Sun Protection

If you're on the hunt for the best natural sunscreen, Pharmaca's Project Wellness blog offers the most comprehensive resources on choosing the right one for you. Pharmaca offers a wide variety of natural sun protection, from mineral sunblocks to SPF-rich makeup to kid-friendly organic sunscreens. We'll give you the studies and information that can help you make an informed choice when choosing your all natural sunscreen, whether you're confused about choosing the right SPF or finding one that offers tinted coverage. Don't let the sun do any more damage to your skin! Finding the best natural sunscreen is a snap with our extensive product information.

  • FDA's New Sunscreen Rules About to Go Into Effect

    The FDA’s new sunscreen labeling regulations take effect this summer. Announced last year, FDA is hoping this labeling overhaul will help users make more informed decisions about choosing the right sun protection. (Here’s a link to FDA’s answers to frequently asked questions on the topic.)

    Here’s a round up of the changes we’ll be seeing because of the new regulations:

    • Only sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB rays can be labeled "broad-spectrum"
    • Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer of early skin aging. Products with lower SPFs can only claim to prevent sunburn.
    • Sunscreens cannot be labeled “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” or be called “sunblocks,” since the FDA feels these labels overstate the product’s effectiveness.
    • If sunscreens claim to be water resistant, they must state for how long it will be resistant while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing.
    • All sunscreens must now include a Drug Facts panel on the label, including moisturizers and cosmetics.

    We hope that these new regulations will indeed make it easier for consumers to choose their sunscreen. Ask a Pharmaca practitioner if you have further questions about the new labeling. (And check out our brand new sunscreen lines for every need.)

  • New Sun Care Products at Pharmaca

    We’ve just added a few new sun care products we think you’re going to love. Here’s a little about some of our favorites.

    Best for: Backyard Gatherings
    Badger SPF 30+ Anti-Bug Sunscreen
    Badger’s well-loved sun care line now includes the handy addition of bug repellant! This new formula includes bug-repelling essential oils like citronella, rosemary and geranium, as well as broad-spectrum protection from zinc oxide. A must for camping trips and afternoon BBQs.
    Best for: Giving Back
    Thinksport LIVESTRONG SPF 50+ sunscreen
    These active sunscreens earned a top ranking from EWG’s Cosmetics Database for their mineral-based, non-chemical protection—that goes on and absorbs easily. Plus, each purchase goes toward LIVESTRONG’s fight against cancer.
    Best for: Sweaty Activities
    Kiss My Face Sport Spray SPF 50
    This good-smelling spray is easy to apply and lasts through even the sweatiest activities (just make sure you reapply often!). Formulated with Hydresia, nature’s moisturizer extracted from safflower seeds, which provides controlled release of its ultra-moisturizing properties.
    Best for: On the Beach
    Eco Logical Skin Care’s All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+
    Combine mineral protection with nourishing jojoba, shea butter, cucumber extract and rosehip oil and you’ve got a sunscreen that not only shields your skin but also helps repair sun damage. Eco is also the official sunscreen of the Surfrider Foundation because its natural ingredients make it safer for preserving marine environments (and Eco gives 3% of their net profits back to Surfrider). A Pharmaca staff pick!
    Best for: Quick Applications
    Kinesys SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
    These easy-to-apply sprays also come in travel sizes, making them ideal for a purse or beach bag. Available in fragrance free—best for sensitive skin and kids—or with a light mango scent.
  • More on the FDA's new sunscreen rules

    We talked last year about the FDA’s new sunscreen labeling rules <> , which will fully go into effect in June 2013.

    The new regulations also state that only sunblocks with an SPF rating of 15 or higher can claim that they help prevent sunburn or skin cancer. Finally, sunscreens can no longer be labeled waterproof or sweatproof, and instead will need to state the minutes for which the product is “

  • New study shows vitamin A key to preventing melanoma

    Another reason to get your vitamin A: A recent study showed that people taking a vitamin A supplement were 60 percent less likely to develop melanoma.

    The study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in March, followed nearly 70,000 adults for six years. At the end of the study, 566 had developed melanoma; 506 of those had never taken vitamin A supplements. Among the 5,800 people who were currently taking vitamin A (and had used it regularly over the previous decade), there were only 28 cases.

    The study also showed that vitamin A’s protective effects are more pronounced in women than men, possibly because women have more natural antioxidant protection in their skin than do men.

    It’s important to note the study found that the melanoma risk was most reduced for participants who took high doses of the vitamin. But experts warn that there are limits to how much people should consume, since too much vitamin can lead to birth defects, liver problems and bone loss. The current RDA for vitamin A is 700 mcg for adult women and 900 mcg for adult men. Vitamin A is also found in foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, milk and eggs.

    Of course, vitamin A consumption is just one step in reducing melanoma risk. Proper sun protection is also vital to avoiding skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 76,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, leading to more than 9,000 deaths. So limit sun exposure, and protect yourself with good mineral sunblock from Pharmaca!

