Total Block and Cotz Sunscreen FAQ

May 20, 2011 6 Comments by

Coolibar asked sunscreen expert Kirk Minster from Fallene, Ltd., the maker of Total Block and Cotz Sunblock products, to host a Q & A session on the Coolibar Facebook page. With over six years of experience at Fallene, Kirk had plenty of valuable sunscreen information to pass on. Here is a brief recap of the session.

I have had skin cancer surgery on my nose and have been trying hard to use sunscreen every day. One problem that I have is taking sunscreen wherever I go, to reapply every two hours. I would love to have an option of single application containers (or towels, if that could be possible) that I could pop in my pocket or purse and not have to worry about it leaking and getting on everything. Does anything like this exist?

Convenience is always an issue with sunscreen, but unfortunately, anything that is either a spray or a moist towel is going to have chemical sunscreen filters only, no titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, the two ingredients that will give you the best broad spectrum photo stable protection. That said, for your nose I would use LipCotz SPF 45. This is in a small portable tube that will fit in your purse or your pocket. It is not only great for your lips, but it can be applied to your nose and ears as well. Finally, all of the Cotz products are in tubes with secure twist tops so the risk of any opening and ruining a purse is next to zero.

How do your products rate on the skin deep cosmetic safety data base?

All of the ingredients are FDA approved and have been in use for decades. As the Cotz line has evolved, we have taken great pains to limit the number of ingredients while providing products that give the best broad spectrum ( both UVA and UVB light) best photo-stable (this means the product does not break down when exposed to sun light, a common problem with chemical sunscreen filters) possible.

Fallene’s products are not safe because I am telling you they are, though I am giving you this assurance. They are safe because years of study into the active and inactive ingredients by competent, well respected scientists have determined they are safe for use on the skin.

Here you will find the report the TGA released in 2009 regarding nano TiO2 and ZO http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano

I think you will find the TGA report compelling. With hope the FDA will release a monograph for the UVA spectrum of light in 2011 so that consumers will have some way to gage the effectiveness of their sunscreen against the deeper penetrating UVA light.

Most sunscreen burns my face, so I have to use fragrance free sensitive skin types on my arms & chest but cannot find a brand that does not burn sensitive facial skin. Any tips?

Try the Cotz SPF 35 Zinc only, we made it for you and all those with very sensitive skin. Also, the Face Cotz SPF 40 is great for sensitive skin and is very silky to the touch, so it will feel light and smooth on the surface of your face.

For the active ingredients, you have a sunscreen with both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, and then one with just Zinc Oxide. Why is this?

Part of the answer reflects Fallene’s evolution as a sunscreen company, part of the reason resides in the intended function. Total Block 65 and Total Block 60 are older products. Total Block 60 is a makeup cover-up. Total Block 65 is a sunscreen that is designed to be non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic simply means it will not cause the user to break out with blemishes. Over a decade ago when both TB 60 and TB 65 were formulated, the best way to get a non-comedogenic sunscreen with superior protection and a focus on high SPF was to use both chemical and physical actives.

As Fallene, Ltd. evolved, more recent product, in particular the Cotz SPF 35 20% zinc reflects a less is more approach. With only 20% zinc as an active, it exposes the user to as few potentially irritating ingredients as possible, still gives adequate protection from UVB with an SPF 35 (Experts suggest SPF 30 is enough, anything more is probably more than you need) plus great protection from UVA as well.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind? It can be especially bad when I’m running outside and I start to sweat.

I suggest the FaceCotz SPF 45 for you in combination with the Cotz SPF 35 20% zinc. Use the Face Cotz on your face as you might have guessed and the Cotz 20% zinc everywhere you have exposed skin. You will find both free of that white residue and both are water resistant. The FaceCotz is very water resistant so will give excellent sweat resistant protection for your face.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?

For children 6 months and older, I recommend the Cotz products. In particular, the Cotz 20% Zinc only.

Do your sunscreens contain nano-particles? If so, is this a concern?

The titanium and zinc in our products is technically micronized. I know much has been made of nano particle/ nano technology in the past few years. This year, for the first time, the subject was researched by dermatologists so that they could make recommendations to other dermatologists. What this report said is what numerous previous studies concluded, micronized titanium and zinc are safe for use in functional cosmetics.

The Environmental Working Group is a good source of information on this topic.

