When discussing what products to include in a daily skincare regimen, it doesn’t matter whether you have dry, oily, combo or normal skin: there is one product that stands out as a constant:
For all shades of skin tone, sunscreen is touted as one of the most essential elements to protect your skin from the harshness of the world. And while we agree that sunscreen serves an important function for all ages, we’ve noticed there is a lot of misinformation out there.
But first, a history lesson on sunscreen.
The FDA first proposed regulating sunscreen production in 1978. This set up SPF (Sun Protection Factor) testing and measurement of the effectiveness and safety of sunscreen.
The Eighties really brought sunscreen to the forefront of science with more people concentrating on the effects of ultraviolet rays. The 70s and 80s also saw a big rise in the desire to have tanned skin, achieved with the use of reflectors and hours in the sun without protection.
These practices have resulted in a spike in skin cancers and other conditions (such as dark spots and other skin trauma.) In an attempt to avoid a similar fate, consumers have turned to slathering on sunscreen on all exposed skin for any period spent in the sun. And while this may reduce their risk for developing skin cancers in the future, it does not come without its own risks.
It’s not all SUNSHINE and roses with sunscreen. Here are three things to keep in mind next time you apply sunscreen.
1.Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly prevalent in today’s society. This deficiency differs based on skin tones, which the darker skin tones show even higher levels of deficiency.
- Average percentage of the population with Vitamin D deficiency: 41.6%
- Percentage of Hispanics with Vitamin D deficiency: 69.2%
- Percentage of African Americans with Vitamin D deficiency: 82.1%
Those without a college education, those in poor health and obese individuals also have a much higher tendency to be Vitamin D deficient. This deficiency “is linked to some of the important risk factors of leading causes of death in the United States.” ₂
You can increase levels of vitamin D by spending time in the sun! BUT… if you’re applying sunscreen rigorously, while you are reducing your exposure to UVA and UVB rays, you’re also reducing your exposure to Vitamin D!
2. The SPF values can be misleading, increasing your chances of developing skin cancer or aging prematurely. While one may think that by doubling the SPF value, you’re doubling your sun protection (or the amount of time you can spend in the sun), but that’s actually not the case. When using an SPF > 50, the protection is actually only marginally better. ₃
3. The majority of active ingredients used in sunscreen have not been thoroughly tested to determine their hazards. Let's get into that.
What do we know about the ingredients in sunscreen?
The truth? Not a lot.
There are some big names in sunscreen that everyone knows. Those brands have been around for almost 50 years and continue to lead in sales and visibility. Sunscreens on the US market today generally include various combinations of 2-6 active ingredients:
These ingredients didn’t go through the scrutiny of testing that any new products coming to market would. They were grandfathered in without consideration on whether its 100% safe to have the active ingredients absorbed into the bloodstream. ₁
Research has shown that these ingredients circulate in the blood and can be detected on the skin weeks after application. In fact, in a recent FDA test, “all non-mineral sunscreen chemicals [those listed above] absorbed into the body and could be measured in blood after just a single use, and many sunscreen ingredients have been detected in breast milk and urine samples.” ₁
Are there any other options out there?
Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are both rated GRASE (“Generally recognized as safe and effective”) and are found in mineral sunscreens. While mineral sunscreens can appear to be a safer and more natural alternative, they’re often more sticky and likely to leave residue on the skin. Mineral sunscreens, because they are not absorbed into the skin like chemical sunscreens, generally are not very water resistant and can easily come off through swimming or sweating.
Many natural ingredients have an SPF factor (although they cannot technically be labeled with an official SPF rating because they have not been tested.) These ingredients include many things Eden Beauty Skin uses in their products, including:
- Coconut Oil
- Carrot Seed Oil
- Shea Butter
Eden Beauty Skin is a skincare company founded on products that help reduce dark spots - which can be caused from sun exposure. Why don’t they make their own safe sunscreen?
We get asked a lot why we don’t have sunscreen as part of our Extra Strength Dark Spot system. The short answer: regulations.
There is a lot of testing associated with creating and marketing a sunscreen product… and those tests are expensive. Every time a new batch is made, it must be tested and there is no guarantee that the batch will pass the test (but you pay for it either way!)
There is also a backlog of different ingredients, many considered more effective, waiting to be tested by the FDA before they can be used in sunscreens in the US. In fact, many of the most popular sunscreen products used in the US are considered too weak for the European market and do not effectively reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. ₄
While we here at Eden Beauty Skin would love to provide our customers with a sunscreen product that would only aid in reducing the formation of dark spots and sun damage. Until the bottleneck at the FDA is resolved and the guidelines for introducing a new sunscreen to the market are not quite so steep, we unfortunately will not be able to.
While we do not make sunscreen, we do have two entire systems to help reduce the appearance of dark spots and damage from the sun. Our Extra Strength Dark Spot system is an amazing skin care routine that can brighten and even out the sensitive skin on the face in two amazing minutes every night before bed.
Our Bye-Bye Dark Spots Body Kit can do the same thing for your entire body, but because the skin on the body is less sensitive than the face, the ingredients can be even more potent and results viewed more quickly.