A new sunscreen seems to be launched at least once a week and one of the latest is a new mineral sunscreen, Sunology Natural Sunblock Lotion SPF50 ($14.99). Sunology says it is differentiated from the rest of the pack by two things, the technology for controlling particle size and the use of ferulic acid. I have been testing it out and must say that I have mixed feelings about it.

The good

Ferulic acid is a really intelligent addition to a sunscreen. According to researchers at Duke University, ferulic acid is particularly good for preventing sun damage, and studies elsewhere have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases its already considerable antioxidant powers.

In Sunology, the ferulic, which is not easily absorbed by the skin, has been coupled with soy oil to enable it to penetrate. As a result, it is supposed to do its work longer than the other chemical or mineral-based sunscreens, as well as filter out UVB and UVA rays.  All of this sounds great. However, with the feruloyl soy glycerides at the very end of the formula, one has to wonder how potent a concentration this is.

Sunology makes much of the smaller the particle size of the sunscreen actives (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). The company says that smaller particles are more effective the sunscreen is in scattering UV rays. Here are there apparently over 10,000 “micro mirrors within an area the size of a quarter”. Sunology insists that they remain on the surface of the skin; they are NOT absorbed.

The not so good

I have been testing Sunology for a couple of weeks now and my problem with it is that the cream is always separated and when I squeeze, I get a lot of thin liquid and a few blobs. This are impossible to blend together on the skin and, ultimately, I am concerned that I am getting an even spread of sun protection. I haven’t been burned by the sun, but then I have actively been avoiding too much direct exposure (even a July 4th 5-hour hike upstate was mostly in tree shade).

Although Sunology makes much of being free of chemical sunscreens (and this, of course, is very welcome) it is not exactly chemical free. I am not very keen on the inclusion ethylene diamine/hydrogenated dimer dilinoleate copolymer bis-di-C14-18 akyl amide. This turns out to be a copolymer of ethylenediamine and hydrogenated dilinoleic acid. As well as being something of a mouthful, at least one its components, ethylenediamine, is a skin irritant.

Aluminum hydroxide is a somewhat controversial ingredient. Researchers at Keele University in the UK claim it will accumulate in the skin and be transported to sites throughout the body. The concern is the potential for aluminium in the skin to act as a pro-oxidant and increase the risk of skin cancer.


Titanium dioxide 10%, zinc oxide 7.5%. C12-C15 alkyl benzoate, ethylene diamine/hydrogenated dimer dilinoleate copolymer bis-di-C14-18 akyl amide, caprylic/capric tryglceride, glyceryl isostearate, polyhydroxystearic acid, hydrated silica, dimethicone/methicone, aluminum hydroxide, feruloyl soy glycerides