Why doesn’t CFFormulas™ offer a sunscreen in their skin care line?

I’m asked from time to time about sunscreens. We have been working to develop a great sunscreen lotion or even a spray, which I would prefer, but it’s not so easy.  For one thing, even though I’ve researched the subject a lot, to have our product tested for the SPF factor is very costly. Alas, we are a small company and quite frankly can’t afford the price tag asked for by the government to claim we have a great sunscreen with a high SPF factor. However, we have formulated a sunscreen lotion with all the “right” ingredients and it seems to be working well in our trials. However, in order for us to market it, we would still have to be certified with the SPF factor and this is too costly for us right now to include right now in our skincare line.

How does sunscreen work and why is it so important to use it?

Actually, sunscreens are chemical agents that help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB . Both can damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other effects of photoaging. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB. I always think about the UVA (A for aging) and UVB (B for burns).  You must be sure your choice of sunscreen protects against both these harmful rays.

How does the SPF factor work and what does it mean?

It takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red. Using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer – about five hours. Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 blocks approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent; and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. They may seem like insignificant differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.

But there are problems with the SPF model. First of all, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Secondly, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.

When should I apply sunscreen?

This depends upon how much sun exposure you anticipate.  The skincancer.org site recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays. I talk about this below in the ingredients demystified section of this blog.

As well, people don’t realize that you need to apply as much as one ounce of sunscreen to your body at a time to get the full benefit of the sun-fighting factors. To be most effective, the sunscreen also needs to be applied about 30 minutes before exposure to the sun and then, reapplied every two hours to be most effective. It almost always washes off with water, too and needs reapplication there, as well.

Ingredients Demystified:

Usually, at least three active ingredients are called for to make a sunscreen broad-spectrum. That is preventing both UVA and UVB rays from harming the body.. These generally include PABA derivatives, salicylates, and/or cinnamates (octylmethoxycinnamate and cinoxate) for UVB absorption; benzophenones (such as oxybenzone and sulisobenzone) for shorter-wavelength UVA protection; and avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule (MexorylTM), titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide for the remaining UVA spectrum.

The sunscreen lotion we are formulating for CFFormulas™ has these three important safe guards along with antioxidants and soothing Aloe Vera to ensure good protection from the sun while correcting some of the sun damage that may have already occurred.

Vitamin D controversy:

Right now there is a controversy about whether or not sunscreens are causing a Vitamin D deficiency in people who use them all the time when exposed to the sun.  It seems to me that there may be some truth to this. It has been recommended, therefore, that we expose ourselves to the sun before ten in the morning and after four in the afternoon, sunscreen free.  In places like Australia, where the atmosphere has been compromised with the loss of the ozone layer, this must be discussed further to be sure it’s a safe practice for preventing damage from the UVB and UVA rays while also getting the best source of Vitamin D – that is from the sun.

Is sunscreen necessary on a cloudy day?

Up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. This mis-perception that you don’t need sun screen on a cloudy day often leads to the most serious sunburns, because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun.

Did you know that sun exposure is accumulative?

We get less than 25 percent of our total sun exposure by the time we’re 18 years old. In fact, it is men over the age of 40 who spend the most time outdoors, and get the highest annual doses of UV rays.

As we all live longer, the more exposure we get. So, we must find the common sense place to get enough sun for health during the best times of the day, coupled with the knowledge that strong UVA and UVB rays cannot only cause cancer, but also age the skin making us look older than our years.

In conclusion:

Always use a broad-spectrum sun screen to block both the harmful UVA and UVB rays. There are 3 basic ingredients you should look for in any sunscreen product to assure it will do the job right.

Obviously, the higher the SPF factor, the more protection from the harmful sun rays.

Remember to apply enough sunscreen for the full effect and apply 30 minutes before exposure and every two hours thereafter.

Try and get some sun on the skin every day but always before ten in the morning and after four in the afternoon if you have a concern that lack of sun may create a Vitamin D deficiency in your body.

Protect yourself from the sun even on a cloudy day.