Welcome to Sunscreen Week! Today is going to be a real Science of Sunscreen post thanks to the people at Coppertone! And I’m going to share some of my faves from the brand, PLUS their new Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion!
BUT FIRST! It’s time to get HARDCORE SCIENCEY TIME my friends!
A sunscreen’s ability to protect is a function of two key factors: SPF & UVA Protection, AND the formula’s inactive ingredients that do things like make it water and sweat resistant and form the barrier film on the skin’s surface. Sunscreens form a barrier between the sun and the skin to reduce UV penetration into the skin. They literally coat you with an invisible sun protection coating.
Avobenzone is the most efficient UVA Absorber used today. But, the molecule is really unstable, and when it’s used alone in a sunscreen, it loses nearly 50 percent of its sun-screening ability after just one hour of UV exposure. So, that’s why photostabilizers have been added to sunscreens to stabilize avobenzone.
Sunscreen brands like Coppertone stabilize the avobenzone in their formulas with other ingredients. Coppertone commercialized the first photostabilized product in 2001. Pioneers they are! Coppertone avoids using incompatible ingredients, especially octinoxate. Octinoxate, a common UVB filter that’s added to sunscreens containing avobenzone, really accelerates the breakdown of unstable avobenzone. Coppertone adds other UV sunscreen actives for their photo stabilizing benefits, and also uses non-sunscreen photostabilizers too. What’s a photostabilizer?
Photostabilizers are organic compounds that help to prevent UV filters from losing their effectiveness in sunlight. Some of them help to stabilize UV filter molecules structurally which makes them less likely to want to party and participate in chemical reactions. NO PARTIES ALLOWED IN SUNSCREENS. Another type of photostabilizer protects UV filters by helping to dissipate(release) the energy from UV, and reducing or even stopping those party chemical reactions. That’s a process called energy transfer, and it takes place when the UV filter and photostabilizer molecules exchange electrons. Like an energy KISS. 😛
UV filters are then freed up to do their job of protecting the skin by absorbing the harmful rays, while the photostabilizers do the work of getting rid of the energy that causes ingredient breakdowns. SCIENCE WORKS! And now, you understand how and why sunscreens are photostabilized, and why I said yesterday that I wouldn’t go near a sunscreen that wasn’t photostable.
Ok, let’s talk Coppertone Sunscreens now! Coppertone, the sunscreen of my youth! It’s probably the first sunscreen brand I remember using in the 80s. Before that, we hardly used sunscreens, which explains why every summer, whiter than white little Tracy burned and burned and burned…seriously I’m not kidding. I’ve even had second degree sunburns, which I can tell you is NO FUN. Nope. And I don’t blame my parents, as they were immigrants and had no idea that sunscreen was a needed thing if you took your kids to the beaches of Lake Manitoba every weekend in the summer. And then one day, I discovered Coppertone and their sunscreens. Saved my skin they did, because ever since then I’ve worn sunscreen. Thank you Coppertone! 🙂
AccuSpray is a technology that Coppertone Continuous Spray products now have and it’s all about the nozzle. It gives a more targeted and thorough sunscreen application and helps to reduce overspray which I appreciate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sprayed a sunscreen on, and then slipped and slid on the tile floor. 😀 😀 Thank you Accuspray for helping me to not break a hip! Also, it has a lock function on the nozzle, which is great too if you throw it in a bag because it won’t go and spray all your clothes with sunscreen. Yup, that’s happened to me too and that’s why I usually pack sunscreen in a plastic ziplock baggie. But Coppertone Accupray LOCKS off, so I don’t have to do that anymore. WAHOO! The AccuSpray nozzle has recently been added to Coppertone Sport AccuSpray Sunscreen SPF 30 or SPF 50+, and to Coppertone AccuSpray Sunscreen SPF 30 or SPF 50(about $13.99) The Coppertone Sport AccuSpray Sunscreen has a cooling sensation when applied and I really like that. It’s sweat and water resistant too, and both have a fresh scent. They get absorbed into the skin quickly and don’t feel greasy at all.
Coppertone Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50($13.99) is the brand’s first sunscreen developed specifically for sensitive skin. It’s gentle and hypoallergenic and provides broad-spectrum UVA-UVB protection with a blend of active ingredients that includes the highest concentration of zinc oxide (14.5%) of any sunscreen in the 70 year history of Coppertone. This is the body one, but there’s also a Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Sensitive Skin Faces SPF 50 too. Since it’s a blend, it’s not as thick as some mineral sunscreens, so it rubs in a little easier. It does leave a white cast though, which again I don’t mind because I like seeing that physical barrier on my skin-makes me feel protected! Smells good too! There’s a bit of a citrus scent added which makes the sunscreen smell which I love even better!
Also, be sure to use ENOUGH sunscreen. Most people don’t apply enough to get the SPF factor protection of the sunscreen they choose. To cover and protect your whole body with sunscreen if you are going to the beach, you should be using about 30 millilitres of sunscreen — roughly one quarter of a typical bottle. Slather it on thick for the best protection. AND REAPPLY. Like say you’re golfing on a gorgeous day and you were a good sunscreen cookie and applied sunscreen before playing. YAY YOU! But when you get to that ninth hole? TIME TO REAPPLY. And don’t forget your ears! They need to be protected too! And, wear a hat-it’s a must for me now. Before I wore hats, I’d ALWYAS get a burn on my scalp at the part. It’s the worst thing I’m telling you, so now I wear a hat if I’m outside for long periods of time.
Learning is fun hey? And empowering! Especially when it’s about something as important as sunscreen. I’ve been applying sunscreen to Marky her whole life. She has NEVER had a sunburn. NEVER. She’s going to get carded at age 60 when she orders a beer I swear. Also, I used to ALWAYS put a hat on her when she was little. She never left the house without a hat. Hats and sunscreens I swear are the key to NEVER getting wrinkles and sun damage. Proof is in the Marky hahaha. 😀
What was your first sunscreen brand? And do you reapply?
UPDATE: How to check if your sunscreen is photostable:
Look at your sunscreen ingredient list and see what the active FILTER or filters are in it. Some companies are nice and list the UV filters separately with their percentages.
If your sunscreen does contain avobenzone, check to see if there is octinoxate, which like I said makes it even more unstable. Avobenzone, however, can be stabilized with octocrylene or other UV filters and stabilizers. If octinoxate is the only other active besides avobenzone, your sunscreen is not stable.
These are some commonly used photostabilizers(taken from Wikipedia)
4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (USAN Enzacamene)
Tinosorb S (USAN Bemotrizinol, INCI Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine)
Tinosorb M (USAN Bisoctrizole, INCI Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol)
Butyloctyl Salicylate (Tradename HallBrite BHB – )
HallBrite PSF (INCI UNDECYLCRYLENE DIMETHICONE) Mexoryl SX (USAN Ecamsule, INCI Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid)
Corapan TQ (INCI Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate) Parsol SLX (INCI Polysilicone-15) Oxynex ST (INCI Diethylhexyl Syringylidene Malonate Polycrylene (INCI Polyester-8) SolaStay S1 (INCI Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene)