Category Archives: best sunscreen

An Image from our Old Website when a softer look and feel emerged

What’s New with Us. Turns Out a Lot.

Are Hearts Are Full with the Changes Upon Us.

Are Hearts Are Full with the Changes Upon Us.

What’s New with Us. Turns Out a Lot.

We’re in for some exciting changes this fall- ones that we’ve been prepping for these past several years.

What kind of changes are we talking about?

6 new products, including 2 new sunscreens.  2 new packaging changes. 2 new brands. 1 new identity.

1 New Beginning.

There is a lot of unpacking to do in those couple of sentences and we promise to reveal things as we can.  In the interim, I thought I’d take a little time in this blog post to give some history and context about these upcoming changes. For today, let’s start with…

1 New Identity.

We’re actually in our tenth year of operations and we’ve definitely evolved over the years.  Have you ever seen those articles that show what companies like Google or Amazon looked like when they first started? I always find them fascinating because it’s easy to forget the history of a brand and the little stepping stones it took to get to where it is today.

Our First Look- A little Edgier Indeed

Our First Look- A little Edgier Indeed

In the beginning, we were all about “Less Chemicals. More Efficacy. Please”.  I thought I was pretty savvy with the added ‘please’, in italics no less. How Canadian of us.  Our thinking at the time was to move away from the cosmetics with 40-50 ingredient lists.  We knew we could deliver products that were simplified at their core but delivered efficacy so to speak because we chose great actives and used them at high concentrations.  The green beauty movement was just nascent in early 2008 but we were already starting to think about the massive amounts of chemicals that people were being exposed to every day.  Both my parents were concerned- my mother as a dermatologist and just seeing how sensitized people’s skin became.  My father as a retired high risk obstetrician and endocrinologist and examining everything through the litmus test of safety of whether a pregnant woman should be using it.

We actually started with three products, including our AM Hydrating Whip.  We didn’t market it as a sunscreen at the time but it was the earliest iteration of our current Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25. People’s response to it was overwhelming- they loved the aesthetics of it and the way it made their skin look.  What ultimately converted people though was the story behind sunscreens.  Once they learned about the gap in safety and efficacy between many commercially available sunscreens and ours- people could not believe it was the first time they were hearing this story and they wanted to share it with everyone they knew.

An Image from our Old Website when a softer look and feel emerged

An Image from our Old Website when a softer look and feel emerged

Four years later, while working on our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30, we realized we were on to something.  We had built an expertise in making sunscreens that was unparalleled in the industry and we had the will and the way to continue.  Hence, we became CyberDERM-The Sunscreen Company TM.  By 2016, we had 5 cosmeceuticals and 2 Sun Whips that could provide the staples in skincare that any professional could recommend to their clientele.

Our Current Look and Name

Our Current Look and Name

We’d also been working behind the scenes on continuing our research in developing the absolute best sunscreens in the world.  That was our ethos and what we’ve been working at non-stop.  We’ve developed a sunscreen with the highest potential UVA protection factor from any that we’ve seen.  Unfortunately, until Health Canada and the FDA approve the widespread use of Tinosorb S and M, that formula will not be launching in North America.

We’ve also developed a patent pending innovation that we think is truly a game-changer.  Launching in all of our new sunscreen formulas going forward, we’ve developed a proprietary way of dramatically increasing the UVA protecting factor of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens.  We’re calling it Bio UVA Ultra- best of all it uses a simple, Ecocert certified organic material that is sustainably developed and controversy free.

We’re launching two new sunscreens this fall under a new brand name.  These beauties are worth their own post in its entirety so we won’t go into much more detail for now.  With all of our efforts in developing sunscreens and with the introduction of two new brands, we thought it was time to go all out and make it clear what we are about.  Going forward, we are going to be known as The Sunscreen Company TM.  As The Sunscreen Company TM we can’t wait to present to you three brands made with love and fourteen products full of protection and care.  Thanks for sticking with us through this transformation.

All the best,


sunscreen, dangers, oxybenzone,

Sunscreen sprays, burns, dead coral and more: what we’ve heard in the news about sunscreens

blog image July 2016Things We’ve Heard About Sunscreen This Month:

Why is Sunscreen Bad for Coral Reefs?

 It turns out the UV filter Oxybenzone is hard on more than just our bodies, it can be absolutely devastating to the coral reefs that span our oceans. While deeply saddening , it’s not necessarily news. If you recall from our blog post from The Sunscreen Doc, click here to read, there have been signs up in Hawaii telling people to wash off their sunscreen from a long time ago. This photo was taken back in 2006.

