Sun and your skin


Sunscreen  FAQ

What does SPF stand for and what does it mean?
SPF represents a sunscreen’s Sun Protection Factor, the level of protection provided from ultraviolet radiation B (UVB) rays. UVB rays affect the outer layer of skin and are commonly known to cause sunburns and contribute to skin cancer, the most common form of all cancers making up approximately 50% of all cancer cases in the United States. A sunscreen’s SPF will not perform uniformly on all people, affected by variables such natural skin tone/type, amount of sunscreen applied, and the intensity of the sun. In general, if you naturally get sunburned in 10 minutes without any protection, then a sunscreen with SPF 20 would extend your sunburn time to 200 minutes and an SPF 30 to 300 minutes.

Are higher SPF products always better?
Not necessarily. Higher SPF products may mislead people into thinking they can stay in the sun longer and give them a false sense of protection; especially considering the majority of people do not use nearly enough sunscreen to reach the full SPF level. The American Cancer Society recommends using sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher and reapplying every 2 hours. Is SPF 15 enough? Generally, the answer is yes because SPF is not a linear scale. Used properly, a sunscreen with a SPF 30 protects you from only about 4% more UVB rays than a SPF 15, but with double the amount of active ingredients. Here’s a quick look:

SPF 15 = protects from 93% of UVB rays
SPF 20 = protects from 95% of UVB rays
SPF 30 = protects from 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 = protects from 98% of UVB rays

Although SPFs higher than 15 only provide incremental increased protection, higher SPF sunscreens may be especially beneficial to certain people, including those with very fair skin, a history of skin cancer or are at high risk of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation,, says that in most cases, "SPFs beyond 50 are unnecessary."

What about UVA rays and Broad Spectrum protection?
SPF levels do not include any information on a sunscreen’s ultraviolet radiation A (UVA) protection. UVA rays are responsible for contributing to premature aging of the skin (skin damage and wrinkles), tanning of the skin, and can cause skin cancer as well. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, are not filtered through glass, and their intensity remains constant regardless of the time of day. Currently, no regulations are in place requiring sunscreens to provide protection against UVA rays. Look for sunscreens that provide “broad spectrum” protection against both UVB and UVA rays. Zinc oxide is one of the very few active ingredients that provide safe and effective broad spectrum protection. Every sunscreen offered on provides broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

What are active ingredients?
Active ingredients are regulated by the FDA and are the ingredients in sunscreens that provide protection from UVA/UVB rays and can be comprised of either chemical compounds, mineral particulates, or a combination of both. Common chemical compounds used in chemical sunscreens include oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate to name a few. The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens consist of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

What is the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and dissipate it as heat before they can harm your skin. The problem with chemical sunscreens is that they can penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the bloodstream. On the other hand, mineral sunscreens (also commonly known as physical sunscreens) create a barrier of protection that sit on top of the skin that absorbs, deflects, and scatters UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens are considered much safer than chemical versions. In particular, zinc oxide cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream and has a significant amount of research and safety data backing it up. Zinc oxide is also the only FDA approved active ingredient in sunscreen approved for use on babies less than 6 months of age.

Is sunscreen safe for babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight. However, there may be times when this is unavoidable and in these instances, small amounts of sunscreen may be used on infants. Zinc oxide is the only FDA approved active ingredient in sunscreen approved for use on babies less than 6 months of age. In fact, it is the same ingredient that you will find used in many diaper creams.

Is it safe to use sunscreen with nanoparticles?
A nanoparticle is a super small unit of measurement which equates to one billionth of a meter. A particle that measure less than 100 nanometers (nm) in size is considered a nanoparticle. Nano-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are of increasing concern among many consumers, since many mineral sunscreens use nano-sized particles to help decrease the “whitening effect” of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which are both white). Aside from the cosmetic benefit, nano particles of zinc and titanium actually improve both protection and coverage. The current peer-reviewed research has shown that nano zinc and titanium do not penetrate the skin. Furthermore, according to EWG, very little, if any, evidence exists that shows nanoparticle zinc oxide and titanium dioxide break the skin barrier. The truth is, however, that the choice is yours. There is a wide range of safe and effective sunscreens to choose from that if you are at all concerned about nanoparticles in your sunscreen simply choose one without.

