Category Archives: CyberDERM Every Morning Sun Whip

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,


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.



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


Considerations in Formulating a Zinc Oxide Sunscreen

Simply ZInc Sun Whip and Every Morning Sun Whip- Zinc Oxide Sunscreens
CyberDERM Zinc Oxide Sunscreens- Simply Zinc and Every Morning

Albeit a technical doc, this still remains a handy link for those looking to really delve into the science of formulations of zinc oxide sunscreens.  These were the principles and thinking that went into formulating our two zinc oxide sunscreens: Simply Zinc Sun Whip SPF 30 and our Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25.

How Zinc Oxide makes the best sunscreens? How we formulated our Simply Zinc and Every Morning Sun Whips.


Which Sun Whip is right for you? Simply Zinc or Every Morning

With our two sunscreens about to imminently launch, you may be wondering what’s the difference and which one is right for you?   Both are fair questions and for those of you who cannot try both Sun Whips before you buy, here are some tips for choosing the best product!
How would you describe your skin type:
The New Simply Zinc Sun Whip
The New Simply Zinc Sun Whip

If you would describe your skin as:
Normal to combination: Every Morning. Sun Whip.   The Every Morning Sun Whip is a great choice with its cashmere matte finish and light application.  It’s great for applying every day, before your make-up with minimal shine.
Dry/Sensitive or mature:  Simply Zinc Sun Whip.  The Simply Zinc Sun Whip is ultra-calming and hydrating with its extract of olive oil.  Its 22% zinc oxide formula is richer than its Every Morning counter-part but still applies invisibly and without shine. It has peptides to help repair your collagen and elastin fibers in your skin and therefore is a true anti-aging tool!
Ethnic, darker skin:  Every Morning Sun Whip.  People with darker skin types sometimes think they can get away without wearing daily sun protection.  Don’t be fooled!  Darker skin types are still susceptible to certain forms of melanoma, can suffer from melasma and can have aging concerns like uneven pigmentation.  It pays to protect which is why spokespeople like Gabrielle Union has come out to talk about using sunscreen on a daily basis.  Our Every Morning formula still applies transparently to darker skin tones with no worry of casting a whitish tint!
Do you have:
Acne:  Every Morning Sun Whip. Although people with acne worry about using anything to rich on their skin, they still need sunscreen daily.  Zinc is a natural anti-inflammatory which will help calm irritated skin but this lighter formula will provide just the right amount of hydration without clogging pores.  It also will not leave you with an oily finish, which no one wants!
Melasma or hyper-pigmentation:  Simply Zinc Sun Whip.  Anyone who suffers from melasma or hyper-pigmentation knows that you have to be absolutely sun vigilant.  If you have also ever been diagnosed with any form of skin disorder like actinic keratosis or melanoma, you also know that you cannot afford to take sun protection for granted.  You need strong, consistent photo-stable protection and the 22% zinc in this formula gives just that- consistent, long wave UVA and UVB protection!
Are you:
Pregnant, breast-feeding or thinking of becoming pregnant: Simply Zinc Sun Whip.  Anyone that has been pregnant before knows that it is of great importance to consider how what you apply to your skin affects your infants’s health in the womb.  There is some worry over other chemical filters like avobenzone and oxybenzone in sunscreens being absorbed into your body.  It is unclear about their effect once in the body but certainly it is not a risk worth taking on your unborn child’s health.  The thinking would be then that if your sunscreen is safe enough to use when you’re pregnant, it’s safe enough to use for the rest of your life. Remember that we all still apply zinc to our baby’s behinds because of its healing properties! Our resident mom’s who work at CyberDERM also love the Simply Zinc to use on their children as they grow up.  They love to maintain natural and holistic lifestyles and Simply Zinc fits in it!
This is a somewhat reductive guide because in the end your choice may just be a matter of which one feels right on your skin.  We hope you find one that you love either way and stay protected all day, every day.

All the best,

A Thirty Something’s Medicine Cabinet

 I have my 30th birthday approaching any day now and I feel pretty fortunate that I am generally happy with the way my skin looks.  You start to see some of those first signs of aging in your late twenties with some initial wrinkles starting to creep up, some discolouration, more overall dryness.  You are also just less able to abuse your skin- you can’t hide long late nights anymore. Fortunately, I feel like my skincare routine is keeping me in good stead.  I’ve finally found the right balance between dewy and oily, between soft and over-exfoliated, between treating my skin and being raw and irritated. 
So for anyone who might like to know- here is what my actual skincare routine looks like.  You might think that CyberDERM products are heavily represented and that is true.  It’s a result of extreme bias, convenience and pure devotion.
1.     Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, $75

 I’ve never been a fan of complicated cleansers before- I was strictly a Cetaphil advocate. I thought keep it simple for simple functions and save your products and your dollars for more important things.  However, when we were first looking into bringing Tata Harper into the store, I tried this cleanser and it changed my mind. The analogy for this cleanser is like  getting a freshly mixed pina colada in a high end resort. There is no gunky pre-mixes involved- every ingredient is fresh, pronounceable and from this earth.  It softens and exfoliates my skin so I don’t have to work as hard with other products for the same result.