  • What Does the "SPF" Number Really Mean?

    With summer in full swing and ski season fast approaching, you'll still find piles of sunscreen available at most pharmacies and grocery stores. Experts have been talking about the danger of sun exposure for decades now, and there certainly is an abundance of sun protection products on the market, all claiming to give you the sun protection you need. While you may know that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, what does the SPF number really mean? Does SPF 100 really protect you better than SPF 30?

    Here's how it works. SPF's are determined by testing artificial UV (ultra violet) radiation in a laboratory. Volunteers come to the lab and have their skin exposed to artificial sunlight to see how long it takes for their skin to burn. Then, sunscreen is applied to the volunteer's skin and he/she is again exposed to artificial UV radiation.

    The SPF is determined by dividing the amount of radiation required to burn with sunscreen by the amount required to burn without sunscreen. So the SPF number really is a standard for how long you can tolerate sun without burning. If you can withstand sun exposure for ten minutes without burning, then an SPF of 30 would allow you to spend 300 minutes in the sun before burning. An SPF of 15 would allow you to be able to withstand sun exposure for 150 minutes before burning. (Learn more about the FDA's new rules about labeling sunscreens, especially with regard to SPF claims.)

    Your sunscreen should protect your skin from dangerous UV rays, but it should also be safe. Take a look at our Pharmaca's entire line of natural sunscreen products and rest assured that we offer the safest, most effective sunscreens on the market.

  • High praise for mineral sunscreen

    The question just seems to keep coming up--how do I choose which sunscreen is right for me? Are there mineral sunscreens that won't turn my skin white? In a recent article in Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper, Camille Capone, an esthetician at our North Boulder store, helped suss out what's best.

    "Mineral sunscreens actually create a seal on the skin that reflects the sun," Camille said. That means less absorption, better reflection and, unlike chemical sunscreens, you don't have to apply them 30 minutes before being in the sun. She loves Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30.

    The Environmental Working Group has long been preaching about the safety and effectiveness of mineral sunscreens, and the article cites new nanotechnologies that are making minerals lighter and more invisible on the skin.

    So don't be daunted by the white skin--if you haven't tried a mineral sunscreen yet, stop in to Pharmaca to speak with an esthetician about the latest and greatest in mineral sun protection.

  • FDA announces new sunscreen labeling rules

    The Food & Drug Administration revised its 33-year-old rules on sunscreen labeling this week, mandating that sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB radiation before they can be labeled "broad spectrum."

    The new regulations also state that only sunblocks with an SPF rating of 15 or higher can claim that they help prevent sunburn or skin cancer. Finally, sunscreens can no longer be labeled waterproof or sweatproof, and instead will need to state the minutes for which the product is "water-resistant."

    A New York Times article about the new rules explained that the FDA is also undertaking further testing of the safety of current sunscreen ingredients and seeking further comment about the necessity and efficacy of SPFs over 50.

    Want more important information about the dos and don'ts of sunscreen? Join our Practice Safe Sun Campaign on Facebook.

  • New reasons to keep your sunblock natural

    According to a new article in Women’s Health magazine, some common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens could be not only dangerous to your skin, but also to the bodies of water you’re swimming in.

    “Twenty thousand tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers, divers, and surfers into the oceans every year, eventually affecting marine life, according to a 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives,” says the article.

    The offending chemicals? Octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives, commonly found in sunscreens, can kill hard corals, eventually disrupting the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. If you want to steer clear of these chems (for coral's sake!), Women’s Health recommends Alba’s Mineral Sunblock, a Pharmaca favorite.

    Other interesting tidbits from the article:

    Replace your sunblock often. While most products are made to last up to three years, if they’re baking in the sun or in a hot car, there’s a good chance they’ve lost some efficacy. Our estheticians often recommend replacing your sun care every year no matter what.

    Certain nutrition can actually increase your natural sun protection. The article cites a study in the British Journal of Dermatology that researched the power of the antioxidant lycopene (found in fruits like watermelon and tomatoes).  Women whose diet included 16 mg of lycopene every day for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the damage created by UVA and UVB rays. So keep eating your fruits and veggies--and keep slathering on that good sunblock.

  • Just say no to white legs

    A few months ago, jane iredale came out with a new self-tanner that works to make skin tanner in just a few days: Tantasia. We here at the Pharmaca offices have fallen in love with this good-smelling, non-streaky bronzer that really does add a few shades to our skin (that's still pale from covering up during this long spring).

    Grab a tube, then follow directions straight from iredale's youtube channel:

  • Own sun care products lauded by Real Simple

    Discover Own Bio-Activating Skincare, now in Pharmaca stores!

    Real Simple magazine just lauded the Own Active Block Ball for its great protection, safe ingredients and innovate application method. Discover Own's other sun and skincare products at Pharmaca or online here.

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