This time of year at CyberDERM, we are always trying to push the message that everyone should be wearing sunscreen, although many of us are currently in the dead of winter. It’s sometimes a hard sell- it is not on people’s radar as something important. Hopefully, our pushes to educate people about the presence of UVA all year round and the need to protect your skin will change that.
|Shedding Some Light on What Makes a Good Sunscreen|
Of course, then you hear horror stories like the aerosol sunscreen recall this summer that has recently been expanded by Health Canada. Banana Boat’s aerosol products were linked this summer with users catching on fire due to a flaw in the valve distributing too much product. This is always a bit of a gray area for us in writing about it- on the one hand we don’t like to bash our competition, that’s not in keeping with our philosophy about being a friendly company to do business with. At the same time- we got into making sunscreens because of some of the flaws we saw in the products out in the market. So for this month’s blog- we are going to share some of what we see as problems with sunscreens and how we tried to fix them in our formulas. If you would like to take what we say with a grain of salt, considering our vested interest, we understand completely and there are no hard feelings!
Our own horror stories:
Like everyone else, I personally appreciate convenience so I will admit to having bought a can of aerosol sunscreen from the pharmacy 3 years ago. I was going to the beach and I wanted something easy to apply to my legs (for my face, I still always use our products every day so that part is covered). I kept it in my purse (new Michael Kors silver satchel) until I felt a wet spot on its underside. It turns out that the cap had come off and sprayed most of the contents of the bottle into my purse. My phone was kaput but that is to be expected. I was shocked though to see that the sunscreen had completely stripped the paint off of my bag! I kept thinking this is meant to sit on your skin? Uggh. Our chemist explained that a lot of the solvents used in these types of products to keep the actives in solution can be pretty heavy duty. My thoughts though- are they meant to dissolve your skin? We had a client who shared a similar story. She was an owner of an apple orchard and kept a bottle of spray sunscreen out for pickers to use on her deck. She noticed though after a while that wooden floorboards of where people would spray their legs was starting to rot away.
To me- those are cautionary tales. We always talk about the dangers of chemicals like oxybenzone, parabens, other Dirty Dozen chemicals, and even avobenzone. Sometimes though, the issues of chemicals being hormone disruptors, or creators of Free Radicals, or even allergens- all seem a bit abstract. It’s not always clear how those issues affect us- sometimes you literally cannot visualize it until it happens to you in some form. These stories on the other hand almost poetically drive home the message that you need to be careful about what you apply to your skin. They make those concepts more real. You wouldn’t spray paint thinner all over your body and so the idea of not using a product that dissolves metallic paint clicks for me.
I also do not want to give the idea that it’s just spray sunscreens that are the issue. Lotions can have similar issues and that is why you really need to take a look at what is in your cosmetics overall. My litmus test is always- would I recommend this product to a pregnant friend? We are so vigilant about what we put on our bodies when we think about how it could affect an unborn child. If we thought that way every day, we would be living on the safe side with nothing to lose. Without being preachy or accusatory, that is what we try to explain to people and hopefully it will click for more and more people.
Go through the products in your bathroom and see whether they pass your test! Also feel free to share with us any of your own stories.
All the best,