2.     Nu-Shroom Hydrafill Serum, $95
I was the first guinea pig for this product (no actual guinea pigs or bunnies were tested on- we promise!) so I have been using it since December.  I’m not really its target demographic.  It works wonders on dry, mature skin with some wrinkling and gives a real instant oomph.  I like it for its long-term hydration though.  I’ve been using it in the mornings because it gives such a smooth surface for my make-up. Your skin looks dewy and catches the light around my orbital bone especially.  I have not been using a make-up highlighter because it has been doing such a good job.
3.     Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25, $38
I’m pretty religious about using my sunscreen every day- I just make it my routine so I don’t really think about it.  With other sunscreens before I joined the company, I’d get turned off by the smell and the texture.  There is a dissonance between smelling like the beach when you are heading for the office in the dead of winter.  Aside from the no-sunscreen smell, I also like that our sunscreen actually feels good for my skin aside from its protective qualities.  Zinc is such a powerful anti-inflammatory- I find it soothing and helps calm any redness.  Our formula also does not feel occlusive so I don’t worry about it exacerbating my mild acne.
1.     Whenever I come home, I typically cleanse my face right away.  I just think you should get the city off of your skin with its dirt and pollution.
2.     H20 Hydration or Emblica Light and Bright, $60 and $70 respectively
CyberDERM PM Anti-AgeAfter cleansing, I immediately apply either one of these products as an after sun treatment.  I feel like your skin gets in an excited state by the sun and pollution. Imagine all of those wandering electrons in the form of free radicals .I like to quiet down these reactions to zero with a product with strong and stable anti-oxidants.  Both products have superb anti-oxidants to calm the skin and just generally soothe it as well.  For this purpose, you can use the products interchangeably and is about your personal preference.  They have other primary purposes though that have specific benefits to them otherwise. 
3.     PM Anti-Age, $115
I should be getting back into my routine of using a prescription retinoid at night.  I’ve been using one since I was 13 for acne. It’s hard once you have stopped to start again.  It’s like exercise- you have to get over the initial hump and then it is good for you in the long run.  I’ve been pretty happy with just using my PM Anti-Age though.  It just gives my  skin tone a bright even look to it.  My fiancé is hooked on it for the same reason.  We’ll see- for now I am liking my PM just fine. 
1.     Tata Harper Regenerating Body Oil
I’ve been forgoing my olive oil bath so that I don’t have to deal with a messy tub.  This is a lovely blend of oils and feels luxurious but not greasy.
2.     Exfoliant Reveal and Emblica Light and Bright
I still suffer from Keratosis Pilaris (red bumps) on my arms and this combination has done a better job of keeping it at bay than more medicated versions.  The Exfoliant Reveal keeps my skin soft and the Emblica Light and Bright calms anti-inflammation for the red component and keeps them from developing into brown spots from the trauma. 

What does your regimen look like?  I don’t think it has to look that different when you’re 30 vs. 40 vs. 50.  The fundamentals are pretty similar and certainly if you focus on prevention- you have a lot less work ahead of you.  

All the best,

Sara Dudley

winterblues, sad, seasonal affective disorder, vitamin d, sunscreen

The Controversy about Vitamin D and sunscreen

Let’s take a look at the controversy about getting enough Vitamin D (especially this winter) while still wearing sunscreen every day.  None of us want to get a case of #SAD, so use these tips to help boost your daily intake.

First consider why vitamin D is so important:

  • It’s primary purpose is to assist parathormone and other metabolic agents in regulating and maintaining normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
  • Calcium requires vitamin D for efficient transport from the digestive tract into the bloodstream.
  • Recent research suggests that vitamin D is important in the prevention of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, several forms of cancer, and some immune-system diseases. It has now replaced Vitamin C and E as being the “wonder” vitamin, if there is one.

There are two forms of vitamin D that are important in humans:

  • Vitamin D2 : Ergocalciferol contained in plants
  • Vitamin D3 : Cholecalciferol, manufactured in the skin from exposure to UV radiation and present in certain foods.

