Tag Archives: sunscreens

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, bad ingrediens, avoid sun burn

3 Little Known Things That Should Never Be In Your Sunscreen

sunscreen, bad ingrediens, avoid sun burn

These 3 Things Should Never Be in Your Sunscreen.

If you’ve followed our blog or our company for a while, you’ve probably sensed our discomfort with the ingredient Oxybenzone.  We think it should be banned from our bodies.  If you have not read our many reasons why it’s an ingredient worth avoiding- click here to read why you could consider it one of the most dangerous chemicals in your house.

If you’re all caught up on that, we thought we’d share this month some lesser known no-no’s in sunscreen formulations.  I’ll admit when I scan labels these are the red-flags that jump out at me and make me wonder whether the formulator simply did not know any better or chose to ignore the most relevant science in our field.

In short, here is a list of little known things that should not be in your sunscreen

1. The Combination of Octinoxate and Avobenzone

This one is a doozy but fortunately relatively rare.  If you see it, put down the bottle and walk away.  For me, there is really no excuse to have these two ingredients combined.  We know better and should do better.

These two ingredients on their own are not great in their most current, prevalent form.  To my knowledge, most forms of these ingredients come in their commodity form as being small-particle sized.  They are potential photo-allergens.  They also have their own stability issues.  We use an encapsulated form of octinoxate in our Every Morning Sun Whip SPF 25. This dopes the octinoxate molecule into a silica bead and makes a small particle (that normally would get absorbed into the body) huge.  It makes it roughly 6-7 microns large so that it sits on the surface of the skin and actually does not come into contact, reducing any chance for allergy.

What you may not know though, is these two ingredients are like each others Kryptonite.  Avobenzone breaks down in sunlight, which is an unfortunate characteristic for a sunscreen filter.  It requires stabilization from ingredients like octocrylene or Mexoryl SX and Xl.  However, when combined with Octinoxate, they each precipitate the breakdown of each other.  This breakdown is so precipitous that not only do both your UVB and UVA protection of the sunscreen breakdown, free radicals are also generated.

Octocrylene as mentioned does abate the photodegredation of this combination somewhat but not sufficiently to make it a viable solution.  In theory, you could encapsulate both ingredients to keep them from coming into contact with each other.  However, this technology is not widely available and remains expensive and hard to work with.  The better solution would be to simply avoid this combination- if your product includes it, it’s worth questioning whether the manufacturer really understands sunscreen formulations.

2. Essential Oils especially citrus based ones

I’m not altogether against essential oils.  I see them as powerful and complex compounds.  The chemistry within a single drop is astonishing.  A knowledgable practitioner can use them to great effect- if used judiciously and strategically.  What I’m not comfortable with, is the increasing trend in skincare to use a dash-of-this-dash-of-that style of formulating with them.  You are starting to see a lot of craft style brands essentially sell mixes of essential oils where some times 10+ essential oils are mixed together.

I do not think they should be used in sunscreens.  When you take the complex chemistry of the skin, the sun and essential oils- I think you are mixing up host of potential reactions that are hard to predict.  One thing is clear though, you should never, ever use a product that contains lime or any citrus based essential oil during the day on sun exposed skin.  Dermatologist frequently see what is called photodermatitis- the sudden appearance of brown streaks or spots when lime juice or extract on the skin is exposed to sun light.  This pigmentation can take a long time to fade, however more severe reactions can occur with blistering or redness occurring as well.  As one Facebook user can attest, essential oils can cause really severe

essential oils, sun burn, burn skin

What Can Happen with Essential Oils and the Sun

blistering as you can tell by her alarming pictures.

This is another mistake in formulating a sunscreen that shows a lack of understanding about photobiology and dermatology.  I wish I could say it was a ‘rookie’ mistake but you see it in brands all of the time.

3. Anti-Inflammatories and Anti-Oxidants (if replacing concentrations of filters)

On their own, there is nothing wrong with anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants.  Plant derived anti-inflammatories include chamomile and Vitamin E.  We are a huge advocate for stable anti-oxidants like turmeric, resveratrol etc.  However, our issue with these two types of ingredients is when they are used to replace sunscreen filters as protection against the sun.  These ingredients can be used to increase the SPF of a sunscreen by gaming the current SPF test.

The FDA mandates that the in-vivo test for SPF is used, meaning it’s tested on humans as opposed to being tested in-vitro, which literally means tested on glass.  SPF is calculated by looking at the level of redness produced by directing a photo lamp at test subjects.  We are starting to learn that the photo lamp itself is problematic and not equivalent to natural sun light.  Another great limitation of the test is that it uses redness as the equivalent of sun protection.  Therefore a sunscreen formulation can focus on taking away redness in the skin by including anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, and this will provide a higher SPF while not necessarily providing better protection.

