SPF 101

SPF 101

Do you feel confused about Sunscreen and what is truly a safe option? So do a lot of people, but don't worry. We are here to help. Here at Ash + Stone Skincare, we get asked all the time when we will be releasing our own SPF and we wish we had a date or timeline to give you all, but I (Ashton) have pretty strong feelings about SPF and how it should be made that I am not willing to create a subpar or untested product for you. I firmly believe, in order to claim a product as a true SPF or sunscreen, it needs to be throughly tested and proven to be effective at whatever level of UV protection it claims to offer. This process is though the FDA and is very expensive and time consuming. Until Ash + Stone is in the place financially and has the time to do that, it is not something in our near plans. We dream about being able to do so in the distant future, but until then, we want to share options that are both safe, clean, mineral based and tested for you all. I would never personally put an SPF on my skin that I wasn't 100% confident in, so let's dive into why you need SPF, when to use it and some of our favorite brands. 

What is SPF and how does it work?

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures the level of protection a sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. The higher the SPF number, the greater the protection. SPF works by extending the time it takes for your skin to burn compared to not wearing sunscreen at all.

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays, there are two forms of SPF to chose: mineral SPF and chemical SPF. 


What are Mineral Sunscreens?

Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, contain active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting the sun's rays away from the skin. 


What are Chemical Sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens, contain compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. These compounds work by absorbing the sun's rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from the skin. 


Key Differences

One of the main differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens is how they protect the skin. Mineral sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection by physically blocking both UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreens may only protect against either UVA or UVB rays. Additionally, mineral sunscreens are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions compared to chemical sunscreens.

Another key difference is the environmental impact. Chemical sunscreens have been linked to coral bleaching and damage to marine ecosystems, while mineral sunscreens are considered reef-safe and environmentally friendly.

Chemical sunscreens are also proven to have endocrine disrupting chemicals and ingredients within their formulas, making it not the best chose for those trying to live a toxic free lifestyle. Mineral SPFs are absolutely the more holistic and cleaner choice. 

Why you need SPF

When it comes to skincare, one of the most important steps you can take is to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a crucial element in any skincare routine. We also know that vitamin D is also super important, so we will talk about WHEN to use SPF as well.

Here are four reasons why you need to wear SPF every day:

1. Can Prevents Skin Cancer

Did you know that wearing SPF daily can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by up to 50%? Sunscreen helps to block harmful UV rays that can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. By applying SPF regularly, you are taking a proactive step in protecting your skin from this serious disease.

2. Reduces Premature Aging

Exposure to the sun's UV rays can accelerate the aging process, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. By wearing SPF daily, you can help prevent premature aging and keep your skin looking youthful and healthy for longer. Studies have shown that using sunscreen can reduce the signs of aging by up to 24%. Here at Ash + Stone Skincare, we believe in graceful aging and stepping into our age and wisdom that comes with aging, with grace and dignity. That doesn't mean that we should not try to protect our skins natural aging. 

3. Prevents Sunburn

No one enjoys the pain and discomfort of a sunburn. Sunscreen helps to prevent sunburn by blocking the UV rays that cause skin redness and irritation. By applying SPF regularly, you can enjoy time outdoors without worrying about getting burned. That means, in the summer especially, if you are going to be outside for more than 20 minutes, be prepared to keep layering that mineral SPF. 

4. Maintains Even Skin Tone

UV exposure can lead to uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. By wearing SPF daily, you can help prevent dark spots and discoloration, keeping your skin looking smooth and even. SPF is essential for maintaining a healthy complexion and preventing skin damage and can serve as a skin barrier protectant in the winter against the harsh cold and strong winds.


Here is your full guide to your nontoxic SPF recommendations and our beliefs about SPF here at Ash + Stone Skincare. 


When to use SPF

When it comes to sun exposure, finding the right balance between protecting your skin with SPF and getting enough Vitamin D can be a challenge.

It is recommended to use SPF every day, even on cloudy days or during the winter months. UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and windows, causing damage to your skin. Apply a SPF daily before going outside, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. If you work from home or by a large window, it doesn't hurt to put it on inside as well. 


How can you still get adequate Vitamin D?

While SPF is important for protecting your skin, it can also block the UVB rays needed for your body to produce Vitamin D. To make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D, spend some time in the sun without sunscreen. Experts recommend getting 10-30 minutes of direct sun a few times a week. This is easiest to do in the morning, when the UV rays are at their lowest, plus the morning light is a vibe! This will allow your body to produce Vitamin D without SPF blocking. You only need about 10 minutes of exposer a day to create the  mount of Vitamin D your body needs. 


Some of my favorite brands. 

My top picks:

Suntegrity: https://a.co/d/7FHMz0q

Kinfield: https://a.co/d/bxBFfYX

Avocado Zinc: https://avocadozinc.com.au/ 

Others brands I've heard GREAT things about and approve of. 

Beauty by Earth: https://a.co/d/0yFdlNd 

Earth Harbor: https://a.co/d/eqm0xLr

Badger: https://a.co/d/frD6X79

URSA Major: https://shop-good.co/product/force-field-spf-30/

Salt & Stone: https://www.saltandstone.com/products/lightweight-sheer-daily-sunscreen-spf-40#undefined

Linne' Beauty: https://linnebotanicals.com/products/protect-mineral-sunscreen

 - Ashton 

CEO and Founder of Ash and Stone Skincare LLC and Certified Skincare Formulator. 

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