Sunscreens Why is Oxybenzone so detrimental to the reefs? Oxybenzone is a photo-toxicant, meaning it’s detrimental effects are triggered by sunlight (making it an odd choice for a sunscreen ingredient). In very small concentrations, Oxybenzone was shown to disrupt the living larval forms of coral by reducing their motility, ossifying their exo-skeleton and causing its DNA to mutate. The overall effect was to exacerbate bleaching of the reef, something that is linked to rising sea temperatures, which is the ultimate death knell for the living organism.

Swimmers (but also all sunscreen users) should look for Oxybenzone free products but can also use sun protective clothing to reduce the amount of sunscreen they have to wear overall.

2nd degree burns on boy after using SPF 50 sunscreen

A mom in the UK posted pics of her son’s 2nd degree burns after spending 5 hours at the beach but after having religiously used sunscreens all day. The family had been using a popular sunscreen spray marketed especially for kids by Banana Boat. While there are multiple versions of the kids spray formula, we have found some versions that make it very clear as to what could have happened.

Banana boat ingredientsThis version shown here, has numerous potential issues with it (including the use of parabens in the non-medicinals). The most obvious issue is that it combines Avobenzone with Octinoxate, which is somewhat of a rookies mistake. It’s a well established fact that octinoxate degrades Avobenzone when exposed to sunlight. The end result is a sunscreen that loses the ability to protect against UVA as the Avobenzone degrades but then also against UVB as the octinoxate begins to deteriorate as well. Click here to read more about this well documented phenomenon. Fortunately, it’s not one that we see very often now so it’s astonishing to find it in a sunscreen for babies.

The fact that this sunscreen was an aerosol spray I believe compounds the problem and you can read more about that in the next section. This sunscreen also is just generally a poor choice due to the potential issue of endocrine disrupting chemicals with Avobenzone, un-encapsulated octinoxate, the varios salates and the parabens included in the non-medicinals. It’s all around a poor sunscreen but it’s all made worse by the fact that it’s marketed towards kids.

Aerosol Sunscreen Might Not be as Safe as you think

Finally, spray sunscreens currently exist in a nether-region in US regulation. The FDA has mandated as of 2011 that they would impose a ban on all spray sunscreens unless manufacturers could prove their safety. Spray sunscreens are still available until such ban is actually enforced but the concerns against their safety center around inhalation risk but also as to efficacy when it comes to applying them sufficiently and uniformly. Anecdotally, before my days of working at CyberDERM, I purchased a can of spray sunscreen and threw it in my purse to have on hand throughout the summer days. Unfortunately, the can leaked and pooled in the bottom off my silver coloured leather bag. After, quasi-melting my phone and I-pod (was back in 2010 and my beloved I-Pod Shuffle was toast!), the sunscreen also had stripped the silver paint of my bag. Most spray sunscreens use alcohol as the main solvent to solubilize their filters, which is how it was able to dissolve paint. It’s unsavoury to imagine that sitting on your skin all day.

sunscreen, sun burn, sun safety

What is Wrong with Today’s Sunscreens

Why is there panic and confusion in the marketplace?

The recent article from Vancity Buzz with the headline, “Neutrogena is the number one sunscreen to avoid, says the EWG” that we shared on our Facebook page has absolutely gone viral. It was shared over 480,000 times. I didn’t think much of it when I posted it- it’s essentially a reiteration of the EWG’s Annual Sunscreen Report from this past May. It’s also the same complaint that the EWG has been making year after year and it’s one that I agree with for the most part.

neutrogena, toxic, sunscreen

Image from VanCity Buzz Article, Neutrogena is the Number One Sunscreen to Avoid

For the first time a picture of some of the most popular sunscreens in the market appeared in a story with a big red warning sign. I know a lot of parents especially were crestfallen when they saw a brand they had been using on their kids since forever. Before starting work at CyberDERM, I’d used many of those so-called no-no brands my whole life (that is until an aerosol spray version leaked in my purse and took off the paint!). A lot of others were outright mad by the article, claiming it was fear mongering and based on pseudo science.

I thought I’d share my take on the article and a couple of other comments that I’ve seen with similar articles. I’ve been immersed in the world of sunscreens for 7 years now. I’m neither a scientist nor a physician and I’m obviously involved with a competitor’s brand so feel free to take my opinion with as many grains of salt as you see fit.

The deal with ‘chemical’ filters

I always put the term ‘chemical’ in quotation marks because this distinction makes technical people roll their eyes. Technically, everything is a chemical and not all chemicals or synthetics as most people are intending to say are bad for us. Other times, the term physical blocker is used to describe mineral based filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to differentiate from those that are meant to absorb UV light. That distinction is not purely accurate either since many of the mineral filters now do some absorbing and scattering of UV light.

Within our R&D department, we prefer the term particulate-based filters vs. non-particulate based filters. Particulate-based filters include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, encapsulated filters that are larger than a micron, and Tinosorb S and M. Non-particulate based filters are most of the conventional ones that you would see in mass-market products and include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, octinoxate (non-encapsulated version).

