Zinc oxide sunscreen is the key to avoiding sun damage from free radicals.
Free radicals are tiny atoms with teeny-tiny, unpaired electrons. Without a partner, these electrons become highly unstable and look for heat. Much like that break up-prone friend who can never seem to get it right, these lonely little free radicals wander around looking for love. Then, they bump into paired-up molecules and steal an electron like a floozy in the night. The scorned atoms become free radicals themselves and start devastating chain reactions.
In other words, free radicals are “highly reactive.” Anything you put on your skin or in your body is going to cause a reaction when it is exposed to these minxes. Think about that: The sun is bombarding you with thousands of free radicals a day. Quick — grab the sunscreen! Uh, wait. What the heck do they put in that stuff anyway?
Growing up as a surfer in the early ‘90s, Dr. Guerry Grune, who holds three Ph.D.s. in engineering, has experienced ozone warnings aplenty. He surfed Hawaii, Japan, and Costa Rica while using traditional sunscreens as protection. It wasn’t until a life-altering trip to Australia in 1993 that Guerry noticed what sunscreen could be – or, rather, what it should be. Gone were Banana Boat®, Neutrogena®, and Coppertone®. Australia didn’t carry any of these conventional U.S. brands. Instead, there was one ingredient that sparked his 20-year odyssey to create a sustainable, non-toxic sunscreen: zinc oxide.
Zinc Oxide Sunscreen: What Zinc Oxide Is and How It Works
Here are the facts about zinc oxide:
• An inorganic compound that is insoluble in water
• Comes from the Earth’s crust but can also be produced synthetically
• Valued for its non-irritating and hypoallergenic characteristics
• Works as a natural reflective shield by forming a protective physical barrier over the skin to block the sun’s rays
• Provides broad-spectrum protection, which reduces UV damage and slows signs of aging
• Blocks UVA and UVB rays without the skin’s absorbing it
On his return from Australia, Guerry hit the local waves with his surf buddy Paul, a 20-year-old kid with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. Within 12 months of surfing, Paul got melanoma. Doctors told him he either had to stop surfing or the sun was going to kill him. The kicker was that Paul had been wearing conventional sunscreen every day. free radicals
What’s In Conventional Sunscreens And Why Are They Bad For You
Unsafe, toxic chemicals in conventional sunscreens include:
• Para amino benzoic acid
• Octyl salicyclate
• Menthyl anthranilate
All of the above ingredients:
• Are absorbed into the bloodstream
• Release free radicals in sunlight
• Act like estrogen
• Disrupt hormones
• Weaken the immune system
• Cause allergic reactions
• Cause skin irritations
• Have no rigorous safety standards
The Food and Drug Administration has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreens in the United States have not been regulated since 1978, and only the SPF factor tells you how effective a sunscreen is against the UVB rays that cause sunburn (and even that isn’t really useful), but not the free radicals of UVA rays that cause melanoma.
Zinc Oxide Sunscreen: An Invention Born From Necessity
After seeing his young friend faced with some gnarly decisions, Guerry decided to make a choice of his own. And thus began the long road to his inventing 3rd Rock zinc oxide sunscreen.
“I was trying to do something that nobody had ever done before,” says Guerry.
Initially, he started making 3rd Rock in his garage for his wife and children, spending his own funds in laboratories and trying to coax old-school chemists and formulators to think outside of the box. His goal was to create a sunscreen that actually works with your skin, rather than against it.
Fifteen patent apps later, he did just that. The main ingredient in 3rd Rock is a chelated zinc oxide. Guerry makes the zinc oxide stable in an alkaline environment so it actually works to stabilize the pH of your skin while preventing its absorption of free radicals. Other ingredients in 3rd Rock include arginine, an essential amino acid, and various aromatherapy oils chosen to strengthen your immune system.
In a world where one out of five Americans will develop skin cancer, Guerry Grune still loves the sun. “Cancer runs in the family. My wife has freckles and fair skin. We live on the water and have two athletic daughters.”
Being a father and wanting to protect his children is also a motivator for creating this zinc oxide sunscreen. Being an avid surfer who still looks for places to surf wherever he travels is yet another.
Guerry isn’t going to give up on the sun. He’ll persevere until we’re able to view the sun as a healthy, holistic part of our lives.
“Developing something unique takes time,” he says. “Invention is one percent innovation, 99 percent perspiration. I’m in the 99 percent perspiration mode.” free radicals
Try out Guerry’s sunscreen here.
Maya Bastian is a wanderer at heart, a dreamer by nature, and an artist when the inspiration strikes. She has won awards and internationally exhibited her films, which run the gamut from narrative shorts to documentary, to experimental animation. As an author, her poetry and personal essays have been published online and included in a diverse array of anthologies. Maya’s recent endeavors include writing her first narrative feature film and creating video installations for various events and galleries. You can find a selection of her film and video work at www.youtube.com/mayabastian. Previously based out of Toronto, she is currently exploring the world in search of further insight and enlightenment.
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