Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen answers the burning question
Now, at first, I thought that Blue Lizard's patented "Smart Bottle" was a clever marketing gimmick. As soon as the white bottle is exposed to UV light, it suddenly turns blue. I'm sure the kids love it, but why would adults care about the color-changing feats of their sunscreen bottle? It turns out, as I discovered in glancing at my noticeably blue bottle perched on the windowsill on a cloudy day, that the concept really is smart, since it reminds you that UV rays are penetrating your skin even when the sun is hiding.
There's a great deal of smarts inside the bottle as well. Blue Lizard's Sensitive sunscreen formula packs a one-two punch of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, reflecting harmful sunlight before it has a chance to penetrate the lower layers. These active ingredients are present in much higher concentrations than in most chemical sunscreens, which typically prevent your skin from burning but do little to protect it from the longer wavelengths of light that can cause cellular damage and photo aging. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are responsible for the infamous white goop that can sometimes lend the pallor of a corpse. Blue Lizard has microionized the ingredients so that the formula blends into the skin more readily and forms an even barrier against UV rays.
Blue Lizard's active ingredients place it in the physical sunscreen category, which is recognized for its opaque quality and for its ability to reflect both UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreens typically absorb UVB radiation only. Though the thick composition may leave a translucent sheen on the skin, it won't leave behind a greasy or sticky feeling. The Sensitive formula truly moisturizes the skin without irritating or provoking a breakout.
Blue Lizard's sunscreens may be chemical-free, but that doesn't mean they don't have preservatives. There are the usual parabens, as well as diazolidinyl urea, which was recently re-classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer to its highest toxic class (IARC 1). These components could cause dermatitis if you have skin sensitivities. Also, the regular and sport varieties contain oxybenzone, which may or may not be a concern depending on where you stand in the divide.
Doing away with SPF distinctions, Blue Lizard labels all of its products SPF 30. As tempting as it is to reach for the highest SPF in a sunscreen, you really don't need a number higher than 30. While SPF 15 will block 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 only increases your protection to 97%. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens that are SPF 30, because you technically can't create a formula that has more molecular potency. More critical than the number is the ability of the sunscreen to suppress the majority of both UVB and UVA rays.
With the word "Australian" in its name, you would think that this sunscreen hails from the arid outback. Yet, it is actually produced by Crown Laboratories in Tennessee. The reason behind its namesake is that the products are tested according to Australian standards, which are more stringent than FDA regulations. Rather than outlasting immersion in still water for 80 minutes, Blue Lizard's sunscreens have to withstand 240 minutes in whirlpool water. For times when you need a sunscreen that is truly water resistant, I'd stick with the standards of the land down under.
Active Ingredients: zinc oxide (10%), titanium dioxide (5%)
Inactive Ingredients: water, ethylhexyl palmitate, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, ethylhexyl stearate, polyglyceryl-4 isotearate, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, hexyl laurate, propylene glycol, cetyl dimethicone, trimethylated silica/dimethicone, octododecyl neopentanoate, VP/hexadecene copolymer, methyl glucose dioleate, PEG-7 hydrogenated castor oil, sorbitol oleate, hydrogenated castor oil, beeswax, stearic acid, cetyl dimethicone, methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, disodium EDTA, diazolidinyl urea, tocopheryl acetate.