Sunscreen has probably been the most discussed topic these past few years. There’s so much inaccurate information going around about what SPF is, how it works, and which filters (physical, chemical or combination) you should choose.
The most common myth is that the higher SPF you use, the more protected you are. It appears many people still believe it’s true and pass on this misinformation further to others. First of all, take a look at this table, showing how much UVB rays sunscreen absorbs depending on its SPF level. Not only SPF50 blocks just 1.6% more UVB than SPF30, but I’ll tell you why this myth can get you in serious trouble. It depends on your skin type (you can determine it here using Fitzpatrick scale), weather conditions, and your location how long your skin can be exposed to sun without sunscreen before burning. Sunscreen extends that time by absorbing (chemical filters) or scattering (physical filters) UV rays and that way protecting your skin. In other words, if you use a sunscreen with SPF10, you can be in the sun 10 times longer without getting burned. So, if you use a sunscreen with SPF50, you can be in the sun 50 times longer. Sounds amazing, right? Well, not really. Sunscreens (especially those with physical filters) tend to rub off easily when you sweat or after contact with clothing, so knowing that you’ve applied high SPF sunscreen, you get faulty feeling that your skin is protected, while in reality the most sensitive places, like your face, your shoulders, or thighs, can get really burned. You wouldn’t believe how often this happens to so many people and then they blame the sunscreen, when actually it was them who didn’t know how to use it properly. I’m not trying to discourage you from using sunscreen with SPF50, it’s your choice, but just keep in mind that it’s not the higher SPF that matters, but how often you reapply your sun protection.
I’m not going to speak about cancer risks or hormonal disruptions, because the data is just too controversial. To be honest, I don’t find posts like this easy to write, because I don’t want to sound preachy. However, I think this topic is particularly important and such information (with verified facts) should be available and widely spread. Knowledge is power and the best we can do is to educate ourselves by reading trusted sources and make up our minds as we go. That’s why I also wanted to share some really great articles regarding this topic from the sources I trust:
Facts About Sunscreen by American Melanoma Foundation
CDC: Americans Carry Body Burden Of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical by EWG
The Chemistry Of Sunscreen: Organic vs. Non Organic by The Scientific Parent
Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen by Skinacea
The Great Sunscreen Coverup by Science Based Medicine
The Trouble with Sunscreen Chemicals by EWG
What’s Wrong With High SPF by EWG
Concentrations of the Sunscreen Agent Benzophenone-3 in Residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004
Safety of Oxybenzone: Putting Numbers Into Perspective
Now when that’s off my chest, let’s talk beauty! If you read my blog, you might have seen Beauty By Earth review before. I was really excited about its skincare products (Clear-Complexion Hydrating Face Mask is the best!), and I’m impressed with these sunscreens, too.
FACIAL SUNSCREEN SPF20* 59ml / approx $16.99 – £13
This might sound strange to some of you, but I have never owned a facial sunscreen before. I just never sunbathe, also, I use mineral foundations with SPF for my face, so the only sunscreen I need is for my body. I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out it’s a great product. Mainly, for because of these three reasons: this facial sunscreen comes in a travel-friendly spray bottle, it has a pleasant gentle scent, and it rubs in clear and matte. The word “matte” to me somehow equals “drying”, but since the sunscreen contains so many nourishing and regenerating ingredients, it’s far from drying, but light enough to be suitable for oilier skin types.
It’s the best for using it during the hottest times of summer or when on vacation to tropic or high-altitude destinations. Also, it’s a perfect addition to a daily skin care routine if your usual day cream or foundation doesn’t contain SPF (I’m tempted to get ILIA Vivid Foundation, which I think doesn’t have SPF, so I’m considering using this facial sunscreen underneath).
Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 11%, Aloe (Vera) Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin Stearate, Safflower Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ricinus Communis Oil, Thobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carmella Sinesis (Green Tea) Extract, Chamomila Recutta (Matricarta) Extract, Fragrance (Natural). No nano particles.
WATER-RESISTANT SUNSCREEN SPF25* 118ml / $15.99 – approx £12
Made with only natural moisturizing ingredients, this sunscreen is something I enjoy using very much. It has a sweet scent, which reminds me of vanilla. This sunscreen comes out of the tube white, very thick, and creamy, but it rubs in completely clear. However, you have to rub it hard to make it completely sink it. But once it does, it doesn’t leave any greasiness or white cast.
Now that it’s summer, this compact 118ml tube is always with me in my handbag. I’m a little sad that it is over the size allowed for traveling with a carry-on baggage, but it’s still a sunscreen that I would recommend.
Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 14%, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Vegetable Glycerin, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Organic Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Organic Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract, Organic Camellia Oleifera (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Pulp Extract, Vanilla Tahitensis (Vanilla) Fruit Extract. No nano particles.
Which sunscreens are your current favorites? Let me know in the comments!