The EWG is exceptionally critical of oxybenzone. We’d argue that all of these filters have potential issues because they are smaller than the 500 Dalton threshold. Dalton is a measurement of something’s molecular weight and it’s well established that anything below 500 Daltons can enter through the skin into our bloodstream. For many people, they simply don’t want to use something that enters the body if they have the choice.

There is then the issue of whether these filters mimic hormones in our body. The answer is that there is no definitive answer at this point. It would be difficult to create a study that would give a definitive answer so I believe you have to fall back on your personal comfort level of risk. I would say that the argument that only small amounts are ever detected in human studies misses a crucial point. Dosage based arguments for endocrine disruptors don’t hold up since it’s also well established that dosage and effect are not linearly correlated in this regard. In fact, smaller doses of endocrine disruptors can have a disproportionately large effect, sometimes even larger than large doses. The WHO report from 2012 made this quite clear.

sunscreen, sun burn, sun safety

Sunscreens Can Burn You in More Ways than You think

Why would the FDA and Health Canada approve something if it’s not safe?

The FDA and Health Canada have both admitted that they are behind in reviewing the sunscreen monograph. Recently, in the US, the PASS coalition put the FDA in the hot seat for being a decade behind in reviewing submissions. The Sunscreen Innovation Act was passed in late 2014 and the onus was set on the FDA to make some timely decisions. The FDA instead has recently said that the new filters under review require a substantial amount more of clinical data to prove their safety. A part of the issue, they would like exhaustive studies to show that these newer filters are not absorbed into the body or pose any health risks if they are. They dismiss the real market use of these filters in other regulatory territories like the EU as not being sufficient enough.

I take exception with their argument on multiple levels but I also find it frustrating that they are willing to block new ingredients based on this premise, but they are not willing to review current filters by the same criteria. For some unknown reason, current filters seemed to have been grandfathered into acceptance and are past the point of further review- despite mounting evidence.

By blocking some of the safest and least controversial UV filters, like the Tinosorbs (which are very large particulate-based filters), the FDA and Canada are forcing consumers to use filters that aren’t as effective and with iffy safety findings. I also think it’s worth mentioning that the FDA and Health Canada have not put a complete ban on these new ingredients in question. In the US, L’Oreal paid for the very expensive process of getting one of their patented filters approved by the FDA. It’s just restricted for use by one brand for the exclusive use in their La Roche-Posay formula. (Side note- by expensive I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars). In Canada, you can find 9 formulas that contain Tinosorb S and M. These companies again though had to pay for an outside monograph review process (a process that is much cheaper than the US version, costing roughly $50-60 K, about 25-50 times more expensive than the normal approval method) to have formula specific usage of these ingredients. Therefore, it’s not to say that the FDA or Health Canada think these new filters completely unsafe that they can’t come into their respective markets at all- there is just a hefty entrance fee.

Finally, I’ve also seen mention that if a sunscreen has the seal of approval from one of the various dermatology or skin cancer organizations, doesn’t that vouch for their safety. Again, there is an issue with money. Most of these seals cost in the $5000-$10,000 range for licensing fees and the criteria are otherwise relatively lax. When it comes to specific review of UV filters, most concerns deal with whether something is an allergen. While oxybenzone and avobenzone are both considered allergens, they occur infrequently enough that it’s not considered to be a real concern. The idea of endocrine disruption isn’t taken seriously yet by these medical communities. I’ve heard word though that another, potentially quite explosive piece of research about some of these filters is set to be published in a very credible medical journal. We’ll see what it ends up saying and how it’s received in the next couple of months… Yes, that’s what passes for gossip around our offices- we’re the Gossip Girl of sunscreens. Really and truly though, I think it will shake things up so prepare for another bout of panic and confusion.

Thanks as always for staying tuned with us. Will keep you posted.

Best regards,


pregnancy, sunscreen

Sunscreen and Pregnancy

For those who don’t know our company backstory, CyberDERM was created by one of its founding physicians to make sunscreens that were safe enough for pregnant women to use every day. The story goes that my father, Dr. Denis Dudley, a double board certified endocrinologist and OB/GYN specializing in high-risk pregnancy was asked by a patient about sunscreens. It would have been the early nineties and his honest answer was that he did not know. Fortunately, his lovely and very talented wife (and my mother) was a dermatologist so with the help of an amazing chemist as their partner- they began the decade long process of researching skincare and specifically sunscreens and its effect on our health and well-being.

pregnancy, sunscreen

Me at 19 Weeks Pregnant

I came to the company in 2008 and started with getting our first formula into a bottle that is now known as Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25. Fast forward 7 years, and I’m now in the position of being pregnant with my first child. Our company ethos has all of a sudden become extremely personal. I know first hand what it’s like to stand in the pharmacy aisle, scouring ingredients of everything from Tums to shampoo and questioning whether it’s ok to use.

