I was invited a few months back, to a skincare talk with GR8SKN Skincare and creator Dr Janine Ellenberger, but sadly being Durban-based and not having much notice, I wasn’t able to attend. However, I was able to put together a list of questions (thank you to everyone who sent me their questions!), and Dr Ellenberger very generously answered them all for me. She’s a huge advocate for healthy products with no nasty chemicals or preservatives, and all of her products are also cruelty free.
I also recently received a few of the GR8SKN products (I’m already a fan of their multi-use ALT oil), and one of them was SCREEN. With an SPF 30, and SCREEN is a physical sunscreen, packed with minerals an anti-oxidants. Not only is the sunscreen good for your skin, it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, as well as infrared light and blue light.
I’m pretty fussy when it comes to facial sunscreens – they mustn’t feel greasy, they mustn’t leave a white caste to the skin, and my makeup must sit nicely on top. So far, even after using it only for a week, I can say that even though the sunscreen applies white at first, it melts into the skin leaving little to no white residue. It isn’t greasy, it smells lovely and is hydrating AND my makeup sits on it beautifully.
You can purchase GR8SKN skincare products in Dischem stores nationwide and online HERE.
Carry on reading to learn more about SPF and suncare, and right at the end is a GIVEAWAY where 3 of you can win a hamper from GR8SKN worth over R1000!
WHY SHOULD I WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY?
Because it prevents skin cancer, skin ageing and hyper pigmentation!
UVA rays are present all year round; they are long rays that are responsible for light. They reach your skin even when you are inside. It’s important to wear sunscreen to block these rays because UVA rays are responsible for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, as well as premature ageing. These are the rays we do not feel, so we need to be more aware of them.
We feel UVB rays which are the rays responsible for sunburn – so we generally protect against these which are prevalent in the spring and summer in higher quantities. These also cause ageing and superficial skin cancers like Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer.
WHAT STRENGTH SHOULD I BE WEARING IN OUR SOUTH AFRICAN CLIMATE? DO I WEAR A DIFFERENT STRENGTH ON MY FACE TO MY BODY?
SPF 15 (94% protection) for daily use and SPF 30 (96% protection) for outdoor use is generally recognised as proper protection. You may want to increase the SPF for people with particularly sun-sensitive skin, like babies. We do not need a sunscreen above SPF 50 as this provides enough of the 99% sun protection. You would wear the same SPF on your face and your body.
WHAT DOES THE NUMBER STAND FOR (I.E. SPF 50)?
The SPF number is a multiplication factor based on how long your skin will stay protected. If you can safely stay in the sun for 10 minutes without sunscreen, an SPF 30 will protect you for 30 times as long (or 5 hours, in this example). However, the catch is that you still need to reapply your SPF 30 every 2 hours as the sunscreen itself is ineffective!
DO I HAVE TO WEAR AN SPF IF IT’S OVERCAST OR IN WINTER?
YES! UVA rays are present all year round (even in the winter); they are long rays that are responsible for light and can penetrate through clouds. They reach your skin even when you are inside. It’s important to wear sunscreen to block these rays because UVA rays are responsible for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
DOES CONSISTENCY MAKE A DIFFERENCE (I.E. SPRAY, OIL, LOTION)?
We do not recommend spray sunscreens. While we do understand they are convenient and quick, you should know that the chemicals in sunscreens are not meant to be airborne and thus inhaled. Even the safest sunscreen ingredients (minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide) should not be applied in a spray form, due to risk of inhalation.
SOME SKINS DON’T AGREE WITH REGULAR SUNSCREENS – WHAT CAUSES THE REACTION AND WHAT CAN THEY USE INSTEAD?
Many sunscreens have filler fragrances that can cause rashes for sensitive skin and even increased sun sensitivity. Avoid sunscreens that have “fragrance” listed on the ingredients panel.
Also, chemical sunscreens (that use ingredients like ALL the Benzones, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octocrylene) can cause adverse reactions when UV rays come into contact with them: the chemicals absorb free radicals from the sun and discharge them into your skin, causing reactions. This can cause redness, a rash, bumps and irritation. Even if your skin doesn’t react to this process, it’s still a big contributor of skin inflammation and should be avoided, as inflammation is the base of disease and cancers.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHEMICAL AND A PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN? AND WHICH IS MORE EFFECTIVE?