I’m going to share the best metaphor I’ve ever read about these ingredients and sunscreen.  For the life of me, I can’t remember where I’ve read it so pardon my lack of an appropriate citation. Consider UV light like a gun.  Sunscreen filters are like a bullet-proof vest in that they shield you to varying degrees from getting shot.  They’re not perfect and some are better than others in making sure you do not get injured. Anti-oxidants do not prevent you from getting shot but they are equivalent to having a doctor on hand to help stitch you up after wards.  In other words, they do not prevent harm but they help heal it afterwards.  Anti-inflammatories within the context of sunscreens do not prevent you from getting shot nor do they help you heal afterwards.  They put a gag in your mouth so you can’t yell from the pain. For the SPF test, they stop redness from emerging  which is your body’s way of expressing sun damage.  You have to be very wary of formulas that prevent the expression of damage but not the damage itself!

How do you know if your sunscreen is relying on anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants to elevate their SPF? Look at the medicinal ingredients.  I’ve included a handy little SPF calculator in this post here. In short, if your sunscreen has something like 3% Titanium Dioxide and 2% Zinc Oxide, then it can have a max SPF of 11.  If it has an SPF 30 or more but has a long list of botanical extracts, then something is off.  In the coming days, we’ll discuss some new proprietary ways of increasing the SPF with non-medicinals that actually improve protection and do not game the SPF test.  In the interim, if the math does not add up, it’s worth being suspicious.

That’s it for now! Share your comments and questions below!

Warmest regards,


oxybenzone, beach, sunscreen

9 Reasons Why Oxybenzone Might be One of the Most Dangerous Chemicals in Your House

For the month of December, the Sunscreen Doc is our guest poster on why the chemical Oxybenzone might be one of the most dangerous chemicals in your life.  Click here to read the full text of the blog.

New Year of 2015, cyberderm

15 Random Things to Know for the New Year of 2015

New Year of 2015, cyberdermWe’ll admit this list of 15 things to know for 2015 is a bit random indeed.  You never know though- you might find one nugget of truth that will have you looking your best this year and for all the years to come!

1. The Word Basic has a new meaning

basic girl, 15 random things to know in 2015

The Supposed”Basic” Girls’ Uniform

Rap artists have started using this as a form of throwing shade at each other. The term ‘basic’ is now an insult- who knew! There were even costume ideas based on going as a “Basic” Girl. Fortunately, many of us are past the age of caring about the label- so feel free to drink your Starbucks in your very comfortable UGGs and slimming leggings with no fear.

2. Product claims of Non-Comodogenic Don’t Mean Much

The idea of what ingredients can clog pores and which don’t came from a 1972 study by Kilgman and Mills.  They used testing on rabbits ears to see which individual ingredients were comodogenic. This list was largely disseminated among physicians as ones to avoid, especially for acne prone patients.  However, since then studies have shown that these ingredients are rarely used in concentrations high enough in finished formulas to give the same results.   Unfortunately, you can’t really tell from a product’s ingredients what will be comodogenic- sometimes you just have to try it first. We’d recommend searching for products with few but high quality ingredients, that have no “no-no’s” (like the Dirty Dozen or anything on the EWG that rates higher than a 3-4) and use actual therapeutic concentrations of their actives.

3. You Can Freeze your Fat Off

Yes- it’s true! Science is a beautiful thing- if you haven’t heard about this new treatment, click here.

4. No Lip Pencil will Give you Kylie Jenner’s Lips

Kylie Jenner Lips, 15 random things to know for 2015

Magic Lip Pencils?

It feels a little silly to debate over a 17 year olds lips but for those looking to replicate her look with a lip pencil- you might need a little more help.  Lip injections will give the vermillon border a fuller look but in the strictest theory of aesthetics- your upper lip is not meant to be bigger than your lower lip.  We say to each their own-but we thought we should do some expectation management, that’s a lot of pressure to put on one little lip pencil!

5. By 2016, Sunscreens Will Get Even Better

Thanks to the recent law in the US- our southern neighbour should be introducing some new and amazing filters to their repertoire by around 2016.  They will give us formulators access to ingredients that have been in the EU for decades and will let us make even better sunscreens.  Here’s hoping Canadian regulators make similar changes- nudge, nudge.

6.  Chapped Lips can be a bummer, especially with the recent popularity of darker lipsticks like Marsala, Pantone Colour of 2015.