Pregnancy has the most stringent of all life stages when it comes to reconsidering everything that is part of our daily life. I’ve personally been reading the MotherRisk website like its my newfound manual to life. I appreciate how balanced and informative it is because there is a plentitude of information on the internet. I’ve learned forums are not the best source as you get a lot of anecdotal stories that’s often contradictory.

So, what’s the story with sunscreen in pregnancy? Should you be using it and what should you avoid?

I think you can guess that I’m going to say, yes, you should use it and you should be even more careful about applying it than before. Melasma is a real and very frustrating condition. Unlike what I read in some pregnancy forums, it does not just resolve always after pregnancy. Nor is it as simple as whisking away to your doctor for a light peel or laser treatment. I’ve helped first hand women suffering from melasma. Most are very self-conscious about it. Most have not found a ‘silver-bullet’ to treat it, even in our sister clinic that has 20 light based ‘lasers’, access to any peel and/or topical. It’s a process treating it- a slow and deliberate one. Most once they get it- are plagued with the prevention/treatment dance for the rest of their lives.

What to look for in Sunscreen?

Avoid oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene and non-encapsulated octinoxate and any formula that contains parabens in its non-medicinal ingredients. That’s probably not a shocking recommendation if you’ve used our products for a while. We’ve been long time critics of oxybenzone especially. I’ve based that on it being a photo-allergen and since 2012, I’ve based it on the recommendations of the WHO report on Endocrine Disruptors. The report dismisses the idea that small doses of any potential endocrine disruptor can’t have a large impact on our health. It also states that fetal exposure, as well as childhood and adolescent exposure, are critical windows that can have life long effects. In simple terms- why risk it?

In pregnancy, we use the litmus test of whether a substance is absorbed into your body and whether levels are detectable. Oxybenzone clearly does get absorbed into the body- as confirmed by the CDC study that stated it was in 97% of a random sample of 2000 Americans. Avobenzone, octocrylene and non-encapsulated octinoxate all have smaller molecular weights than 500 Daltons. 500 Daltons is the generally accepted threshold for determining whether something can get absorbed past our outermost dead layer of skin.

Encapsulating smaller molecules in materials like silica can make them much larger-well past the 500 Dalton threshold. Our encapsulated octinoxate is roughly in the 5-7 micron range, making it act like a large particle based filter. Encapsulation can be a huge innovation in the future where even two normally incompatible ingredients, like avobenzone and octinoxate, could be combined in the same formula with no risk of photo-degradation. It’s unlikely though that we will see these new technologies on masse in commercially available sunscreens as they tend to be much more expensive than their non-encapsulated versions. If you see any of the above filters (oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene)- you can most likely assume they are not encapsulated at this present moment unless they state specifically otherwise.  If you’re not sure, reach out and ask the brand.

Of course, once you remove these filters as options, you’re not left with many alternatives if you live in North America. In the future, I hope to see two European ingredients Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M get approval in North America. These are large particle based filters that offer excellent UVA/UVB protection. They’ll be a huge boon to our sunscreen market if and when they come. Due to their large particle size and excellent photo-stability, they are as controversy-free as I’ve seen of any sunscreen ingredient.

Until then, you are essentially left with zinc oxide as your main preferred ingredient. You need at least 10% of zinc oxide in your product and in pregnancy, I’d recommend to stick to higher concentrations for the added UVA protection. To me, the issue of nano versus non-nano is a bit of a red herring. It’s also well accepted that in the world of sunscreens, nano particles are huge compared to traditional low molecular weight filters. If you are still worried, repeated studies have shown that it does not go past the stratum corneum. You can look for the term non-nano on your label but since definitions of what constitutes nano vary- what might be non-nano to some could be nano to others. As proof of that, although we use the same form of zinc oxide in both formulas- it’s considered non-nano by one division in Health Canada but considered nano by another.

Zinc oxide can be combined with another filter like titanium dioxide or an encapsulated version of another non-mineral filter. Just remember- they are a bonus so to speak in terms of added protection mostly within the UVB range but the essential is to look for a high concentration of zinc oxide for truly balanced protection. Combine daily use with other sun protective habits like glasses, hats and seeking shade and you’ll be a healthy and happy mama-to-be in the sun protection department.

