Skincare Spotlight: SPF Edition with Beautycounter

Now that summer is almost here, we have to be thinking extra about SPF. We should be wearing SPF all year round. Even though we can’t burn in the winter months, the UVA rays still penetrate and those are responsible for signs of aging.

We CAN burn in the summer. And since we’re using more sunscreen, we should also be thinking about what’s in our sunscreen

What’s In My Sunscreen?

But first, a review. There are 2 types of sunscreen: chemical and physical.

Chemical sunscreens work to prevent burns by absorbing UV rays, converting to heat and diffusing them throughout the skin. Mineral sunscreens work by creating a physical barrier between your skin and UV rays. Ideally, your sunscreen should protect against BOTH UVA rays (remember: aging) and UVB rays (think: burn). It will say “broad spectrum” to indicate this.

Another thing to note, and something I found really surprising: an SPF above 30 is very minimally more effective. In fact, it’s only 1-2% more effective and usually at the cost of increased chemicals to achieve that protection. It’s not to say it isn’t more protection or necessary, but I hope it gives you pause when you reach for the SPF of 50+. Also, keep in mind that SPF is ONLY in regard to UVB rays – it tells you nothing about UVA protection. (Why I recommend that broad-spectrum!)

You’ve probably seen chemical sunscreens in the news lately over concerns for negative health impacts, especially hormonal dysfunction, increased risk of cancer (say what?!) and dangerous environmental/wildlife impacts. Oxybenzone is even banned in Hawaii because it’s destroying the reefs.

Recent studies show higher than expected blood levels of 6 chemical sunscreens even after 1 application– avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. There is insufficient data and data gaps in safety, making it difficult to ensure safety in humans.

Also, if you remember: benzene, a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), has been found in many common brands on the shelfs. The reason is because it is a contaminant of production – and the FDA doesn’t require any type of testing to ensure it doesn’t exist. Unless the company third-party tests on its own, we just don’t know if benzene is in the product. (Not a risk I’m willing to take.).

Because of the known and potential unknown health concerns of chemical sunscreen, I always choose physical. Physical sunscreens (aka mineral sunscreens) to look for are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. But be sure to read the label because some brands are advertising as “mineral sunscreen” and are still sneaking chemical sunscreens into the mix.

It’s also good to vet the company by reaching out to customer service and asking if they do third-party testing for contaminants, like benzene. And if they will share that data. (If they don’t – red flag). It’s an extra step, I know – but benzene is no joke and I don’t want that on my skin or my families.

My Favorite Sunscreen Products

My favorite sunscreen: Beautycounter. I’ve been using them for many years because they are a physical sunscreen – zinc oxide; they have third-party testing for contaminants (so no benzene ever); they overall use safer ingredients in their sunscreen; it goes on easily and rubs in well! I use it on my toddler, too, without any worries.

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30

For the beach, swimming outdoor play, hiking, etc. Powered by air and not aerosol. Yay!

Countersun Daily Sheer Defense For Face

For the face! Can be used daily and/or for outdoor play & fun – no greasy formulations here!

Beautycounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

For daily use – SPF of 20 with moisturizing properties and offers a subtle tint of color

Remember with any sunscreen application: it should be applied every couple of hours. More frequently if you’re swimming or sweating! Don’t forget other burn-prevention strategies: wear UV protective clothing and hats, spend less time in the sun during peak hours (usually 10a-4p) and take sun breaks in the shade.

Happy sunshine and be sure to have fun!

Do you have questions about these products or others that we may be able to recommend? Reach out to me. I’m always happy to help!