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SUNSCREEN: Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Kind?

Posted by Barbara Barnes on
SUNSCREEN: Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Kind?

Let’s cover a few basics before we dive into how we suggest you find and use the right SPF throughout the year, especially in the summer months. Please note, not all sunscreens are created equal, as I’m sure you’ve had your own disastrous experiences in the past. Most find natural SPF’s extremely heavy; clogging pores, which turn into breakouts and possibly leaving you pasty white. We are here to tell you that you can find a NATURAL, CLEAN SUNSCREEN that looks natural and feels good!


If you normally burn after 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, with an SPF 30 (30 x 10 minutes = 300 minutes) you could theoretically spend 5 hours in the sun without burning. With the emphasis on "theoretically", because to minimize sun damage, it is best to limit direct sun exposure as much as possible, as in practice the time safely spent in the sun is almost never factor times time.

Sunscreen products with a higher protection factor also block more light particles. An SPF 30 protects you from about 97% of the sun's rays, the factor roughly indicates how long it will take for your skin to (still) burn under the influence of UV-B rays.  Of course, there is no product that protects you against 100% of the UV radiation.


It is also wise to protect yourself from UV-A rays. UV-B rays are blocked by glass, but UV-A rays are not, so they also affect you if you are sitting at or by a window or driving your car, for example. That is why it is best to buy a product with a broad-spectrum sun filter that protects against UV-A and UV-B radiation.  Research has also shown that UV rays and other emissions from screens on phones and computers produce the same effects on skin as does the sun, it just takes longer!! 

The sun's radiation includes UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-B radiation only reaches the skin's surface and is the cause of sunburn. UV-A radiation penetrates deeper into your skin and stimulates the production of pigment (melanin) in the cells responsible for it (melanocytes), therefore creating long term damage of cells.


As a sustainable brand we only recommend non-toxic, zinc based and reef safe sunscreen. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are mineral filters, we recommend them as they are safe and rarely cause any irritation. They are broad spectrum filters that protect against both UV-B and UV-A radiation.

This is where you really need to start paying close attention as there are brands out there that tell us they are non-toxic and zinc based, however they still use alcohol and chemicals that are harmful to our oceans, as well as our bodies. Toxicologists have pointed out that breathing in high doses of nanoparticles of titanium oxide and zinc oxide should be avoided at all times as they can act like a carcinogen. Better to avoid sprays all together! 


While our bodies need Vitamin D as a building block and immune booster, we shouldn’t be out in the sun between the hours of 10am-4pm without an umbrella or hat and covering up our bodies. Our planet’s depleted ozone layer is simply not protective enough anymore. It’s healthier to get outside early in the am; 10-20 minutes spent outside is generally enough exposure and creates the right amount of daily vitamin D intake.


We know most of our clients apply a responsible and safe sunscreen once a day, namely in the morning and do not think to re-apply as they are going about their normal day. However, if you want to step up your skin care regimen and protect yourself against premature aging and sunspots you will need to re-apply every 2 hours!

Obviously, we understand this can get messy when you are already wearing make-up and you don’t have the time or opportunity to redo your entire face.  Enter powder SPF: Jane Iredale’s Powder Me SPF is a great candidate for a non-messy re-application. This loose powder comes in a handy container and 4 different shades that allow you to sponge or brush the powder on top of your existing sunscreen or make up. This SPF does not contain zinc, only titanium dioxide, it will not clog your pores, fabulous for the face and body. Added bonus:  Mineral powders do not expire so you can leave in your car without worrying that it might lose its efficacy.

Another brand we love is Suntegrity, this award-winning brand offers multi-tasking, beauty-boosting ingredients that are packed with antioxidants and non-nano zinc oxide. We recommend starting your day applying the Impeccable in your chosen tint.  It delivers Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protection that's not only good for your skin, never clogs your pores and always gives you a healthy glow. If you are re-applying with Suntegrity, we encourage you to use the stick containing no color and 20% zinc.  This stick can go over your make-up nicely. Just consider working the product into your fingers before you apply and pressing it onto the high points of your face. It takes a little practice but from our experience you can apply without a mess.  Both of these products are available to purchase on our 24/7 online store: 


Prepare! Keep a sunscreen stick or powder handy in your purse or car, keep multiple hats around and be mindful about when you spend any time outside.

Make sure you clean the inside of your hat regularly. An easy way to do this is by spraying it with our Be Clean Detoxifying Toner, this multitasker will get rid of any bacteria that may be lingering, while giving you an aromatic immune boost. You want to be mindful of keeping anything that touches your face clean, as to avoid unnecessary breakouts, especially the inside bill of your hats. 

Pay attention to ingredients, especially the first five!!  Many brands look sustainable and non toxic on the surface, but with closer inspection include oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, alcohol, mineral oil, glycols and parabens in their ingredient list.  Most of these ingredients are harmful and can lead to irritation, especially if your skin warms up due to exercise or just by being out on a hot day.  Some of these ingredients can also be endocrine disruptors that can cause long term damaging effects on your skin and body.

Finally, adding natural sun defense to your daily diet can also help support your skin against harmful rays.  Here are some of our favorites:  pomegranate, pink grapefruit, green tea, rooibos, vitamin E and watermelon. These all help protect, brighten and rebuild your skin in positive ways.

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