Wearing sunscreen daily is one of the most important things you can do for your skin, that is for certain. However, recent studies and a mass recall have made the process of choosing which brand to go with much more confusing.
When we set out to find a new sunscreen to carry at our Woo flagship, we set out to do some extensive research & product testing before we landed one that would make us proud. Our main criteria was that it needed to be effective, made with only clean ingredients, would be smooth on your skin and invisible.
Here's what we learned and which brand we concluded would get our woo seal of approval.
1. There are two categories of sun protectants: physical and chemical. Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin and converts sunlight’s UV rays into heat, which is then released by the skin. Physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen) sits on top of the skin’s surface and creates a physical barrier between sunlight and the skin. While chemical sunscreen is more common because it is easy and cheap to manufacture, many widely-used ingredients have been linked to skin irritation and even cancer. One downside of physical sunscreen is that tell-tale white cast, though options for sheer formulas are increasingly available.
2. Benzene, the toxin found in all those sunscreens that were recalled last month is a hidden ingredient. The carcinogen was either an unforeseen byproduct of the other ingredients or an outside contaminant, though there is no final word yet. In any case, this means you won’t find it listed in the ingredients of any sunscreen on the market. Instead look out for any of these potentially harmful ingredients: Parabens, Sulfates, Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/ Paraffin, Phthalates, Oxybenzone, PABA, Padimate O, Propylene Glycol, MEA/DEA/TEA, DMDM Hydantoin/Diazolidinyl/Urea/Methylisothiazolinone
3. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much UV light is filtered out, not a measure of how long you’ll be protected while wearing it. Similarly, most people assume an SPF 100 sunscreen offers twice the protection of an SPF 50 but the difference is marginal. The FDA recommends an SPF of at least 30 and reapplication every two hours regardless of SPF.
4. There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Water-resistant, sure, but you’ll have to reapply more frequently if you’re in and out of the water.
After our deep dive into the world of physical / mineral sunscreens, we fell in love with Soleil Toujours, a mineral sunscreen free of harmful ingredients and full of skin-nourishing benefits. They also won us over with their sheer, lightweight formula and beautiful, sustainable packaging. You can find Soleil Toujours in our Arts District shop and webshop. Here is a few of our Summer Favorites that we love to pack along with our Soleil Toujours to keep you cool and looking ready for your sun soaked summer destinations.
Happy (and safe) sunbathing!