Can you explain the terms water-resistant and water-proof?
The term water-proof is misleading as there is no sunscreen that is 100% “water-proof” since water will wash off the sunscreen eventually. Any claim that sunscreen is water-proof is false. However, the FDA does have standards/regulations for using the term water-resistant based on the results of a water resistance test. In short, products that retain their original SPF for 40 minutes of water activity may be labeled “Water Resistant” and products that retain their original SPF for 80 minutes of water activity may be labeled as “Very Water Resistant.” All tests must be conducted by a third party.

How much sunscreen should I use and how often?
One of the most common errors with sunscreen is improper use. Many studies have found that people typically do not use enough sunscreen to fully reach a product’s full SPF rating, often only using 25% to 50% of the recommended amount. Consumers should be very liberal with sunscreen application and need to apply a total of one ounce (about a palm full or shot glass) of sunscreen to exposed skin, enough to create an initial thin film/barrier. It is commonly recommended to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or more often as needed after swimming/towel drying and excessive sweating.

Will sunscreen provide all the protection I need?
No, the use of sunscreen alone is not enough to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing hats, sunglasses, sun protective clothing, and limiting your sun exposure (especially during the hours of 10am and 4pm as recommended by the American Cancer Society) should be utilized whenever possible. Sun protective clothing is very dependable because it is not prone to user error and will not wear/wash off like sunscreens will.

At Sweetsation Therapy, we're dedicated to providing quality, safe solutions to all of our customers' personal care needs. We're also dedicated to providing you with the best shopping experience possible, so if you have any suggestions or comments on how we can improve our store for you, please send us an email at


Sunscreen: is still your skin’s best friend.

No matter how old or young we are, we all love the sun and its warm golden rays, that makes us fee lgood, but most of us already know that sun rays are the worst enemy of our skin and cause irreversible damage in the long run. Overexposure to the sun speeds up aging of the skin and the development of age spots, wrinkles and freckles. You’ve heard this advice a million times, but there is simply just no way around, but to apply sunscreen lotion. There is a wide range of face and body lotions of various degree of protection and various sun shielding ingredients in them. For true sun protection, nothing less than SPF 30 is advisable, because only with a SPF 30 you can expect to get 6-8 hours of sun protection. And for a full day protection you might want to consider something with an SPF count of 50-60. Having said that it is still recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours if you're engaged into sports that make you sweat, as it may cause removal of sunscreen. Most women inclined to think that they have to apply sunscreen only during the summer months, but you must understand that the sun rays remain the same strength all year through, even though they don't feel hot and burning during the cold time. The winter sun is as damaging as the summer sun, so you just can’t afford to skip out on the sunscreen in the winter, just to put to waste all your beauty efforts during summer.
Now speaking of the sunscreen choices. There are many wonderful products on the market. And there are just as many of the ones I would suggest to avoid. This is where I would recommend to do some research and find the one you're comfortable with. Cheap is not necessarily "a great find" as it may contain harmful chemicals, like oxybenzone. 90% of popular sun defense products contain it, unfortunately. There is another issue has been surfacing lately. It's the topic of nano particles, specifically targeting Titanium and Zinc as the leading natural sunscreen ingredients . Some sources claim that Titanium Dioxide is a photoactivator that can react with other sunscreen chemicals and potentiate their free radical production or their cancer forming abilities. Looking deeper into the issue it becomes pretty evident that the various "tidbits" of this information on the internet seem to loop amongst each other, referring to the same body of articles, and then using each other's sites as sources of reference. Back and forth. In essence the same thing is being said without any new information or research, just more people are quoting each other from the same document and causing a lot of hysteria. Research and testing on lab animals (rats) shows that after daily exposure to nano particles of Titanuim Dioxide for 2-4 weeks, it caused photocatalisys within the cell and DNA damage. When Titanium Dioxide particles are uncoated and micronized (nano), particles can penetrate the skin through pores as well as be inhaled (in powder form) may causing the damage. Coarse or fine particles of titanium dioxide (NON-NANO, that may leave slight to moderate whit-ish residue) are safe and effective at deflecting and absorbing UV light, protecting the skin, as they do not penetrate, but consumers should avoid using products with micronized mineral pigments, either in sunscreens or color cosmetics.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.