Katerina Jane Iredale, Marsala Lipstick, Pantone 2015, 15 random things to know for 2015

One of our Favourite Interpretations of Marsala Pantone Colour of 2015

While petroleum based lip products like Vaseline do provide long lasting protection they are also derived from the same thing that we fill our cars up with. We think our Ectoins Mineral Balm is one of the most healing out there (it was originally created for post-laser recovery). With copper, peptides, olive oil, ectoins and more in a soothing olive oil base-you’re more than covered.

7. There is a fairy god mother for under-eye bags!

Neotensil is the latest from a group of Harvard based dermatologists and researchers- it’s like Spanx for the under eye. This fairy-tale product will only last 14 hours but it gives you a glimpse of possibilities that might make you consider more invasive procedures.

8. Oxybenzone has shown to cause a potential decrease in male fertility by 30%!

It can affect women as well but the signs may be more subtle. Look through your cosmetics (including lip products!) and sunscreens and reconsider if there is not a better choice.

9. Pure oils make the best body moisturizer

Just apply them to damp skin after the shower and you won’t need heavy, occlusive ones.

10. Make sure your all-natural products don’t contain photo-toxic essential oils

essential oils, photo-toxicity, 15 random things to know for 2015

Play It Safe and Avoid Essential Oils from the Citrus Family in Your Skincare

Essential Oils are all the rage now in cosmetic products but make sure that your product does not contain any from the citrus family. As a general rule of thumb- most of them are photo-toxic, meaning they have negative reactions to sunlight. Ever get a dash of lime juice on your skin in the summer, you get automatic pigment in that spot! Not something you want for your skin!

11. Ingest your Photo-Protection

You can boost your photo-protection orally! While we don’t recommend ever skipping sunscreen any time in the year- you can up the anti and decrease inflammation in the form of free radicals with daily intake of anti-oxidants.

12. You can Rock a Strong Full Brow

how to regrow brows, 15 random things to know for 2015

Oh Drew, what did you make us all do?

If you were a teenager or older in the 90’s, many of us might have been an unfortunate victim of tweezing our arches into oblivion.  The fuller brow look has returned and it’s actually very flattering for all.  We’re a big fan of brow mascaras to give you the fuller look through the ‘fans’- i.e. brush the hairs up through the inner corners of the brows where they should be the thickest.  You can use brow powder to naturally fill in the rest.  Latisse will help bring back new growth. Botox will also restore a natural beautiful arch if done properly.

13. Improvements in Technology Means Less Pain but Equal Gain

We all often say “No Pain-No Gain” but that is getting to be less and less true every year.  Especially when it comes to cosmetic services for the face, there are more options available based on the length of downtime one wants to experience.  I’m still a huge advocate of annual Foto-facials for those who are candidates as a preventative treatment.  There is now also a relatively new comer the Venus Viva, which looks like it will provide some actual tightening (something a lot of technologies struggle with) and some re-texturizing as well.  It’s always worth checking back in with your medical service provider because there are new possibilities every day. Just make sure they are credible providers and inquire about their training as opposed to looking for those who offer deep discounts or compete on pricing.

14. Don’t Let your Hands and Neck Show your True Age

We see beautiful women as our clients come in all the time who look what I call ageless.  They are clearly women who take very special care of their complexions, and then match it with superb fashion and other beauty stylings.  Sometimes though, they will have neglected the three other areas that age in a similar way to our faces.  I call these other areas in addition to our faces our assets and they are your neck, chest and hands.  If you are still in the preventative phase, it’s as simple as using most of your facial products on these areas as well- this includes your sunscreen.  Leathery texture and brown pigmentation are the most clear signs of sun damage.  If you are in the maintenance phase of life, then there are cosmetic services that can be used on these areas.  Not all light based technologies are suitable for these areas- especially the chest that can be very delicate but there are definite options.

15. 2015 Is the Year of the Sheep

chinese year of the lamb, 15 random things to know for 2015

Who Doesn’t Want a Little Lamb?

For most of us, Chinese Astrology is a quaint notion that we read about on take-out menus.  However, other’s are big proponents of it and they take it seriously. So seriously that there is some dispute over whether believers will schedule conception times based on the specific year of birth for their children.  2015 is the year of the sheep starting at the end of February.  Sheep are characterized as lovely, compassionate and gentle people.  According to this article in the Washington Post, not everyone wants that for their unborn child! Crazy! For many, this is the final fact of 15 very random things to know in 2015, for others, they may or may not be delaying some fruitful nookie because of it!

Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and beautiful 2015 no matter whether you take heed of any of these 15 tidbits- we’ll talk again next month!