Clarins Spa, Raffles Hotel, facial review

Exploring French Luxury Beauty Products

This past May, I had the chance to visit Paris in full spring bloom.  I have very fond memories from my days studying at Sciences Po but my visit this time round had a different bent.  CyberDERM, in it’s earliest days, took a lot of inspiration from the big medical based brands like La Roche-Posay, Avène, Vichy and more.  They were the brands of the 90’s that had a lot of credibility and were favoured by dermatologists.  We have different formulating philosophies now though since many of these larger French luxury beauty brands have been slower to listen to consumer requests for controversy free ingredients.  I was interested to see on this trip what did French offerings look like today.  What were French consumers wanting and how were brands delivering?  I was asking these questions with the purpose of seeing whether CyberDERM would ever fit.  Would it be possible for the cultural beauty exchange to go the other way with a Canadian import into a French market?  There does seem to be a whisper of an opportunity, one we will continue to explore.  In the meantime, here are the highlights from my trip.

french beauty brands, Hermes

French Aesthetics but chock full of No-No ingredients

The Pharmacy Culture:

All of the French brands I mentioned took root through the French Pharmacy/Parfumerie system.  I capitalize it because if you have ever visited France, you’ll know theirs is a system that has its own unique flavour.  I know North American devotees who flock to the French pharmacies whenever they visit in search for those elusive beauty brands they cannot find anywhere else.  I feel they differ from our North American versions in being more curated.  Space is always a premium in the EU I get the sense that customers feel the brands from these beauty emporiums are also effective.  They also normally have the ineffable french quality of a certain understated classicism.  I always find it a treat to shop the sunscreens since the EU has access to filters that we do not have like the Tinosorb M and S and ethylhexyl triazone (all of which might pair beautifully with zinc oxide for incredible protection).  I also picked up a sunscreen in oil format*, which I think is very interesting.  I’m up for any format of sunscreen that increases people’s compliance in actually applying it everyday. I am not a fan of aerosol sunscreens since the alcohol used as a solvent is really hard on skin (and once stripped paint off of my purse)

CyberDERM, sunscreen, french brands

The French Pharmacy System

but a nourishing oil might be of interest. Again, we might start playing around to see if zinc oxide could be used in a similar format. *These are sunscreens with actual substantial filters in them, not tanning accelerators with a token SPF.

The status of sunscreens in the Gallic nation:

Being “the sunscreen company”, I was also of course interested to see what sunscreen use was like here.  Isn’t this where sunscreen use was born? Ok, perhaps not but I’ve always considered French women especially to be early adopters of the skincare regimen that included regular sunscreen use.  Certainly, there are a multitude of options in the above mentioned pharmacies.  Zinc is not popular here though- I didn’t  see any options other than Skinceuticals (which is an American import now owned by L’Oreal).  I thought for the real scoop I should go to the best beauty experts in the ‘biz’.  I stopped by Birchbox France to have a chat with two lovely BF editors.  I was surprised to learn from them that they felt women of their generation still relegated sunscreen use to their beach bag.  Also while there was a growing concern about ingredients in personal care products, this didn’t necessarily translate into an awareness of the controversies over certain sunscreen actives. We all agreed though that aesthetics are supremely important.  No amount of fact filled education would change

Birchbox May, France

The May Box from Birchbox co-opted by Fiance for bedside table

consumer behaviour if not accompanied with a proverbial spoonful of sugar (i.e. a pleasant user experience). Could our Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25 be just the ticket?  It was a question that we all promised to consider and I continue to be a huge fan of the Birchbox FR team and concept.  I even got a treat in getting their gorgeous May box.

And finally THE FACIAL:

Here is one slightly dirty little secret, in all my years in the industry and being a daughter of a dermatologist- I’ve never had a facial. I’ve had fotofacials.  I’ve had medi-facials and peels.  I’ve just never understood the concept of a facial.  How effective can the layering of products be in one session?  Is it meant to be relaxing and effective?  Is this something I really need?  I know facial devotees would say I am missing the point.  I may not need one but most want them.  I still think I would rather have a fotofacial from a qualified professional at least once a year.  However, I knew I couldn’t speak with authority without trying one.  I therefore went to the one of the Top Rated Spa’s (in the world), the Clarins Spa My Blend in the Raffles Hotel Le Royal Monceau.  First, I will say that no one can beat a french spa for atmosphere. I’m sorry to say that I was too shy to take pictures- that would have felt rude and intrusive so you will have to rely on my description. The hotel is a beautiful concoction of panelled wood and elegant drapery.  You descend to the basement and the spa beckons like a movie’s vision of heaven.  It’s all white and backlit with long corridors. All of which puts you in a very calm and relaxed state of mind.  I sipped fresh pressed juice and munched on a selection of nuts and fruit while waiting. I poured over Dr. Clarins musings on skincare and women’s needs.  I was greeted by a sweet and down to earth facialist, who paid me the immense quality of thinking I was twenty and not

Clarins Spa, Raffles Hotel, facial review

The beautiful Lobby of the Royal Monceau

in need of an ‘anti-aging’ component to my treatment just yet.  The facial itself was like being wrapped in warm, white cocoon.  There were no extractions (yeah!), just repeated layerings of some of Clarins Professional products.  I loved the idea that part of the facial was tailored to my needs on the spot with specialized additives through the stages of exfoliation, gommage, hydration and calming.  All in all- an exceptional experience (with macarons served at the end)- I took lots of notes and inspiration in case we open another retail/spa space in the future.



