On many occasions we have been asked why we haven’t yet produced our own sunscreen or use SPF in our products. Great question, and there are a couple of reasons:
Sunscreen is designed to keep you from harm as it protects your skin from UVA (aging) rays, UVB (burning) rays. Our first challenge is finding raw ingredients that do this, that are safe, and also meet our definition of natural.
A number of chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that are not only considered unsafe by our standards, but more importantly in the scientific community as well. Petroleum by-products such as fragrance (see phthalates) or propylene glycol (see petrochemicals) have been extensively researched and linked to a number of health related issues such as cancer and birth defects. On top of that in order to provide adequate broad range protection chemical sunscreens require two to three active ingredients as one isn’t adequate.
Natural or physical sunscreens must have one of two active ingredients, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Both of which are natural minerals that provide a broad range of protection. Neither is free from scientific debate as concerns are linked to toxicity to living cells and the environment.
The good news is that as consumer demand grows, manufacturers are producing safer raw ingredients. In addition to the ingredient challenge is the extensive testing requirements from Health Canada. Quite rightly, Health Canada requires a clinical trial to ensure that the product is effective in meeting the claims, i.e. that it protects your skin from the sun. A sunscreen is not just claiming to be therapeutic; it is claiming to protect you from harm. This is a significant difference and one we do not take lightly. The clinical trial can last up to two years and requires a large amount of resources.
If you are in the market for a natural sunscreen, rest assured that Health Canada does assign a Natural Product Number (NPN), Drug Identification Number (DIN), or Drug Identification Number for Homeopathic Medicine (DIN-HM) on all approved products. In order to ensure you are buying a safe and effective product make sure to look for these numbers. Having said that, all natural sunscreens do tend to leave your skin a little white as the active ingredients don’t absorb completely into your skin.
If you do happen to get a burn while out in the sun, or from the stove top, don’t be shy to try our sunburn soother, it is a very effective 100% natural skin healer.