Sunscreen SPF – serving or sabotaging??

June 30, 2021 ✨ Cattail Life

Sunscreen SPF – serving or sabotaging??

Hey girl, what's your number? 😉

...Your SPF number?


Do you have several different sunscreen SPF numbers in your cabinet that you choose from based on the activity you're about to embark upon?

Or maybe you determine which to grab based on whether you're going to the beach, on a bike ride, or down to the park for a bit?

You know why you do that?

We've been programmed to think the higher the SPF value, the better the protection from the sun's UV rays.

Our theme inside My Cattail Club for June was "Adventure" and our masterclass focused on safe sun exposure -- specifically unpacking what amount of sun exposure we need and at what time of day; how to avoid sunburns; sunscreens - what to avoid and what to get; and the myths about SPFs.

Today we're sharing a peek inside those SPF myths with you.

Okay, so first, a good sunscreen will provide equal broad-spectrum protection for both UVA and UVB rays.

However, the SPF value reflects only how well a product will protect from UVB rays, the main cause of sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma.

SPF values do not reflect a product’s ability to protect from UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply and are associated with skin aging and cancer.

Aaaand, here's the deal with SPF numbers...

This number is supposed to represent how many times longer a person can stay in the sun. In other words, if a person would normally burn in 5 minutes, an SPF 20 should extend this window to 100 minutes.

Unfortunately, they're unreliable because the test method companies are required to use to determine a product’s SPF value is, well, in Janelle words, #ugh.

The test methods require someone to determine a change in the skin redness of a small handful of human participants exposed to UV light in a lab. These results may differ based on the evaluator, testing instrumentation or participant skin type.

When Procter & Gamble tested a competitor’s SPF 100 product at five different labs, the results varied from SPF 37 to SPF 75.

Look, when you tell me 100, I expect that to mean 100. Not 37. Not 75. And certainly not, "well, it's anywhere between 37-75." Just sayin'.

Products with SPF values greater than 50+ also tend to give users a false sense of security. High SPF sunscreens not only overpromise protection but, according to the FDA, may also overexpose consumers to UVA rays (because this becomes the only measure people take to support their skin in the midst of sun exposure) and raise their risk of cancer.

Additionally, sunscreens come as either chemical-based or mineral-based. Wanna guess which is harmful for your body and which supports your health in the midst of healthy and fun sun exposure? 😉

Great news - all our Summer Adventure boxes include all-natural, reef-friendly, water resistant sunblock featuring non-toxic and non-comedogenic ingredients. That's right, no artificial anything.


PS - did you SEE how cute the carabiner is on the TSA-approved travel-sized sunscreen?! Snag your Summer Adventure box while they're here!

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