Tag Archives: sunblock

  • 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.

  • 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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