Understanding Nanoparticles

So you’ve heard us mention a few times that the active ingredient in our sunscreens is “non-nano zinc oxide,” but what exactly does that mean?

Let us break it down for you…


What Does Nano Mean?

A nanoparticle is a piece of matter small enough to be measured in nanometers (one-billionth of a meter). Any particle smaller than 100 nanometers is considered nano, while particles with a diameter larger than 100 nanometers are considered non-nano.

Why Does Nano Matter?

Many sunscreens and personal care products have been using nano-sized particles to formulate lotions that rub in more easily and leave less of a tint. The concern with something being so small is that it can be absorbed through the skin and ultimately into the bloodstream.

Chemical sunscreens, are nano-sized and, by design absorb, into the skin where they soak up the sun’s energy and convert that energy from uv radiation to heat or light within the body. Zinc Oxide particles sit on top of the skin and scatter the sun’s rays away from the skin like tiny little mirrors. For them to be effective as sunscreen, they must remain on top of the skin. Most studies show that even nano-sized zinc oxide particles do not absorb into human skin, however, there is still concern for marine life. Non-nano zinc oxide is the only active ingredient in sunscreen that has been proven not to harm corals.

What About Raw Elements and Non-Nano?

For these reasons, we have chosen to only use Non-Nano Zinc Oxide in our sunscreens. Furthermore, our formulas are 3rd party analyzed and certified to ensure that there are no nano-sized particles in our finished formulas. The smallest particles in our sunscreens are over 200 nanometers (more than double the largest nano particles) and over 95% of the Zinc Oxide particles in our finished formulas are above 400 nanometers. Additionally, our Zinc Oxide is uncoated, sustainably mined and recycled.