The controversy:

Recent studies find many individuals in Canada to be deficient in vitamin D. They wear sunscreen for protection in the summer and spend the long winter months wrapped from head to toe in warm clothing. This limits the production of vitamin D from the lower UV exposure. Some recommend to spend a limited time of 10 minutes in the sun without a sunscreen from time to time. At  CyberDERM and Laserderm (our sister medical clinic) we advocate stringent sunscreen protection all year round. The risk of UV exposure far outweigh any benefits from maintaining vitamin D production by the skin:

  • Most cases of skin cancer are potentially preventable, yet across the USA non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has tripled from 1 million cases in 1987 to 3.5 million in 2009.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that melanoma rates have been increasing by 3.1% per year since 1986, despite the use of sunscreens, since most sunscreens may not protect against the longer UVA rays.
  • 3% of Canadians will develop some form of skin cancer this year.
  • In North America over $6 billion is spent removing actinic and cancerous lesions.
  • UV radiation from sun exposure causes skin cancer, and photoaging and pre-mature aging.

How much vitamin D do you really need?

We prefer that you get your Vitamin D from diet and supplements. The RDA may not be high enough for most Canadians. Most experts agree that children and adults who stay out of the sun require 1000-2000 IU daily, but you can safely take 2-4 thousand IU per day, particularly in the winter months.

What you may not know about vitamin D:

Every Morning Sun Whip, Simply Zinc Sun Whip
Got to love Vitamin D while still protecting yourself from the Sun
  • Vitamin D in the body has to be processed by the liver and the kidneys into a usable form. Whether the source is dietary or from sun exposure, once vitamin D is processed, the metabolic effect is the same. That is why dietary vitamin D works. Your body does not know whether the vitamin D being used came from sun exposure and the skin or from your diet.
  • You can get vitamin D from a variety of sources. Foods such as salmon, sardines, shiitake mushrooms, and egg yolks naturally contain vitamin D. Some foods like milk, orange juice, yogurts, and cheeses are fortified to increase their vitamin D and calcium content. Finally, there are prescription and over-the-counter vitamin D supplements that come in capsules and liquids.

Get your Vitamin D from diet and select your sunscreen wisely:

As mentioned in previous blogs, using a truly broad spectrum for sunscreen is essential. Avoid the high SPF trap where most believe that the higher – the better. For adequate sunburn protection measured by the SPF number, most need a minimum of SPF 25-30. Ensure you get truly broad-spectrum protection from even long wave UVA, most high SPF sunscreens will not protect you adequately. Current research and the findings of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) confirm that zinc and titanium-based formulations are among the safest, most effective sunscreens on the market. Zinc gives complete UVA and UVB, while titanium affords complete UVB and partial UVA protection. Clear zinc products, such as CyberDERM’s Every Morning Sun Whip, provides the complete protection in an aesthetic invisible film.


The Skinny on Sunscreens, Part Deux

Here is another post from May 2009- it’s a good little lexicon to help you understand sunscreen ingredients and everything below is still true today.  You can always bring it to the drugstore if you need a primer or you can just remember that all you need is a high concentration of zinc oxide for a great sunscreen.

In an effort to make reading your sunscreen label really easy, I thought I would do a simple alphabetical lexicon of popular sunscreen ingredients, include ideal concentrations you should be looking for, state whether they are a UVB, UVA protector, and any other relevant things you should know. Here we go:

Avobenzone (Parsol 1789): 3% concentration. Long Wave UVA protector. Is not a stable ingredient and will break down when exposed to sunlight. Should not be used in formulas with Octinoxate. Can in theory be stabilized if combined with Oxybenzone and Octocrylene. Should be used in combination with another UVA protector as it offers marginal protection and does not span the full UVA spectrum.

Drometrizole Trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL): 3-4%. Short Wave UVA protector. A patented ingredient by L’Oreal. Has a synergistic effect when used with Mexoryl SX. Anthelios XL line in highest SPF’s offer the ideal combination of both.

Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX): 3-4% concentration. Short Wave UVA protector. A patented ingredient by L’Oreal. Offers medium protection but is better if combined with a 3-4% concentration of Mexoryl XL.

Homosalate: 5-15%. UVB protector. Provides margninal UVB protection, even in highest concentrations and should be used with other UVB protectors to provide an adequate SPF.

Octinoxate: 7.5%. UVB protector. A good UVB protector. Can be mildly irritating if not in an encapsulated version (unfortunately labels cannot distinguish between encapsulated and non-encapsualted).

