WHAT THE SPF!? Our Clean Product Expert Breaks Down Sunscreen
By: Juana Diez, Shop Good Product Expert
Not yet convinced you should be wearing sunscreen every day? You are about to be – – 90% of visible signs of aging are caused by the sun. Yep, you read that right! But before you slather on the the first SPF you can find, remember not all sunscreen is created equal. And the sunscreen market is a downright confusing one. From water-resistant to broad-spectrum to coral-reef safe to SPF count… ok slow down! When you’re rushing to meet your gal pals by the pool, the last thing you have time to do is stand in the aisle and google these terms.
But, you’re a Shop Good babe! And you care what you place on your body! Let us do the work for you and breakdown sunscreen so you can #practicesafeskin in the healthiest way possible!
Let’s dive in — the basics first.
There are two main types of sunscreen on the market today.
Chemical Sunscreens contain organic (carbon based) compounds, such as avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, which work by creating a chemical reaction. Your skin absorbs the sun’s rays, converts those UV rays into heat, and then releases that heat from the skin. Though typically easier to apply and blend into the skin but do require about 20 minutes to activate after application.
The beach-buzz kill? These chemical ingredients have been linked to toxicity and endocrine disrupting issues in the body. The Environmental Working Group found that almost 65% of chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone (the most worrisome) which is known to cause allergic reactions in skin and disrupt estrogens in the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely detects oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population.
Further, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate have also been linked to negative effects on our environment and coral reef bleaching.
Physical Sunscreens contain active minerals, like titanium oxide and zinc oxide, which function as shields sitting on the top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away. But with any mineral sunscreens, or products for that matter, you must ensure there are no nano-particles detected. (yes, one more thing to think about!) Finally, yes, many physical sunscreens are notorious for leaving that white cast, even after rubbing in well, which is not exactly the chic look we’re going for…
Ok, I get the two types of #skinsafety. But, there’s so many more terms! What exactly does “Broad Spectrum Protection” mean?
UVB rays are responsible for (yep, you guessed it) – those dreaded sunburns. UVA rays, however, are responsible for more silent damage – think visible signs of aging and skin cancer. Less expensive options that you’ll likely find at the drug store typically only protect against UVB rays – but we want to make sure you’re protected from both. It’s important to choose a sunscreen labeled ‘Broad Spectrum’ to make sure we’re getting the best protection, especially when it comes to our face!
And, one more question. What’s the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50? Do I need to buy the highest number to #practicesafeskin?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it indicates a sunscreen’s ability to block UVB rays. You may think an SPF 30 will offer you double the protection of an SFP 15, but you’re wrong! SPF of 15 screens 93 percent of UVB rays, while a 30 screens 97 — just four percent more. “UVB protection does not increase proportionally with the SPF number,” says Dr. Elizabeth Hale of the Skin Cancer Foundation. Most skin specialists recommend an SPF 30 every day. Anything above it doesn’t make a huge difference in protection.
Great! So, which Sunscreen is right for me?
At Shop Good, we’re firm believers that physical options are safer for our bodies (and environment).
Suntegrity is our go-to sunscreen. A non-greasy chemical-free sunscreen that offers Broad Spectrum Protection and is great for all skin types. Rich in antioxidants like organic pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea, Suntegrity also acts as skincare along with helping you #practicesafeskin and helps fight against signs of aging, too. Aloe vera, jojoba, and hyaluronic acid also provide a perfect dose of hydration and help soothe and nourish the skin. Finally, although it is a mineral sunscreen, it doesn’t leave that annoying white cast on the face or body. Really – it checks ALL the boxes, and is rated a 1, or safest available on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database
A tool for you! Search for YOUR sunscreen at the link here. What does the sunscreen in your bag rate?
Now that I have my sunscreen in hand, it’s ok to ditch the SPF if I work indoors all day or it’s cloudy out… right?
Think again! UVA rays actually penetrate through clouds and windows (especially while driving!), which is why sunscreen application is essential everyday – not just an addition to your beach bag.
When is the sun good for me?
Vitamin D: With increased sun protection and spending the majority of our days in an office, also comes a rise in Vitamin D deficiencies. Why does this matter? Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) is essential for our immunity, strong bones, muscle health, mood regulation, and cognitive function. Spending 15-20 minutes under the sun unprotected is all you need to activate your body’s production of Vitamin D. A short walk outdoors before or after work is a great idea – just make sure to avoid peak hours of 11-4 pm! The sunshine vitamin can also be obtained through a good quality supplement or food sources – mushrooms, egg yolks, wild caught fish (salmon + mackerel) are a few of our favorites.
You’ve got this and we’ve got you!
Sun safety doesn’t have to be complicated, or scary – – Remember to reapply if you’re spending several hours outdoors, wear a hat when you can (the secret’s out: new Shop Good hats coming soon!), stay hydrated, and nourish your skin with the proper ingredients afterwards. Treating yourself to one of our custom holistic facials is also a great way to combat any sun damage and show your skin some serious lovin’ post-sun!