich oils which are good for acne, provide organic nutrients to replenish skin and guard against environmental depletion. Green tea extract and sea buckthorn oil soothe redness and promote skin cell regeneration to aid in repairing UV damage. Shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils have the natural ability to absorb a spectrum of UV radiation and therefore provide an extra degree of sun protection.
Read other Botanic Organic product reviews
BO + CWB = <3
Great news! Nancy and I are joining forces to offer you an exclusive discount on all of my favorite Botanic Organic products! As soon as the page is built, you’ll be able to go straight to the products I use to help keep my skin looking great, and try them out for yourself. They’re all natural, organic, pure, and gentle — so clean you can eat them. We’ve been talking about doing this together for quite a while, and I’m so happy it’s finally happening! Stay tuned!
1. Mrinal Gupta, et al., “Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review,” Dermatology Research and Practice, July 10, 2014; http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2014/709152/.