What makes our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30 great.

We always talk about how great a sunscreen is in terms of protection.  However, with the advent of BB and CC creams, consumers have thrown out the challenge to brands to make their products good for people’s skin outside of what they do against UVB/UVA.  This is not to throw shade on our Every Morning Sun Whip, which as a mother loves her children- I love equally.  However- I thought I would highlight some of the other ways that our Simply Zinc actually benefits your skin aside from its impressive protective track record.

The Benefits of Zinc Oxide

Remember that other type of Zinc Oxide that we were lovingly smeared with as tender infants?  Zinc oxide made excellent, if not glamourous, ‘butt paste’ because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.  It also a known wound healer, which is why those who are zinc deficient can have slower healing times.  We often talk about zinc helping maintain a healthy skin barrier- however, on its own it’s not occlusive.  It’s also meant to be antiseptic and regulate sebum- making it acceptable for acneic skin.  With all of this in mind- it’s quite the miracle mineral.

The Benefits of Olive Oil

We get mixed reactions when we say our Simply Zinc has extracts of olive oil as our base for the formula.  Some automatically think this means the product will be too rich for them.  Others are excited by the prospect having heard so many good things about oils for the face.  Our extract of olive oil that we source from Milan actually comes in the form of white flakes and does not look like the olive oil you would purchase in a grocery store.  Our olive oil extract is an Eco-certified product that we use as our emulsifier, meaning it allows the oily phase to mix with the water phase of the formula.  It makes for a beautiful product since it’s 100% compatible to the skin and mimics our natural lipid structure. Like zinc oxide, it also forms a breathable barrier that promotes our own natural hydration mechanism. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and stable anti-oxidant, which is why we use this same emulsifier as the base for 4 out of 7 of our current products.  Our emulsifier happens to have its own beautiful and very interactive website so don’t take our word for it- click here to read all about its magical properties.

The Benefits of Tetrapeptides
There has been a lot of fancy talk about peptides and what they can do for the skin.  It goes part and parcel with what we hear about in terms of how important protein is for the healthy functioning of our body.  It’s odd- if you Google Image search for tetrapeptides, pictures of JLo come up.  She certainly does have beautiful pinch-able skin and perhaps at some point she was a devotee of peptides.  She is a great example of what they can do for you- they are essential in the collagen and elastin fibers that are prevalent in young skin.  Our form of peptides keep those essential fibers healthy and intact.  We included it in our Simply Zinc and our H20 Hydration so that people could get a daily dose of it, truly making them anti-aging products.  The image to the right provides some pretty concrete evidence as to its efficacy.  Imagine a sunscreen that helps improve the look of wrinkles at the same time- well, you don’t have to, it exists!
As you can see, we took great care in combining the elements that went into our Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30.  From every perspective, it’s a product that is working to protect and improve your skin.  
Finally, a couple tips on using it:
  1. Your skin should be cleansed and well hydrated before applying.  Zinc Oxide does tend to bind with dead skin so make sure that you have an adequate exfoliation routine in place. 
  2. Some like to apply to slightly damp skin to help spread it. If you happen to use a setting anti-oxidant spray (we love jane iredale hydration sprays), apply your first spritz now.
  3. Emulsify the product by rubbing it in your palms before applying it to the face.  
  4. The product does take a full minute to absorb into your skin.  This is related to the high concentration of zinc oxide, which is a solid and relatively large particle.  Fortunately, while you are waiting, the product is still matte and completely transparent unlike other high zinc alternatives.
  5. Apply your usual make-up after as per your usual method.  Our products pair exceptionally well with high quality mineral make-ups like jane iredale since you are simply layering another mineral on top of another.  
  6. Enjoy and use it everyday!

Best regards,


Teenage Girls Burned by Indoor Tanning Epidemic

Should have used their Simply Zinc.
The Real Effects of Tanning: Case in Point.

