Gisele Bunchen’s recent comments about her attitude toward sunscreen (calling it ‘poison’) has caused a bit of a sensation in the media, and although I think that what she was trying to say was probably distorted through a poor choice of words and quoting out of context, I also think that this is a great time to discuss sun protection.
The Sunscreen Lowdown Part 1 that I posted previously goes through in detail things like what UVA and UVB are, what SPF actually means, and chemical filters vs physical blockers in sunscreens.
So that leaves us with the issue of finding a good sunscreen!
As you can probably guess, sunscreen labelling can be a little misleading. ‘Broad Spectrum’ doesn’t necessarily mean true broad spectrum, an SPF sunscreen of 50 isn’t necessarily better than an SPF 30 in another formula, and ‘child safe’ means jack all.
If you want to pick a good sunscreen (one that is photostable, good UVA/UVB protection, and is not a hormone disruptor or free radical generator), a good start would be getting to know the ingredients and reading the label when you are making a purchase.
The Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide:
|image from http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/|
Now, I’m not saying that the EGW is the word of God and must be followed to the letter- just that it is a great resource.
On the EGW Sunscreen Guide, they rate sunscreens, moisturisers with SPF, lip balms with SPF, and makeup with SPF on the market in terms of UVA/UVB protection, health hazards from ingredients, and stability from 1 to about 400. I like to look at their top 20 in each category, and also use their database to search available products to see the ranking.
For everyday use under makeup, I’ve been using Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock (what a mouthful!) SPF 30+. It gives a matte/satin finish and does not feel heavy under makeup. It also comes in an airless pump, which is a big plus for me. (Keys is not water resistant though so when I go to the beach or exercising outdoor sweating like a pig, I use my Invisible Zinc sunscreen).
This is rated as top 3 in their list of moisturizers with SPF, and when you open up the link in their list, you get this analysis:
|image from http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/finding-the-best-sunscreens/71905/Keys-Soap-Solar-Rx-Cosmetic-Moisturizing-Sunblock-SPF/|
Yikes. As an Australian, I feel let down by the friendly Banana Boat Song ( “Bana Nana Nana, Na Na nanana..”) on their commercial which seemed to run almost continuously throughout my childhood.  I Just realised I had the wrong banana song, it’s actually “Banana Boat doo doo doodoodoo, Banana Boat, it’s 30 plus!”
|image from http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/finding-the-best-sunscreens/282295/Banana-Boat-Ultra-Sunblock-Lotion-SPF/|
The top SPF lip balms include:
-Purple Prairie Botanicals sunstuff lip balm, SPF 30
-Badger SPF 15 Sunscreen Lip Balm, Unscented
-Alba Botanica TerraTint, SPF 8
-UV Natural Lip screen, SPF 30+
Makeup with SPF:
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really see any point of having SPF in makeup.
First of all, you are unlikely to apply enough foundation on your face to get to the SPF rating on the bottle, and sun protection in makeup generally won’t last very long anyway (1-2hrs).
Secondly, makeup with SPF will usually have chemical filters rather than physical blockers (refer to Part 1 for why this isn’t ideal). On the other hand, mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc and titanium dioxide in makeup will give you a godawful white cast in flash photography.
Thirdly, SPF IN POWDER FORM IS AN INHALATION HAZARD (most sunscreen ingredients, particularly titanium dioxide, is considered carcinogenic when inhaled)! No spray on sunscreen, or powder SPF product is considered safe by the EWG.
If for some reason, however, I fall in love with a particular foundation with SPF eg. Chanel Pro Lumiere- I’ll probably still buy it (as long as it doesnt have oxybenzone or vitamin A, and is not powder). I would just wear a moisturiser with sunscreen underneath.
HALL OF SHAME
2. Murad Perfecting Day Cream, SPF 30– chemical sunscreen with oxybenzone, absolutely craptastic UVA protection (so you won’t burn, but you’ll get the carcinogenic, wrinkle forming UVA),
3. Neutrogena Waterguard Kids Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+: another chemical sunscreen with oxybenzone, and vitamin A. Also, sunscreen in spray or powder form poses a serious inhalation risk with many sunscreen ingredients (particularly titanium dioxide) linked with lung cancer when inhaled.
4. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, SPF 55: yet another chemical sunscreen with plenty of oxybenzone that absorbs easily through porous baby skin. Also full of parabens. But put some pastel stripes on the packaging and it can’t be bad, right?
