SUNSCREEN - the fountain of youth



It's officially summer -- I really hope you are wearing sunscreen -- everyday!  I know, you need vitamin D, you work inside, you hate how 'good' sunscreen won't rub in. I have spent years finding sunscreens that do not suck because it is literally the most important thing you can do to prevent burns, skin cancer and wrinkles. I think if you understand a little more about sunscreen it will help. You can roll your eyes, my kids did at dinner when I gave my sunscreen lesson, but I also overheard my 9-year old explaining SPF to a friend at the pool later that week.


Let's play a little game, before you look below guess what percent of the sun's rays are blocked by SPF 15, 30, 50 and 100. Are you ready for the answers? They may be surprising:

  • SPF 15    blocks 93% of the suns rays

  • SPF  30   blocks 97% of the suns rays

  • SPF  50   blocks 98% of the suns rays

  • SPF  100 blocks 99% of the suns rays

As you can see, the high numbers on some sunscreens can be misleading. Really any broad -spectrum product containing SPF 30 or higher will provide excellent protection from sunburn, skin cancer and pre-mature aging. 


To get directly to the point, physical blocks, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the preferred sun protection ingredients of dermatologists and estheticians. These products act like Wonder Woman's bracelets and deflect the UV rays so they don't penetrate the skin. Formulations have come a long way and there are now many cosmetically elegant options. Say goodbye to the white paste of the past.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, actually absorb UV radiation and then slowly break it down.  You may have heard that Hawaii recently banned 2 of the most popular chemical sunscreen ingredients: oxybenzone and octinoxate. These ingredients are found in over 70% of sunscreen sold in the US.  

The banned ingredients have been found to deform coral larvae, damage coral DNA and leach nutrients leaving the coral bleached white. Rest assured that all of the sunscreen we carry  at Orange Poppy is reef-friendly - after all, I love Hawaii 🌺


Another question we often hear: "My make-up has SPF, isn't that enough?" The simple answer is no. There is just not enough active ingredient in the formulation. In the end, you are left with a false sense of security. We recommend treating make-up as an extra layer of protection to help with any spots you may have missed with your sunscreen. It is also a convenient way to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Please understand layering SPFs is not additive. 2 layers of SPF 30 does not make SPF 60 but it can make a thorough application of SPF 30. 


My favorite extra/back-up sunscreen that is super easy to apply is Osmosis Skincare UV Protection Harmonized H2O drinkable sunscreen. I have used it for years with great success. The simplest way to explain this product, is that it works like noise canceling headphones. Dr. Ben Johnson has developed a way to imprint water with unique, vibrational waves. After ingesting the water these frequencies vibrate on your skin in such a way as to cancel out 97% of UVA & UVB rays achieving similar results to a topical SPF 30. Wacky, but it works for most people.  It is not recommended if you are taking any medicine that increases sun sensitivity (which is everything including birth-control and ibuprofen.) I like to think of it as an awesome back-up to topical sunscreen and an easy way to reapply to the kids. Just 5 squirts of water every 3-hours.
Sunscreen often seems like a necessary evil. Sunscreen is quite literally a fountain of youth! At Orange Poppy, we have spent years finding sun protection we actually like and use on ourselves. Come check it out. Our skin care team is happy to help you find the right protection so you can enjoy the summer sun, worry free!


Dana Stillman