Chemical sunscreen absorbers by definition absorb into the skin. Physical protection, titanium and zinc, rest on the surface of the skin. Studies by the European Union, the FDA, and the Australian Regulatory agency called the TGA, all show that micronized titanium and zinc will not absorb through the outer layers of skin, into deeper layers of skin.

Take a look at this link: http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano

This is an excerpt from the TGA website; the TGA is the Australian equivalent of our FDA and has rigorously studied nano particles in sunscreen. Here is what they have to say: In early 2009, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) conducted an updated review of the scientific literature in relation to the use of nanoparticulate zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreens (see below).

The TGA review concluded that:

-The potential for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens to cause adverse effects depends primarily upon the ability of the nanoparticles to reach viable skin cells; and

-To date, the current weight of evidence suggests that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles do not reach viable skin cells; rather, they remain on the surface of the skin and in the outer layer of the skin that is composed of non-viable cells.

For the full TGA report on the safety of Titanium and Zinc, please use this link: http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano. The report confirms that all research thus far shows these ingredients to be safe and the best protection from the sun.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is well respected. They have paid such close attention to this topic because Australia is the perennial front runner in cases of skin cancer per capita. They want to know what works to help prevent skin cancer but are also concerned with safety. The link above will take you to the full report on nano particle titanium and zinc that can be downloaded as a PDF.

Why is there tint in some of your sunscreen? I found this out after purchasing and using it in Hawaii.

The tint is the iron oxide that we use in Cotz SPF 58. Iron Oxide is as common ingredient in makeup that has been used as a color agent for decades. In Cotz SPF58, the Iron Oxide acts to offset the whitening effect of the Titanium and Zinc. Although it is not an FDA approved active sunscreen ingredient, studies show that the small iron particles also act as good protection high up in the UVA range of light, near the visible light range. Cotz 20% Zinc SPF 35 which has no tint.

What are the most effective sunscreen components/things to look for in a sunscreen?

Look for two key ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These FDA recognized active sunscreen ingredients are the best broad spectrum and photo-stable (will not break down when exposed to light) so will provide the best protection.

Do your products use chemical sunscreen filters or only physical?

The entire Cotz line with four different products in all is physical protection only, no chemical sunscreens. The older Total Block products, around for more than a decade now, combine chemical and physical FDA approved active sunscreen ingredients.

What is the difference between your Cotz brand and Total Block brand?

Cotz is chemical sunscreen filter free using just titanium dioxide, and or zinc oxide for sun protection.

The Total Block products combine physical block, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with chemical sunscreen filters.

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Shop for Cotz and Total Block sunscreens at Coolibar.

Remember full sun protection includes a sun hat, UV clothing, sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

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6 Responses to “Total Block and Cotz Sunscreen FAQ”

  1. Elaine Machacek says:

    Some truly interesting details you have written. Aided me a lot, just what I was looking for : D.

  2. Brandi Minar says:

    Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding layout.

  3. J. Lewis says:

    As someone who has had skin cancer and wants to protect myself as well as my small children, I love these products!

    However–and I know this is not really a priority–can you tell me your tricks of the trade for getting it off of–or preventing it from staining–clothing? I’ve heard that if you let it dry on skin before dressing, that it won’t stain, but we frequently reapply, on the tennis court, for example. I’ve also heard that the stains result from the interaction of the iron oxide & possible hard water (which I’m not sure we have). Can you please advise??

  4. aoberg says:

    Hi J. Lewis, I forwarded your question to Coolibar’s clothing care and sunscreen expert. I will let you know the answer shortly.

  5. aoberg says:

    Hello J. Lewis.

    When staining occurs from sunscreen, this is what our Coolibar clothing care expert suggests:

    Solution: Murphy Oil Soap (any other vegetable oil soap should provide similar results); Mild Dish Soap; All by Lever; Lab by Colgate; Purex by Dial or any other liquid detergents containing chelating ingredients and buffers such as citric acid/sodium citrate.

    Instructions: Rinse the stained area(s) in cold water. Using a few drops of either Murphy Oil Soap or Mild Dish Soap, rub repeatedly over the stain(s) until removed. Wash according to the care instructions.

    * Murphy Oil Soap is not for use in washing machines.

  6. Margie Chandler says:

    Many thanks for putting this material up.This is EXACTLY what I’ve been seeking.

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