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All About Sunscreen

Happy almost Fourth of July from the Follain team! In celebration of summer, here is our guide to embracing safe sun lovin’ practices this summer.

What is Sunscreen and why do I need it?

Sunscreen is used to help reduce the harmful effects of the sun by protecting the skin. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which refers to the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburn or incurring immediate damage to the skin.

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical (mineral). Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, work by sinking into the upper layer of the skin and absorb UV rays once sunlight hits the skin. Physical or mineral sunscreens, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on top of the skin and work by deflecting Ultra Violet (UV) rays.

Sunscreen makes a huge impact when it comes to the health of the skin and prevention of skin related diseases. The sun causes more than 90% of all visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging. Research shows that people who use sunscreen daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.

Is Sunscreen regulated?

Under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, the FDA restricts the term “sunscreen”, allowing only certain active ingredients to qualify as SPF based on research that demonstrates the defense efficacy against UV rays.  For example, the SPF factor of oxybenzone, a common chemical sunscreen, is determined by calculating the number of minutes to burn without sunscreen X SPF number = maximum sun exposure time.

However, a huge concern is that the safety and performance assessments of sunscreens do not include the long-term health implications for the body, such as hormone disruption. Additionally, the FDA does not have the authority to regulate the inactive ingredients in sunscreens, which typically make up half, to nearly all, of a sunscreen product.

What’s the Concern with Sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens have been linked to hormone disruption (including mimicking hormones), reproductive toxicity, skin allergies and the ability to penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream. Chemical sunscreens have been detected in mothers’ breast milk, indicating that the developing fetus and newborns may be exposed to these substances. Found in nearly every chemical sunscreen in the US, oxybenzone is the most problematic of the sunscreen chemicals and encompasses almost all of the above health concerns.

Safe Sun Tips

We look to the EWG’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens for sun advice and tips. We highly encourage you to check it out and use the knowledge presented to safely guide you through the summer months and beyond.

Here are a few of our favorite tips:

Don’t Be Fooled by High SPF’s

High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. Follain sunscreens are all SPF 30, and we encourage frequent application depending on activity.

Plan Around the Sun

The absolute best sun protection is to keep out of direct sunlight during peak hours (between 10am-2pm) and keep the skin physically covered as much as possible. However, it is important to get your daily dose of Vitamin D from 15 minutes of un-filtered sunshine onto the skin during the early morning or later afternoon when the sun is not as strong.

Always Go With Non-Nano Minerals

Little is known about the effects of nanotechnology on human health, and many physical blockers are created using nanotechnology. Until more research is conducted, Follain only carries non-nano zinc oxide mineral sunscreen.

Safe and Healthy Inactive Ingredients

Considering inactive ingredients take up to half or nearly all of most sunscreens, we equally scrutinize the active and inactive ingredients during our safety and performance tests. Why? Because ingredients matter, and so does your health.

Our Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF is a particular favorite of ours for the inactive ingredients (and it’s non-nano zinc oxide). Packed with nutrients, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, the lightweight non-chalky formula really feeds the skin while it protects. Bonus: it smells like marshmallow with a vanilla bean twist.

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