tinosorb m skincare guide

I hate shopping for sunscreen. It’s the most important product in your skincare routine – and the harder to get right.

Synthetic UV filters, like Avobenzone, have pleasant, lightweight textures… but are highly unstable, can cause irritations, and even gets absorbed by your skin (a no-no for pregnant women).

Mineral UV filters, like Zinc Oxide, are safer and gentler on the skin… but often leave a greasy, white cast behind. Ugh.

Enter Tinosorb M. It combines the lightest feel of synthetic UV filters with the gentleness of mineral ones. Is it the perfect UV filter?

What Is Tinosorb M?

Tinosorb M is a synthetic UV filter that comes in the form of nanoparticles (but, don’t worry, they don’t penetrate skin).

As of now, Tinosorb M is used in Europe, Asia, and Australia. But it’s still banned in the US (this has more to do with the FDA’s lengthy UV process approval than any real dangers with Tinosorb M).

It’s a shame because Tinosorb M has a better texture than mineral filters (like Zinc Oxide) and is gentler than traditional synthetic filters (like Oxybenzone).

P.S. You won’t find Tinosorb M on the label. It hides under the names “Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol” or Bisoctrizole. 

Related: The Complete List Of UV Filters Used In Sunscreens

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What Does Tinosorb M Do In Skincare Products?

Tinosorb M is a UV filter on steroids.

Most UV filters only protect you from UVA or UVB rays. Tinosorb M does double duty: it provides broad spectrum protection, keeping you safe from UVA (both UVA-1 and UVA-2), UVB.

Like mineral filters Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, Tinosorb M works in two ways:

  • It absorbs UV rays and transforms them into a less damaging form of energy (heat)
  • When UV rays hit your skin, it reflects and scatters them away from it, so they can’t damage it

There are not many UV filters that can give you this level of protection.

Related: 3 Reasons Mineral Filters Are Safer For Sensitive Skin

Is Tinosorb M Stable?

Some UV filters (I’m looking at you, Avobenzone) degrade and slowly stop working when exposed to sunlight. They literally get used up on the job.

Avobenzone is the worst. Even with the help of stabilisers, it’s all used up after a couple of hours at the beach (that’s one of the reasons why you need to reapply sunscreen so often).

Tinosorb M is stable even when exposed to sunlight. Plus, it helps other UV filters degrade more slowly.

WARNING! Even when UV filters are stable, sweat, rubbing, or swimming can all greatly reduce sun protection. Translation: reapply your sunscreen every few hours anyway to stay safe in the sun.

Is Tinosorb M Safe?

As far as we know, yes. Here’s what I mean.

Tinosorb M is a pretty new UV filter, so we don’t have data on its long-term safety. It just hasn’t been around long enough for scientists to do this type of research. But, so far, we have no reason to believe it poses any dangers.

For starters, it doesn’t significantly absorb into your skin (contrary to popular opinion, very few substances make it through its protective barrier). If it can’t get in, the worst it can do is give you a bad rash. But this is rare.

Plus, unlike other UV filters, it shows no estrogenic activity.

Related: Does Your Skin Really Absorb 60% Of What You Put On It?

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What Are The Best Sunscreens With Tinosorb M?

The Bottom Line

Tinosorb M belongs to a new generation of UV filters that give you broad spectrum sun protection without the irritation. It has a better texture than mineral UV filters and is safe for sensitive skin, too. Sadly, it’s still banned in the US.