Our founder and my father, Dr. Denis Dudley, just entered the world of blogging.  Say hello to The Sunscreen Doc’s blog.  In reading it, one fact from an info-pic really shook me to the core.  Skin cancer is the number one cancer killer of women aged 25-30.  It prompted me to turn to the always helpful Google Trends, a site that helps you see what Google searches are on the rise.  I was shocked to see that the search for ‘safe indoor tanning’ was on the rise, and upon Googling those key words, I stumbled on to these disturbing facts from the Center for Disease Control:
  • 21% of high school girls report using a tanning bed
  • 30% of white high school girls in the US use tanning beds 

For all of you with teenager daughters, that is anywhere from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 girls in your daughter’s class frequently using these beds (on average 28 sessions per year). My first thought is that one some level, parent’s are either passively encouraging this behavior or at least tolerating it.  With kids of a high school age, parents have some measure of control in terms of their kids engaging in risky and harmful behavior.  Unlike with smoking or drinking, it is pretty difficult to hide tanning if teens are coming home two shades darker after school.  We are starting to see most regional lawmakers invoking some measure to ban or restrict underage tanning.  Hopefully, most parents will start to equate it with other illegal under age activity and make it a hard ‘no’ in their households. 
How to we persuade our daughters?
However, without an element of education or persuasion, these daughters are at risk as soon as they are of legal age and leave home.  It seems odd to me that there is not more work done on how to persuade youth of the apparent dangers in the same way that we do for smoking, drugs, alcohol and teen sex.  Having said that, we have not found a magic bullet to countering these other behaviours so maybe psychology is overrated. 
In trying to go back to my own teenage self, I would think that vanity has to be one way of possibly winning the argument.  I know that smoking always lost its allure for me after my mother’s stories of the purse-string type of wrinkles that it can cause.  Youth may not understand mortality but the image of your youth being sucked out of your skin is quite compelling.
The question then is what type of beauty standard is most helpful to espouse.  Should we encourage kids to love their palest version of themselves? Or, should we show them the potential with faux bronzers?  The Archives of Dermatology, a study by the University of Massachusetts handed out sunless self-tanners while giving sun education and showed a decrease of 33% in the control group of sunbathing.   However, another study showed that those who were given sunless tanning lotions were more likely to engage in indoor tanning beds, sunbathing and less likely to use sunscreen. Certainly, some were afraid of using sunscreen with their spray tans for fear of blotchiness [ Editors Note: A lotion or cream sunscreen like our Simply Zinc Sun Whip or Every Morning Sun Whip should not dissolve your tan.  The alcohol used as a solvent in spray sunscreens could.]  Clearly sun education has to be part of the conversation.  I also think it is important to show how make-up and skincare can give bright and beautiful skin no matter your choice. 

I also wonder whether the more young adults adopt a healthy and holistic lifestyle, you might see behaviours like this being curbed.  Organic food, yoga and just an overall health consciousness had not emerged when I was a teenager.  However, as Millennials start to have kids and raise them on a kale rich existence, maybe the ‘body is my temple’ mentality will have an impact.  Perhaps, it is only a passing trend.  Or, maybe it is a lifestyle where inconsistencies like sipping on a almond butter smoothie while in the tanning bed can exist.  
One more scary fact for the day: the risk of melanoma is 75% greater for those who use tanning beds before the age of 30.  Clearly, something has to change and it is worth talking about it now.

As always, share your thoughts with us.  Is this something you are worried about for your family?

All the best,

Sara Dudley


Amazing Review of our Simply Zinc Sun Whip

I don’t know how we missed this post this summer but the very so stylish Aleeza of Stylish and Literate posted about the merits of our Simply Zinc Sun Whip.  We are so happy that she gave us her sign of approval.

Big thanks to Aleeza and definitely check out the rest of her very well written blog.

Simply Zinc Sun Whip and other sunscreens
Photo credit: Stylish and Literate: Simply Zinc and others

Stylish&Literate: Summer Sun Defense: Hello global warming! The weather has been so inconsistent in the past couple of weeks with snow,  heat waves, thunderstorms… but …


The One-Year Wedding Plan to Matrimonial Beauty

It’s officially less than one year before my wedding is set to take place in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It’s currently peak wedding season so everyday I get bombarded by tips and tricks from e-zines and newsletters on wedding day beauty.  While you may not or can’t afford to indulge in all of them, here are some options for the bride who is a bit of a beauty-phile to pick and choose from.
Simply Zinc Sun Whip for wedding beauty
9 month countdown to Wedding Beauty

I am due for a haircut but now is also a good time to sit with my stylist and formulate a plan for maximizing hair growth so that I get the long layered look I would like for the big day.  I do not want to walk around for the next year looking like a Wookie with split ends so it will be about finding a good balance between somewhat regular trims and growing my hair out.  I also want to get a hair-piece for added fullness the day of so a quick conversation now will help me know roughly what length and type will be best. (Editor’s Note: My stylists initial recommendations were to keep my hair in peak condition by heat styling the least amount possible- bought Kevin Murphy’s Dry Shampoo to make blowouts last longer).