Octisalate: 2-10%. UVB protector. Should be used in conjunction with other UVB protectors to get an adequate SPF.

Octocrylene: 2-10%. Primarily UVB, some UVA if in 10% concentration. Should be used in combination with other UVB protectors to get an adequate SPF. Is reported to stabilize avobenzone when used together.

Oxybenzone: 6%. Primarily UVB, some short wave UVA. Oxybenzone is a photo-allergen and many especially those with sensitive skin may find it to be irritating. Is reported to stabilize Avobenzone and makes up one third of Neutrogena’s patented Helioplex ingredient.

Tinosorb S/M: 5-10%. Both UVA and UVB. Not approved for us in the US. A good UVA protector (*to be noted: I have never used any products with Tinosorb and cannot speak to consistency/ texture issues).

Titanium Dioxide: 2-15%. If micronzied both some short wave UVA and UVB, if not micronized mostly UVB. Titanium Dioxide is considered a physical sun blocker. Should be used with Zinc Oxide or some other UVA protector. Excellent in mineral based make-up but can look pasty in some sunscreens if used in too high a concentration.

Every Morning Sun Whip, Simply Zinc Sun Whip
Learning About What Best Protects Us

Zinc Oxide: 10+-25%: The only single ingredient that provides full spectrum protection (short wave and long wave UVA and UVB). High percentages of Zinc Oxide make for an excellent, truly broad spectrum sunscreen. Micronized versions can look white if used in a percentage higher than 7%.  Also provides a nice anti-inflammatory (zinc used in diaper rash creams).

I’ve only included the most popular ingredients but feel free to write in with any that you may have found that are not on the list. I’ve also tried to list them by their most common names but some ingredients actually are known by several different ones.

Basically, when reviewing your bottle, check to make sure that 1. You do have some UVA protector included (most brands will load up on the UVB protectors). 2. Make sure that if you have Avobenzone on your label, you do not have Octinoxate. 3. If you do have Avobenzone, look for another UVA protector to get optimal UVA protection. 4. If your brand includes Oxybenzone, skip it

We formulated our sunscreen with Invisible Zinc Oxide and Encapsulated Octinoxate because we think they work the best but now you have some tools to decide for yourself!

All the Beauty Best!
Sara A. Dudley


The Skinny on Sunscreens, Part I

Check out one of our first blog posts in this month’s retrospective.  This was written back in 2009 and you can see that not much as changed in terms of sunscreens since then.  The FDA has pushed through their amendment to the sunscreen monograph and we are starting to hear more about UVA protection.  Here in Canada, draft legislation is still in consultation so it will be another couple of years before we see its impact on the shelf.

We’ve just our first warm weekend here in Ottawa and a lot of pale faces are emerging but hopefully not before remembering to apply a sunscreen (you should actually be wearing one all year round- word to the wise). The problem though is that there is a lot of misinformation and confusion concerning sunscreens. Just when people were starting to get the message- ‘Wear a sunscreen’- the message had to go and get a lot more complicated.

We have all been told not to use tanning oils, that an SPF of 4 is not adequate. We know that if our sunscreen smells like a pina colada perhaps it is not a ‘serious’ sunscreen. We know to reapply repeatedly. We know that to burn is bad. We do not know, however, that the SPF measurement on the bottle could actually be doing us a disservice. We constantly hear about the numbers game that is SPF but what we really need is to be rewired about the way we think of sunscreens and what it means to be protected.

I have fallen victim to this same misunderstanding before. I’m a sun zealot and I vacation down South frequently. Despite this- I felt like I was being sun smart by wearing sunscreens with SPF’s of 50-60 everyday and I was reapplying it frequently. It was only when CyberDERM began formulating its own sunscreen and I began researching that I realized that the SPF on my bottle was only half the picture (and not the better half either).

Here is the short story. We are exposed to two kinds of UV radiation. The trick to remembering the two is simple: UVA light Ages our skin, UVB Burns, both cause Cancer (thus the rule of ABC). Protection against UVA light is absolutely critical not only for cosmetic reasons but for safety ones as well. However, SPF only measures the amount of protection from UVB light and is not correlated to the amount of protection you are receiving from UVA light whatsoever. In other words, when I turned over my bottle of SPF 50 sunscreen, I realized I was using a brand of sunscreen that offered almost no UVA protection! Worse- I was staying out in the sun for longer periods of time at peak hours because I had a false sense of security.