Chemical sunscreens use chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, etc. to absorb sun’s rays in the skin and neutrals them. They simultaneously also discharge free radicals from the chemicals and sun into your skin, causing microscopic inflammation. So they reduce the surface burn but there is underlying inflammation.
Both of these things are the opposite of sunscreen’s major goal. Instead, physical sunscreens use minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide that lay on the surface of the skin and block UV rays. These minerals are safe for your skin, and they provide much better protection than chemical sunscreens. The ideal sunscreen MUST contain Multiple Anti-Oxidants, to reduce the effect of the free radicals and combat the microscopic inflammation.
I KNOW THAT TOO MUCH SUN CAN CAUSE SKIN CANCER BUT AREN’T THE CHEMICALS IN SUNSCREENS DANGEROUS TOO?
Yes. One theory is that the higher concentration of chemicals in sunscreens has added to the increase in skin cancer prevalence. Avoid chemical sunscreens. A good rule of thumb is to avoid sunscreens with ingredients that end in -benzone or -salate. Instead, look for active ingredients zinc and/or titanium dioxide.
DO PEOPLE WITH DARKER SKINS HAVE TO WEAR AN SPF THAT’S AS HIGH AS THE NECESSARY ONE FOR FAIR SKINS?
That would seem to make sense because darker skin contains more melanin which is a natural protectant. However, we see no need to risk it. UVA rays do not cause sunburns so it’s difficult to tell when you’ve had too much UVA exposure. Remember that UVA rays are responsible for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Skin cancer in darker skins is way more aggressive and is often not picked up until very far into the disease process. Bob Marley died of melanoma at aged 32 years. Darker skin needs SPF just as much as lighter skin.
Very importantly, the darker your skin, the higher the risk for hyper pigmentation and post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation (after scratching a bite or picking a pimple). SPF protects against this.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD ONE REAPPLY SUNSCREEN?
Generally every 2 hours. More often if you are swimming or sweating. Mineral make-up plays a big role here. Applying this over sunscreen is very effective.
WHY DO SO MANY SUNSCREENS HAVE A WHITE CASTE TO THEM, AND IF A SUNSCREEN DOESN’T HAVE THIS, IS IT LESS EFFECTIVE?
Generally, the white cast comes from minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide. The effectiveness of the sunscreen isn’t based on the white cast or lack thereof; the effectiveness should be judged by the SPF and the active ingredients and anti-oxidants listed. Look for zinc and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
IS THERE AN EASY WAY (I.E. LOOKING AT INGREDIENTS) TO SEE IF A SUNSCREEN WON’T BE GREASY OR WHITE AND AFFECT MAKEUP ON TOP?
Read the ingredients and make friends with a white tint to a sunscreen. They are the healthiest. Sunscreens with ingredients like dimethicone, silicone, capric triglyceride, oleic acid etc will be greasy and can cause breakouts. Find a mineral-based sunscreen that you know will be safe for your skin and try it out!
Being sun-wise is MUCH, much more than using the best sunscreen. Know when to avoid the sun altogether (if your shadow is shorter than you are, UV rays are the strongest and most dangerous). Use shade and umbrellas. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Wear sun hats with wide brims. Remember to reapply your sunscreen often.
The lovely folks at GR8SKN Skincare have decided to give away a hamper to 3 of my lucky readers, that includes the following: –
CLEANSE (a beautiful clay-based cleanser – low PH, non-drying and pore-refining)
HYDRATE (a vitamin-packed moisturiser for all skin types)
SCREEN (physical sunscreen with SPF 30)
Each hamper is valued at R1064!
Check out the Rafflecopter below to get those entries in.
Terms and conditions apply. Winners are drawn at random using software and contacted via email. Winners have three months to claim their prize and Sponsors have up to six weeks to deliver prizes. Prizes are non-transferable and may not be redeemed for cash.