I have been meaning to write about this topic for a while now. I thought that as we finish one year and move into another, it was a good time to discuss this tricky, yet important topic. Yes, I know — we usually talk about sunscreen when we’re getting closer to the summer, but I think it’s always good to remind ourselves that sunscreen is needed all year long.
First, let’s talk about the Sun in the winter months here in Canada. It’s true that we generally don’t spend as much time outside in the winter. The shorter days significantly contribute to this behaviour. Not only that, but when we do go outside, we are much more bundled up. What we need to remember is that the snow reflects as much as 80% of the Sun’s rays, which is actually more than the sand on a beach or the surface of the water.1 So when we are outdoors for prolonged periods of time enjoying all those fun winter activities, we still need to apply our protective sunscreen for the parts of us that are still exposed — our faces.
I am pleased to let you know that Face Addiction creams do contain a natural sun-filtering ingredient: shea butter. Shea butter is well documented to offer a natural sun filter equivalent to about SPF 6. While not sufficient for prolonged exposure, this is enough to provide you with your ‘city filter’, or just enough for your usual day-to-day activities. Many plants contain natural sunscreens; however, they are not recognized by Health Canada and are not approved as active ingredients for sunscreens. According to Health Canada, natural sunscreens are classified as natural health products (NHPs) if they contain natural medicinal ingredients (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide or 4-aminobenzoic acid only). Traditional sunscreens are considered drugs, and as such, require a drug identification number (DIN) if they contain any of the approved chemical ingredients.2
As a natural, botanical brand, Face Addiction promotes the use of naturally derived actives, including sunscreens. For prolonged exposure to the Sun, sunscreens that are mineral-based natural (physical) formulations are what we recommend. There is just one thing — Face Addiction does not offer a dedicated sunscreen product. There is a good reason for this.
We strongly believe in providing Canadian-made, healthy skin care that works, and that’s what we are good at. We are focused on our mission as a company and we know who we are. Sunscreen is a very important part of healthy skin, but we feel that it truly is a category all on its own. Sunscreen products should be unique in their formulations for the purpose of the application — in other words, one product doesn’t necessarily cover all the bases. There are several companies that have made designing mineral-based natural (physical) sunscreens their mission and are doing it very well! We are so happy to recommend these companies to our customers and Stockists. We feel that by promoting these products, we are actually offering a better service. We feel good about supporting other natural-focused companies with values that mirror the values of Face Addiction.
This leads me to the main point of this post. In my opinion, and in Face Addiction’s philosophy, the type of sunscreens we prefer and recommend for prolonged exposure in the Sun should be applied on top of your skin care, and should not be in your skin care. In other words, we believe that sunscreens and skin care make better neighbours than roommates.
Let me break down the reasons for this recommendation. The medicinal ingredients approved by Health Canada for NHP sunscreens are physical sunscreens, meaning they sit on the surface of the skin (unless they are nanoparticles that absorb into the skin, but offer less protection as a result). At the concentrations necessary to provide between SPF 20 and SPF 30, physical sunscreens literally block the Sun’s rays from reaching the skin by acting like mirrors, reflecting the rays away from our skin. They are larger in molecular weight then what our skin can easily absorb — and this is what we want. They are occlusive, and are not meant to absorb into the skin like the ingredients in your daily cream.
So, this raises the question: is it also possible that by the way these sunscreens work, they are also blocking other beneficial active ingredients from absorbing into the skin? We think so. It is our belief that skincare products formulated for daily use (like a cream) with physical (non-nano) sunscreens at concentrations between SPF 20 and SPF 30 can potentially impede the absorption of the active ingredients specific to your skin type. Therefore, we believe that the benefits and results of each the sunscreen and the skincare product are better experienced separately.
As you can see, it’s a tricky topic, but a very important one as well. I feel that Face Addiction has you covered (pun totally intended) two fold: by offering creams with your specific skin type in mind that include a botanical sun filter that’s enough to get you through your day, and by recommending sunscreens for prolonged sun exposure from companies who specialize in natural and botanical products that have all been approved for use by Health Canada.
My recommendations: Coola Mineral Sun Care is my ultimate fave. It is lightweight and they have so many options with different applications and formulas. You can find Coola Canada here. I also love Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, which provides the protection of SPF 20 in their pressed powder foundations. Jane Iredale products can be found at spas across Canada.