I think it’s important to add that oxybenzone absorbed through the skin in pregnant women can cause several problems to the bun in the oven. Because it is a strong hormone disruptor, it is linked with issues such as low birth weight babies. http://www.naturalpedia.com/OXYBENZONE.html
note: even within the same brand there’s big variation in effectiveness/safety profile of sunscreen products. E.g Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 30 rates very well as a sunscreen but Dermalogica Solar Defence Sunblock SPF 30 is one of the worst rated.
Finding something that works for YOU:
There’s no point in owning the best sunblock on the market if it feels uncomfortable on the skin, or if it is cosmetically unappealing because lets face it- you ain’t gonna use it.
I basically just look at the top 20 sunscreens as listed by the EWG sunscreen guide and make my decision to purchase based on the safety/effectiveness profile, the packaging (I hate sunscreen products in jars), and availability. Then I purchase it and if it feels and looks ok on the skin, then we have a winner!
My staple everyday sunscreen has been Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturising Sunblock SPF 30+ for awhile, and rates as #3 on the EWG sunscreen guide.
Recently I’m starting to use the Skin QR Organics L’air du Soleil SPF 30+, which is a moisturiser with SPF. I’m really loving it at the moment for it’s comfortable matte-satin finish, and how comfortable and feather-light it feels on the skin (no greasiness or tackiness at ALL). It has a lower percentage of Zinc Oxide compared with the Keys Soap sunscreen, so the UVA protection is not quite as good, but I’m willing to trade that in for the wonderful finish. Also, it is a non-nano sunscreen.
I am not a dermalogist, toxicologist, or claim to be an expert on this subject. These posts are a summary of what I’ve learnt from reading lots of different sources, and I’m still learning!
New research is being done all the time in the area of sun protection. The information in this post is, (to my knowledge), accurate at the time of writing but I would encourage you to do your own research. Also, I would love to hear your opinions, and product likes/dislikes! Sharing is caringPosted by myfunnyvalentine on Mar 18th, 2011 in Skincare, Sunscreen | 13610commentsThe+Sunscreen+Lowdown+Part+22011-03-18+23%3A44%3A00myfunnyvalentinehttp%3A%2F%2Fmyfunnyvalentineblog.com%2F%3Fp%3D136
If you follow my tweets @Jfunnyvalentine, you may have noticed that I have gone mad for DIY skin care lately.
So of course off I go to look for information on products containing vitamin C, but it it turns out that the story gets a little complex.
HOWEVER. Vitamin C is very unstable (unless it is in a dry form). It quickly oxidises in the presence of air, water, sunlight within several weeks making it ineffective, and worse- when oxidised it promotes free radical formation causing damage to skin proteins and DNA (ironic?). Also, it is only effective above around 10%, and most skin creams will have very low doses unless it specifically states the concentration.
Vitamin C can be stabilised to some extent with the addition of Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, but products that have stabilised 10% + vitamin C tends to be quite expensive, e.g. Skinceuticals C E and Ferulic. Even when stabilised in this way, the serum will be active for around 4 months and may be half oxidised by the time you purchase it.
So DO IT YOURSELF!
So this is where the DIY comes in. after more reading, I find out that the best way to get the right concentration and the freshness is to really make the damn serum yourself! You can make small batches at a time and skip the cheap fillers.
After lurking around the cosmetic chemists and DIY skin care fanatics at http://www.skincaretalk.com/ forum for weeks learning the ins and outs, I took the leap and ordered some pipettes, jars, an anhydrous pure vitamin C liquid (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate), and one of those cool airless lotion pumps from http://www.lotioncrafter.com/.
Apologies for all the geekery and bombarding you with more details than you probably cared to know- I get very carried away.
Do you ever do DIY skin care, or makeup?Posted by myfunnyvalentine on Mar 4th, 2011 in DIY Skin Care, Skincare | 12550commentsSaturday+Skin+Care%3A+My+DIY+10%25+anhydrous+Vitamin+C+E+and+Jojoba+serum2011-03-04+21%3A36%3A00myfunnyvalentinehttp%3A%2F%2Fmyfunnyvalentineblog.com%2F%3Fp%3D125
|My 3mL sample of The Jojoba Company Cucumber and Guava Firming Eye Balm|
Highly effectatious blend of cucumber, guava, aloe vera, jojoba and gotukola to cool and sooth delicate skin around the eyes and reduce the appearance of fine lines. It gently firms and re-hydrates dry skin decreasing inflammation and puffiness and reducing tiredness and tell-tale dark circles. Comes with the natural sun protection of pomegranate. Not tested on animals
price: RRP $46.95 25mL
availability: selected pharmacies and health food stores. For list of stockists check http://www.thejojobacompany.com.au,
+ hydrates and nourishes the skin around the eyes without being too heavy.
