What's the deal with natural sunscreen and your skin?
Skin damage from the sun shows up in so many forms on our skin. Uneven complexion, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, and dark spots are all results of too much sun. This is why the daily application of sunscreen is so important. Yes, even us with melanin in our skin need sun protection too..... However, many sunscreens contain toxic ingredients or endocrine disrupting chemicals that in many cases can actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. The great thing about Mother Nature is that she has given us oils and butter that have built-in SPF (Sun Protection Factor).
The Difference between UVA, UVB and UVC rays?
Before we talk about the best oils for sun protection, let's talk the sun ultraviolet sun rays and how they affect the skin. The sun's powerful rays that reach the earth is made up of three types of: UVA, UVB and UVC (the rays are in alphabetical order A, B, and C) long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and medium wave ultraviolet B (UVB) and the one that does not reach the sun surface ultraviolet C (UVC).
- UVA rays - long waves they even go through clouds and fog and are not absorbed by the ozone layer. These rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer and cause premature aging and wrinkles. (These are the rays that get you on those cloudy days)
- UVB rays - mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, however, it causes sunburn and skin cancer
- UVC rays - completely absorbed by the ozone layer and atmosphere
UVA and UVB rays are the ultraviolet rays that cause the most skin damage. To achieve the best protection from these rays you would need protection from both. If you are looking to use plant-based oils for SPF protection, be aware that most plant-based oils only have protection from UVB rays. The only oil that has protection from both UVA and UVB is Red Raspberry Seed Oil. Our Fire Facial Serum is formulated with Red Raspberry Seed Oil and is perfect as day serum to protect and heal your skin.
The best natural SPF sunscreen will have non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin below. The Skin Cancer Foundation considers SPFs of 15 or higher acceptable UVB protection and SPF's of 30 or higher is acceptable for UVA and UVB protection or "broad-spectrum" SPF protection.
SPF For Mineral Ingredients, Oils and Butters
Now let's divulge into the SPF of natural ingredients.
SPF Rating of Oils and Butters
*The SPF of zinc oxide will vary depending on the amount that is used.
Remeber that SPF of natural oils is not cumulative, they don’t add up to increase the SPF level. They are many factors that determine the SPF of a sunscreen and some combinations of oils affect the efficacy of the final product and it must go through testing to get an accurate SPF value.
When to use Sunscreen?
Ok, most will tell you to use it every day but most of us don't use a sunscreen every day (I'm just being honest). But we do use a facial cream, serum or moisturizer that has some SPF protection. Bottom line, if you are going to be at the beach or by the pool all day, you need to apply a sunscreen to your skin that has broad-spectrum protection. I recommend these natural sunscreens for those heavy sun days, Umbra™ Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30, California Baby SPF 30 Sunscreen, Andrelles Lavender + Carrot Seed Sun Protectant. Make sure to reapply your sunscreen at least every hour because most will come off with water play and excessive sweating