We get this question a lot. As many of you have noticed, we have no SPF or sunscreen product in our product line.
Yes, we do think that sunscreen is essential to any skincare routine for everyone no matter what age, gender, ethnicity or lifestyle. If such a product is so essential, why do we not have one in our lineup?
Tell Me More About UV Rays
Let's give you the 101 about UV rays. There are two types: UVB and UVA. UVB rays are the rays that burn your skin and lead to skin cancer, while UVA rays are the rays that contribute to aging, leathery-looking skin and wrinkles. This is why sunscreen is a necessity (and the best anti-aging) product you can have in your skincare routine.
That said, not all sunscreens are created equal.
How do Chemical and Mineral Sunscreens Work?
There are two types of sunscreen ingredients: mineral and chemical. Mineral sunscreen ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are small particles that sit on the skin’s surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin. Mineral sunscreens are generally much safer for people who are concerned about long-term exposure to chemical ingredients, and they are ideal for children, people with sensitive skin, and people with melasma. Unfortunately, zinc oxide tends to leave a white cast, but nano-emulsion technology has made this ingredient far less noticeable. Mineral sunscreen also tends to sit on top of skin, so it may contribute to breakouts to those with acne-prone skin.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients absorb the sun's UV rays. Once the light is absorbed into the skin, the chemicals in the sunscreen create a chemical reaction in which UV light is converted to heat. Then, the heat dissipates into the skin. Chemical sunscreen ingredients include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens are quick and easy to apply, and they statistically perform better than mineral sunscreens. However, they may cuase skin reactions in certain people, especially those with sensitive skin.
Is sunscreen regulated in the US?
Yes! The US regulates sunscreen ingredients through the Food and Drug Administration. Sunscreen ingredients are treated as a drug, rather than a cosmetic, resulting in a ridiculously slow approval process for new ingredient additions, like the highly effective UVA-filters commonly used in European and Asian sunscreens.
Earlier this year, the FDA raised concerns about chemicals commonly found in sunscreen, noting that they can enter the bloodstream at levels significantly higher than the current FDA threshold for safety testing. The agency asked sunscreen manufacturers to complete safety studies by this November.
The FDA noted that only two of the 16 active ingredients commonly used in commercial sunscreens - the mineral sunblocks, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - are "generally recognized as safe and effective." That's a designation the FDA gives a substance when qualified experts consider it generally safe for its intended use.
In a study published in May, FDA scientists found that four active ingredients found in commercial sunscreens — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule — were "systemically absorbed" into users' skin. (One of the ingredients, oxybenzone, has been found in breast milk, urine and blood plasma.) The high absorption rate of these ingredients means we need to study their potential toxicity levels further.
What is our favorite sunscreens of the moment?
While we don't have a sunscreen (yet), generally opt for SPF 50+, and we're fans of both mineral and chemical sunscreens depending on the situation. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Dr. G Green Mild Up Sun - Our founder swears by this mineral sunscreen that's especially great for those with sensitive skin. It's no wonder it's one of the highest rated sunscreens rated on the popular skincare community app, Hwahae.
Krave Beauty The Beet Shield - A gentle, anti-oxidant rich chemical sunscreen from a brand founded by popular skincare YouTuber, Liah Yoo.
Do you have any sunscreen favorites? Send us a message on our socials.