Sun Safety Is More Than Just SPF
There are two types of sunscreens on the market these days: chemical and natural. Both have their own pros and cons, and both can be effective when used properly – but that’s the key. Using any form of SPF improperly means you might as well be using no SPF at all, which is something we’d never recommend.
The Canadian Cancer Society lists on their website that sunscreen ought to be applied directly to bare skin, before anything else is applied. Conversely, the SPF products we carry all instruct that they be applied last, after any serums, oils, or moisturizers. So who’s right?
Well, both! It’s just a matter of how chemical and natural SPFs work differently. Let’s break it down.
Chemical SPF works by absorbing harmful UVB rays into the skin, converting it to heat, and then dispersing that heat through the skin all over the body. Natural SPF, on the other hand, works by creating a physical mineral barrier on the surface of the skin, which works as a mirror to reflect both UVA and UVB rays – something called “broad spectrum”protection.
So chemical and natural sunscreens simply work differently – but is there one that works better?
Chemical sunscreens typically require approximately 20 minutes after application to start working. This is because the chemical reaction in the skin that allows this type of SPF to reflect UVB rays takes a while to begin to work after absorbing into the skin. This is also why chemical sunscreens must be applied before any other skincare products – if it doesn’t absorb, it doesn’t work.
Additionally, chemical sunscreens usually contain no UVA protection, unlike natural sunscreens, which offer broad spectrum protection. Natural SPF is also effective immediately after applying, as its protection is provided by a physical barrier. They’re made up of non-toxic,ground-up mineral powders – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Because these minerals sit on the surface of the skin, it is recommended that they be applied last so that other skin products can absorb before the SPF seal is present.
Sweat, water, and physical contact may lessen a natural SPF’s effectiveness over time by removing some of that physical barrier – however, all you need to do is reapply and you’ve immediately rectified any gaps in your protection.
Sun safety is paramount in skincare, as is ensuring that the products entering your body are safe and beneficial. In this sense, knowledge is power – knowing the difference allows you to make informed decisions about the products you purchase for you and for your family.
At Pure+simple, we carry several lines of natural SPFs to ensure that whether you’re at the beach, cottage-bound, or simply going about business as usual, you’ve got the protection you need to keep your skin at its best. And that?
That’s Beautiful Skin, Naturally.