The SUN is here and so is confusion about using plants for sun protection. I would like to simplify this topic as much as I can in just a few paragraphs. Jeannie from Beauty Heroes often refers to me as ‘unapologetic’ when its comes to my own relationship with and understanding of whole plant science. That said, when I think of or rely on botanical spf, there is a deep understanding of plants coupled with common sense that I rely on to determine my intimate and personal beauty rituals. I encourage you to explore what this means to you, while also using your own common sense; and most importantly INTUITION: because what is best for your individual skin health is unique only to you. I speak from an intimate perception of whole plants as beings as well as years of clinical research, studies, and findings. I speak from my own experience with applying botanicals topically, as well as the experience of hundreds of skin care professionals who covet our products for sun care. And most importantly, I speak from the shared stories by you: our customers, of your adventures pre, during and post SUN with our products. And from all of that, I share these brief insights into sun care with you…
SUN COMMON SENSE
One of my favorite things to think about myself, as well as to share, is that the Sun’s rays themselves are NOT damaging free radicals. Instead, it is how our body responds to them that can be harmful. Our body can inflame, and then produce free radicals when exposed to an uncomfortable amount of sun. This is evident because you might notice that sometimes you respond differently to the sun than other times. If you are feeling under the weather with a weakened immune system or you haven’t been eating as healthy as you normally do, then you should wear more sun protection than you normally would. Your nutrition plays a large role in how your skin responds to the sun’s rays. If I’m feeling particularly healthy, I might choose to wear less physical block, because every aspect of my health plays a part in how my body responds to the sun’s rays.
I also love to think about ‘sun burn’ as my body’s communication to me about when its had too much sun. Sunscreen or sunblock is essentially ‘turning off’ your body’s communication, which tells you when its had enough sun. Sometimes it can be good and necessary to turn off that communication – when you are on vacation for example – because excessive sun exposure is something we relish in! But on an everyday basis, it might be good to at least consider that you are ‘turning off’ a way that your body is communicating with you. This ‘turning off’ applies to chemical sunscreens as well as Zinc, the healthy alternative. It’s also interesting to consider that sunscreens don’t block ALL types of UV and infrared rays, and these rays are more harmful to us when isolated or fractionated, since that is not full spectrum as nature intended. Fortunately, plants do not work physically by isolating or fractionating types of rays; they instead only work by supporting the health of our skin and how it responds to oxidative stress.
A botanical SPF is a plant or type of antioxidant that has been clinically researched and proven to provide protection against UV damage. Since the quality and antioxidant content of plant material cannot be closely monitored by the FDA, they therefore cannot be approved SPF drugs. However, since I trust in plants fully and have a high level of understanding of how they work, how important sourcing and quality is, and how my body works – I choose to rely on them more often than FDA approved SPF drugs. I enjoy relying on those plants for daily use, but I do work in Zinc when I need to. The great thing about ‘botanical SPF’ is that it’s really just antioxidants and beneficial plants, so there is no downside whatsoever to your skin’s health by clogging pores or causing breakouts, and it doesn’t ‘turn off’ your body’s communication with you. There is no downside to applying them before bedtime either! They very simply work by strengthening the health of your skin so that it can handle UV rays in a more healthy way.
Trying out botanical spf is really so personal and specific to each individual. I definitely wouldn’t recommend just jumping off the Zinc Sunscreen wagon when you are out for a run on bright sunny day or on a beach vacation. But I would highly recommend exploring your comfort level to what this topic means to you, and try skipping the sunscreen on days where you just have a short walk to your car and back. Localized Vitamin D production actually helps to prevent photo damage , so in that sense your skin will thank you! The health of my own skin is one of the most important things to me, and I know that wearing Zinc on days when I don’t need to is not doing my skin health or appearance any favors. That said, I would never spend a Hawaiian beach day with out Zinc, or head out on a sunny California hike without it either. I think Plants, Antioxidants, and Zinc all have a very important place in the beauty world today; so for me its about balance. If skipping your Zinc sunscreen is too scary for you, then simply try supplementing your sun care routine with high quality botanical antioxidants.
MY OWN SUMMER FAVORITES
I rely heavily on antioxidants in my skin care routine during the summer months to help keep UV damage at bay. My daily summer skin care routine is: Oily/Combo Cleanser, Oily/Combo Elixir, and I can’t live without our Sun Damage Repair Serum all summer long. I use the Sun Damage Repair Serum from our line morning and night, to prevent damage throughout the day as well as repair any overexposure I received that day. It is incredibly high in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Carotenoids, and a whole plethora of other phenolic compounds essential for repairing and preventing UV Damage. For masks, our Brighten Mask is remarkably effective for hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Lastly, if I do have to head out in the sun for a long time, and need a physical block, then I reach for Josh Rosebrook’s Tinted Sunscreen – it pretty much lives in my hiking / travel bag – right there with my hat and water bottle! And for my body, I use our Sun Body Oil, with similar botanical ingredients to our Sun Damage Facial Serum, it prevents and repairs; and if necessary I use Badger Sunscreen over it. If using both, antioxidant rich oils should always be applied first, underneath a Zinc sunscreen.
* One more important thing to share : As I mentioned above, the quality and antioxidant content of the ingredient is of the utmost importance for botanical spf. I would NEVER recommend trying it as a DIY, or even thinking that one brand’s Coconut Oil might be the same as another’s. The formulator has to have a deep understanding of sourcing, phytochemistry, and how antioxidant levels vary from source to source.