Cost: Kevin Murphy Dry Shampoo $30 +/-

October is routinely my foto-facial month so this is not anything different.  If you slipped during the summer and got even a faint amount of colour, it pays to use September to get back to your natural state.  You can then do any laser procedure safely.  There are actual studies that show routine foto-facials help to create new collagen and elastin fibers so I think everyone should make them at least an annual maintenance item.  I’m also hoping to clear up any extra rogue freckles or broken capilliaries.  If you have a lot of uneven brown or red tones, it is a good idea to schedule two foto-facials about 6-8 weeks apart so that on your second treatment you can get even more aggressive. 

Cost: Foto-facials $350 +/- per session
I have one little acne scar on my left cheek from when I was 16 that has always kind of bothered me. Most people probably do not notice it but while I am obsessing over my physical appearance this might be the time to once and for all buff that little guy right out.  I would only trust this machine to the most skilled practioners hands but a fully ablative laser will just buff the scar away permanently, as opposed to dermal fillers as a temporary solution.  I would only contemplate doing this far, far in advance of the big day since it will take sometime to heal and you always want some ‘goof-proof’ time as I like to say. 

Cost: Hard to say

In Toronto, we are lucky to have a great selection of salons that focus solely on hair extensions.  I’m 99% sure that I will get a custom fit clip in made for me- at $300+ it’s an investment.  However, unlike regular extensions you can keep your new hair for a couple of years with good care and pop it in for a Friday night out.  I have quite thick hair and therefore a lot layers.  The hair will just help add fullness although my fiancé keeps teasing me about pulling my weave. 

Cost: Custom Hair Clip $300 +/-
If you’re someone who gets fillers normally, it’s a good idea to get them about 6 months prior to your big day.   You can make sure that you are happy with your results- add or (if you had to) remove any 3 months before so that you can get the optimal look.  Also, just remember, duck lips and puffy cheeks may be having a moment in the celebrity world but you do not want to look back on your wedding photos and cringe.  If you are going for the fillers, remind your doctor to have a light hand for a natural look. 

Cost: Fillers $600 per syringe
Now is a good time to start using Latisse if you are keen on the long-lashed look for the big day.  You get to see your results at 4 months out but starting a little early just gives you a little extra time to maximize your results.

Cost: Latisse $200 per 5 ml

Three months out is really trial time.  If you want to get your make-up professionally done- start doing consults.  Play with different types of make-up- I have heard great things about airbrush make-up so maybe find a specialist.  You can also use any promos that you received from the Bridal show season in the winter to try and find some savings.  I’m very lucky that my long time friend/co-worker Karina will be doing my makeup with mostly Jane Iredale.  We will sit down around this time just to confirm the overall look that I want and colours that might work. 

Cost: Make-up trial and day of wedding application $80-$150
At the two month stage, it’s good to do a run through of services that you do not normally indulge in.  I want lash-extensions and possible a spray tan, both of which will be a first for me.  You want to not be learning from scratch the big day so after doing your research, try these things at least once.  If you hate it or maybe just dislike the place you went to, you have time to figure it out and regroup.  I may rethink the spray tan the closer I get- I’m not thrilled about standing naked in small spaces being sprayed down.  In which case, I will start practicing from now the self-tanner.
Secret to Wedding Day Beauty: Simply Zinc Sun Whip all day
Me and My Sister (Maid of Honour) at a wedding this summer

Also, if you are hard on your nails and feet, start investing in some manicures and pedicures.  If you are a prodigious nail biter or have really ragged cuticles, a one-time service may not get you to where you want to be.  I find nothing makes me feel more polished or like a lady than having manicured nails so it’s worth the added expense to get it professionally done. 

Cost: Lash Extensions $150-$200, Spray Tan $50

One month out- chaos ensues! I’m guessing- maybe chaos does not happen but this most likely will be crunch time.  The trick will be to keep active to help release stress and not stress eat.  I also tend to get the Bermuda triangle of dermatitis right in the center of my forehead during moments of anxiety.  Luckily there is my deep yoga breathing to the rescue!

Clearly, a lot happens this day in terms of beauty, and oh yes, getting married.  I did get one question though I thought worthwhile to bring up- should you wear sunscreen?  Make-up aesthetics and making sure there is no shine the day of during photos will be important.  However, if you are outside, especially in a sunny climate, wear sunscreen!  You do not want to be sunburnt either!  The Every Morning Sun Whip is more matte and goes nicely with primers.  If you are on a beach though, go for the Simply Zinc Sun Whip and mattify with extra powder.

Finally, I’m sure many of you whom are already married, look back and think it’s a lot of fuss for one day.  A whole year of beauty strategizing is admittedly a bit much but as I’ve said all along- it should be an enjoyable process throughout.  Have fun and indulge a little!  It’s not all about pain and gain but I am excited to try new things.  I promise to blog about anything interesting that happens along the way.  I’ll also post a bridal pic so you can see how it all comes together. 

Share your plans or pics too! Would love to hear from you.