+ great under eye makeup, particularly concealer (which looks cakey on my dehydrated eye skin).
+ has a light, fresh cucumber scent.
+ formulated without parabens, propylene glycol, mineral oils, and harsh chemicals.
+ packed with great botanical actives like Jojoba oil, Cucumber Extract, Green Tea, and Macadamia oil, which are all packed with antioxidants.
+ the Jojoba is cold pressed and harvested from the company’s own farm.
+ the soothing and hydrating properties of cucumber extract in this makes it ideal to use as an adjunct to irritating treatments like topical retinols and retin-A.
– If you are looking for something that will dramatically reduce fine lines, this is probably not going to give you the results on it’s own (judging by the ingredients). You probably need to look into stronger actives like Retin-A, 10%+ vitamin C, or DMAE to supplement an everyday eye balm like this one.
Posted by myfunnyvalentine on Feb 25th, 2011 in Skincare | 12115commentsSkin+Care+Saturday%3A+The+Jojoba+Company+Cucumber+%2B+Guava+Firming+Eye+Balm2011-02-25+21%3A05%3A00myfunnyvalentinehttp%3A%2F%2Fmyfunnyvalentineblog.com%2F%3Fp%3D121
Aqua (water), glycerin, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) oil, cetearyl alcohol, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf powder, tocopherol (Vitamin E), panthenol, Macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) seed oil, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil, Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract, cariea papaya (pumpkin) seed oil, Helanthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), caprylic/capric triglyceride,Psidium Guajava (Guava) Fruit Extract, Centella asiatica (gotu kola) extract, Ceteareth-20, Aloe arbensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Punica granatum (pomegranate) seed oil, stearic acid, carbomer, dimethicane, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, alcohol, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium hydroxide
Honestly, I felt like I had raided several hotel rooms. After sorting through what products were in there, I decided to start off with trying the Botanical Hydrating Face Mask, and their eye balm (review coming up).
Description from the website.
An exquisitely silky, hydrating clay mask with a powerful combination of botanical anti-ageing extracts including antioxidant rich gingko biloba, plumping marine collagen, vitamin B5 and organic honey to boost the natural hydrating qualities of golden jojoba. Combines Australian clays with jojoba to renew and rejuvenate all skin types, especially sensitive skins. Not tested on animals.
price: $ 49.95 AUD
availability: www.thejojobacompany.com.au (also see other stockists on the website).
There were only enough samples of the Botanical Hydrating Face Mask for 3 applications, just enough to get me completely hooked on the stuff. I smooth a generous amount on my face after cleansing with my usual Korres 3 in 1 milk proteins cleansing emulsion (my previous review can be found here), leave it on for 30-45mins, and then take it off with warm water and a wash cloth.
+ After each application my skin feels deeply hydrated and ‘plumped’, glowy, poreless, and oh so soft. As I said, I don’t know about long term effects because I only used this product 3x, but I’m loving what I see. I will eventually buy this product when I have some extra $$.
+ the Jojoba oil is cold pressed (any other extraction method reduces antioxidant levels)
+ has a luxurious texture and a lovely smell.
+ free from cheap fillers, paraben, pthalate, mineral oils, propylene glycol.
– it is fairly pricey compared with other brands you might find in a pharmacy.
– (edit) as Sarah noted in the comments, alcohol is one of the top 3 ingredients. This may irritate/dry sensitive skins. (see second edit)
– (second edit): I did a bit more research on alcohols in skin care, and as it turns out there are bad alcohols and good alcohols.
Some of the bad alcohols that you should avoid if possible are ethanol, ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol. Denatured
Good alcohols actually have emollient properties (I know, it’s strange right?) Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Lanolin alcohol.
note: this product sample was provided by PR for consideration.
Optometrist/beauty blogger/crazy cat lady. It's Jenny, not Jennifer. You can also find me on www.straightnochaserblog.com email@example.com
Paula’s Choice Berry & Bright Lip Collection: Review and Swatches
September Beauty Favourites: NARS, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Jojoba Company, and more
MUSQ Skincare Reviewed: Hand Wash and Face & Body Exfoliant
Rouge Bunny Rouge Umber Firefinch Eyeshadow: Swatches, Review, FOTD
Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadows Grey Go-Away Lourie and Blackpepper Jay: Review