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Keys Solar RX SPF 30 with nano zinc oxide

Reviewed by Marta March 28, 2009 4 Comments
Yesterday was warm enough to eat lunch ouside for the first time this year and I got to thinking about sunscreen. I was coated, of course, in Anna's very fine recommendation of Devita and remembered that readers have suggested several others worthy of trying and went off to hunt them down. t was with little hesitation that I ordered Keys Solar RX.

And I mean that quite literally. There was a little hesitation. I had a vague idea that there was some controversy around nano zinc oxide. Over the last decade there have been periodic flurries of press attention about nanotechnology and cosmetics and there has been particular concern over sunscreens delivering nano particles of sunscreen actives into our bodies. For several years, the Australians (the world's sunscreen officionados) said that the jury was out as to whether they would penetrate and, if they did, cause harm.

Eventually, in 2006, the Environmental Working Group gave nano zinc oxide the all clear. It examined the evidence of 15 peer-reviewed studies on skin absorption, nearly all showing no absorption of small-scale zinc and titanium sunscreen ingredients through healthy skin.

Furthermore, the EWG cited studies that showed that chemical sunscreens such as oxybenzone and octinoxate are definitely absorbed into healthy skin — in large amounts according to some studies — and act like estrogens in the body, raising risks for breast cancer, and showing effects like hormone-driven uterine damage in other studies.

In conclusion, EWG researchers "found that zinc and titanium-based formulations are among the safest, most effective sunscreens on the market." (Source)

Having dealt with the nano debate, I found plenty of reasons to want to take Keys Solar out for a test drive. It offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. There are antioxidants and vitamins from shea, avocado and cumin, while the preservative is non-chemical, non-carcinogenic rosemary extract.

Ingredients in Keys Solar RX

Nano zinc oxide (18.5%), shea butter (10%), avocado oil, carrot seed oil, black cumin oil, essential oil blend, purified water, vegetable glycerin, vegetable wax, rosemary extract.
  • June 6, 2009

    by Zoe

    Warning about Solar Rx!!!

    I left a comment a month ago on a different topic raving, just raving, about Keys Solar Rx. I'm allergic to chemical sunscreens, such as octinoxate, etc.--they make my skin peel, and a lot of mineral sunscreens come in very oily mixtures that make my skin break out or else leave me with a coat of grease. All in all, trying to protect my sensitive skin from the sun has been an exercise in pure frustration. then I found Solar Rx and for a month I thought my problems had been solved. I used the product daily for a little over a month with no grease, no white cast, no peeling and no clogged pores. In short, Solar Rx seemed like the perfect sunscreen and well worth the 26$ price tag. But a week ago I developed a strange rash on my face: no itching, no burning and no redness, just lots and lots of little bumps all over my face. It wasn't acne, I don't think, but the bumps were noticeable and very unattractive. I suspected the sunscreen so I stopped using it and all my products for a couple of days. When the bumps disappeared, I resumed my skin care routine and started using the Neutrogena chemical sunscreen I was using before, with the same old complaints. My skin semed better after a week and I courageously decided to reintroduce the Solar Rx. I used it for a couple of days with no other skin care products underneath and had no ill effects, but yesterday I felt a slight itching around my eyes and on my neck. Small, red patches appeared with no resemblance to the first Solar rx outbreak and I hadn't applied any of the cream to the skin around my eyes so I assumed it was contact dermatitis from a different source.
    However, when I got home that evening, the bumps were back, this time along my jawline. As soon as I realized what was going on, I immediately scrubbed my face and took a Benadryl, but it was too late: the skin around my eyes swelled and some of the skin on my cheeks and jawline did as well. Bumps appeared all over my face as well as in places along my collar line. When I woke up this morning, I looked like I'd had a bad experience with cosmetic surgery: my eyes were extremely swollen and the skin around them had grown red and dry and itchy. It still itches as write this at 5 in the evening. I've taken a couple more benadryls and canceled all my weekend plans as I wait this out. I am very, very disappointed.

    What I think happened? I believe I'm reacting to the zinc. Because it is in nanopartical form, the zinc sinks into my skin. Both days that this happened I was outside for long periods of time under the noon sun. I suspect that either sweat or maybe just sunlight have spurred the reaction. I suspect I'll probably be sensitive to all zinc-based skin creams for awhile so it's back to chemical sunscreens for me, unfortunately. I was very, very disappointed especially because I'm leaving in a month to volunteer in then Himalayas and I am desperate need of serious, effective sunblock and I was counting on Solar Rx. I've written an email to the company, including pictures of my eyes and neck, to let them know that this happened. I suspect that it is an allergic reaction on my part and has that most users will have no problem at all, but I still advise anyone who is making the purchase to test small areas of skin, especially on the face and going out in bright sun to see what happens. I am sooo bummed out by this turn of events. Because chemical sunscreens make my skin peel, they are much less effective than they should be. I suppose I'll need to go back to Juicy Organics and just not wear white clothes.

  • March 30, 2009

    by Nimue

    How do you like it aesthetics wise?

    I have it now. I prefer Devita because for regular use Keys is thicker and there is a tiny bit of a white cast. But I am using Keys for around my eyes, since Devita makes me tear up when it gets in my eyes and Keys doesn't have that problem.

  • March 30, 2009

    by Chris

    I have a bottle sitting in my drawer. I was excited to try it simply because it does contain so few harmful ingredients. I love everything about it EXCEPT for the fact that it seems to creep into my eyes and make my contacts blurry. I've never had that problem with any other lotion. So this lotion will be used on the body - not the face - come summer.

  • March 29, 2009

    by katie

    This stuff is so sticky I can't imagine risking the nano tech issue for it. Yuk!

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