CyberDERM Every Morning Sun Whip
The Beauty of Being Sun Smart-Every Morning Sun Whip

Currently, both the FDA and Health Canada are coming up with a system to grade sunscreens on their level of UVA protection. They are running a little bit behind though. I would guess however that many sunscreens on the market today will have to consider reformulating once the new labeling laws do come out.

Your next logical question may be to ask then how do you choose a reasonably good sunscreen if an SPF is no longer a responsible indicator. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the designation that many sunscreens use “Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB”. Both the FDA and Health Canada are also in need of regulating what that designation means precisely. Manufacturers are permitted to label their sunscreens as being broad spectrum as long as they offer a modicum of UVA protection. Many brands however fail to span the full length of the UVA spectrum or they offer very weak protection at best. The hard answer is that there is no easy way to look at the front of a bottle and know the quality of protection you are being afforded. You need to flip the bottle over and look at the ingredients listed as most ingredients protect against UVB only, some protect against UVA only, and even fewer span the entire range of both.

In Part II of this blog, I’ll go over which ingredients to look for and in what concentrations they need to be present in to be effective. The shocking news will not end here though. As a tidbit- did you know that the two of the most popular sunscreen ingredients can have negative reactions when they are exposed to sunlight? The quality of some sunscreens is mind boggling. Yet, until consumers know to ask for better, there is no impetus for manufacturers to change.

Perhaps that is why we never read about the dupe that is SPF. Until the FDA and Health Canada comes out with their own labeling system for UVA, you have to be a sunscreen sleuth to figure what constitutes a good sunscreen. It’s disheartening to think that all the work one does to treat your skin well (including cosmetics/cosmeceuticals, diet, and cosmetic procedures) is being undone the moment you walk outside with mediocre protection.

If you cannot wait until Part II, I suggest reading the Primer on Sunscreens that I wrote for our patients at our sister clinic Laserderm ( Also- a non-profit group based in Washington DC has an excellent database that you can use to type in the name of our sunscreen and see what level of protection you are getting ( You can also search for sunscreen active ingredients in case your brand is not available.

I’d encourage you to be proactive about finding an excellent sunscreen and I promise to help with any questions you may have.

Until Part II, all the beauty best (even if that is hard to come by).

Sara A. Dudley


The contributors to pre-mature aging

What is photoaging
Photoaging is premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (uv), primarily from the sun, but also from artificial UV sources. Photoaging is different from chronologic aging, as the damaging effects of UV rays from the sun (or UV lamps), alter the normal structures of the skin.
How much is skin aging due to photoaging versus normal aging
On sun exposed skin, up to 90% of aging is due to the negative effects of the sun. The natural aging process is dependent on time and genetics. However, photoaging can be reduced with sun avoidance. A truly broad spectrum sunscreen blocks 90% of the UVA rays that penetrate to the deepest layers of skin. Many high SPF sunscreens do not block enough UVA, and do not adequately prevent photoaging. The best UVA protection comes from zinc oxide, also used in soothing calamine lotion and diaper creams.

Dr. Laughlin, our Medical Consultant and Medical Director of Laserderm, generally categorizes photoaging into the three “D” components: Deterioration, Deflation, and Descent. The best way to avoid photoaging is to have a good sun protection regimen such as CyberDERM Every Morning Sun Whip with 15% invisible zinc oxide, providing a full spectrum of UV protection and your daily moisturizer all in one. Its invisible zinc ingredient meets the Australian and European standards for a complete broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection.

If only I knew this vital information 15 years ago! but since sun damage is cumulative, it is never too late to start! Now I am sunsunscreen smart and think back to centuries ago when woman had radiant porcelain skin, which was the standard beauty mark. The measure of beauty was flawless skin, also considered as a sign of social status. Current fashion embraces porcelain skin once again, where the “tanned look” is out! Since all I ever accomplished from my efforts to desperately achieve any color was an aggregation of freckles left behind, I am in with the out! Unfortunately, these days we also have a competitor to UV rays that also contributes to aging, and that is….


It’s distressing that everyday particles from places such as industrial areas, busy highways, and farms are released into the atmosphere, and carried into the air which we live in and breathe. It is estimated that every day on our planet more than 80,000 tons of particles become airborne, contributing to the pollutants and toxins we breathe. Ontario is the province with the highest levels of pollutants in Canada. Your skin is continuously being exposed to free radical damage, destructive environmental toxins, pollutants, allergens and solar damage, all are significant contributors to the aging process. In skin cells chronological aging accelerates due to the sun and air pollutants that produce free radicals, the accumulation of which become toxic.

The body’s largest organ -the skin- pays a price for protecting us from all of the environmental damages. Everything you do now to prevent damage will reduce your signs of aging.