Category Archives: sunscreen with zinc oxide


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 …


Beauty is all about Skin Tone

How to get beautiful Skin-Simply Zinc it.
How to get beautiful skin: Simply Zinc it and other tools

Never has a truer word been spoken before…beauty is all about skin tone. The symmetry of the face used to be the in vogue criteria for what was considered beautiful but now researchers are saying that good skin trumps good bone structure. Click here for the article from the Times in the UK. The good news… beautiful skin is really attainable, getting better cheek bones is a bit trickier.


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


Winter Skin with Primers, Balm and more

As I am sitting here writing this, the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy have hit and its been raining for days*.  I swear that no matter how cute your rain gear is- its hard not to come out looking like a drowned rat.  All this to say, that I’m starting to look forward to our first blanket of snow.  I’m thinking about glowing skin, pink cheeks and a cute tuque. 
The Good Stuff: Beauty Balms and Primers
Of course, this is grass-is-greener type thinking since most winters I come out looking vaguely yellow and sad.  We all get dry, maybe a little patchy.  Your under-eyes start to look like bruises. Plus, you start to look at your Facebook pictures from the summer with your faint (faux) glow and think, “I looked healthy/happy/thinner/ hot”.  
Instead of ruminating, let’s talk about winter complexions.  There are three key measures you need to have in place, and presto you will look like a picture postcard instead of like Earthworm Jim.
I know, you’re thinking, “Sunscreen! Always with the sunscreen”.  We are known as the sunscreen company so it was bound to come up but we have a good reason! People always seem to miss the fact that those pesky UVA-Aging rays are constant all year round, through rain or snow and at every latitude.   In other words, you may be freezing your gloves off in the North Pole during a blizzard but you still have to worry about those rays responsible for crepe-y skin, discolourations, wrinkles etc.  Plus they come through windows so your commute to work and your window-side desk all contribute.  The great benefit to sunscreen in the winter though is that Zinc is naturally calming and soothing.  A great formula can also act as a primer itself since I find it gives your make-up a nice surface to adhere to. 
Primer Vs. Beauty Balm:
These two are the must-have items in the beauty world now.  Every company has their own version but it may not be clear how to incorporate either one or both of them into your routine.  It’s best to think of primer as good for texture and Beauty Balms for tone.  Primers typically have some form of silicone and other humectants so they glide on the face.  They fill in uneven textures (think acne marks or dilated pores) and they give your make-up something to adhere to.  I’ve tried Coloresciences version- it smells like synthetic chocolate, which is less tantalizing than you’d expect.  I’ve also road-tested Stila’s, which while I really liked the correction version, it has a huge ingredient list!  I’ve yet to try Jane Iredale’s but at least I know they will have quality ingredients. 
Jane Iredale’s Beauty Balm Option
As for Beauty Balms, the worst of them are glorified tinted moisturizers.  The best of them definitely offer great coverage with a hint of luminosity.  I don’t know whether they warrant their own beauty category but a good one will provide your complexion another layering option. 
In terms of using them, I tend to use primers for when I’m going out or have a big presentation in front of others.  They make sure your make-up does not slide off in the heat of any moment and they mattify as well.  You could use a primer and then just layer on your Beauty Balm for lighter coverage during the day.  If you would like maximum coverage, you could use both products and then dust a powder (mineral-based) foundation over top. 
Pale vs. Tanned
To Faux Glow or not?  In the winter, I’m less excited about the prospect of standing naked in my bathroom trying to apply tanning lotion.  For day to day, I opt for a primer that has a bronzer in it.  It provides just a gentle wash of colour so there is no discernible line around my neck and face.  I also always recommend the St. Tropez Wash-Off bronzer and just add a couple of drops to my moisturizer.  Alternatively, you could buy a beauty –balm with a slight tint to it as well.  There is something to be said for the paler version of you though.  As long as you can brighten, you will not look sickly.  Do your own DIY facials with turmeric and Indian gooseberry, or use skincare products with them as active ingredients (FYI-that’s a plug! We have both in our line).
So hopefully this winter, you’ll be all cozy in your layers of sunscreen, primer, and balm.  You can nestle by the fire or go ice skating and you will be picture perfect.
All the best,
* Editors note: lots of prayers and well wishes to the people who have been hurt or impacted by Hurricane Sandy- it’s been more than a little rain for many.