Oxybenzone – the contradiction

Photo by Henriette Welz on Unsplash

What are you to think when you see the term: “Oxybenzone” or “Oxybenzone -3”? For many, it is just an ingredient which sounds complex, because of its description, and therefore damaging to people or nature. You won’t be completely wrong in your assumption. As lip-care experts, we want to ensure that Blistex products provide great quality and benefit to the user’s of our products. We conducted an investigation into this particular ingredient in order to you enlighten you.

Oxybenzone is also known as Oxybenzone-3 or Benzophenone-3. If you inspect the ingredients list of your favourite lip-balm, and discover an ingredient with a similar description but slightly different spelling to Oxybenzone, it will probably be a version of Oxybenzone. Also, in recent packaging updates Oxybenzone is being highlighted, independently, to alert the user to this ingredient.

Oxybenzone, generally, presents no issues for human beings. It is a naturally occurring chemical compound in various flowering plants. In modern times it has been used in hairsprays, make-up products and importantly, provides the sun protective ingredient in lip-balms. The Oxybenzone ingredient helps eliminate the negative affect of the sun’s UVA and UVB, on the human skin. In products which are used on the beach, in sports and day-to-day it is an effective protection ingredient.

But here lies the contradiction, while Oxybenzone is great for sun- protection in people, it has been identified as a destroyer of corals. Even a very small amount of Oxybenzone has a dramatically negative effect on the ability of the coral to defend itself. It is responsible for the phenomenon called Coral-bleaching, where corals lose their unique and rich colours. Oxybenzone causes the corals to become white and light in appearance. If a small amount of Oxybenzone impacts corals negatively, imagine the overall effect of up to 6000 tons of Oxybenzone that are off-loaded in the sea, in places like Hawaii, through tourist and holiday-maker swimming, surfing and vacation fun. It is quickly apparent that Oxybenzone will impact the ocean and corals within the ocean.

So when you next browse through the ingredients list of your favourite Blistex product, and you come across Oxybenzone, please know this ingredient is there to protect you. When you are heading into the sea, look out for one of our products which doesn’t contain Oxybenzone, and use that while swimming.

We will continue to produce Blistex products responsibly and revise ingredient lists to include only the best products for you and the environment. At the same time, use your discretion at different times, and apply the appropriate lip-balm in each situation.

Protect yourself from harmful UV rays with Blistex Ultra SPF 50+

“Blistex Ultra SPF 50+ offers advanced daily protection to defend lips from nature’s drying forces, in any season.” This is the opening statement which appears on the packaging of Blistex Ultra SPF50+ lip balm – the lip balm of choice for places with extreme weather conditions. We investigate the validity of this statement, by exploring the meaning and benefits of a strong SPF factor.

The Sun factor

There are three types of UV (Ultra-violet) rays in sunlight, which reach the earth. We are mainly concerned with two types: UV-A (Longer-wave rays) and UV-B (Short-wave rays). Both UV types are invisible to the naked eye.

UV-A and UV-B rays are responsible for skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer. UV-B rays are generally associated with sunburn, while UV-A rays penetrate deeper into the skin affecting skin-cells below the outer-skin surface.

What we are continually try and do, is produce products that limit the damage of harmful UV rays, by producing products which contain SPF ingredients.

How does SPF help?

Skin Protection Factor or SPF is a measure of how well a skincare product protects the skin from the harsh UV-B rays. The Protection factor calculation is for the benefit of the user. A Skin Protection Factor is a calculation of how long the user can stay in the sun following the application of the skincare product. The calculation is quite simple. Assume that 1 SPF = 20 minutes of sunlight, then a product such as Blistex Ultra SPF 50+ means that the lip-care item will be effective for 20 minutes x 50 = 1000 minutes.

There are two notes to make with respect to SPF efficacy. There are potential factors e.g. water, or sweat, that may influence the duration of the effectiveness of the SPF. The second note, is that an a greater SPF e.g. SPF30, does not have double the effectiveness as an SPF15. In fact, an SPF15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UV-B rays. SPF30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF50 keeps out 98 percent. So don’t forget to keep applying sunscreen and lip-balm products.

Blistex Ultra SPF 50+

Ultra SPF 50+ is therefore a very effective lip-balm in areas where your lips are greatly exposed to harmful sun rays. While we normally consider this to be during the summer months, we cannot forget the effect of cold conditions.

Blistex Ultra SPF 50+ contains the protective ingredients for your lips. It is also infused with moisturizers and anti-oxidants which include Vitamin C and E as additional protection factors.

The combination of these ingredients helps ensure that lips are well protected from the harmful UV-B rays. When next in Dis-chem or Clicks, seek out the SPF50 shield and try this product. Or, simply purchase one here.