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Chloe

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Maria from WIMJ

In the US, since 2011, sunscreens need to pass a specific test to be allowed to carry a "Broad Spectrum" sun protection label. Sounds good - but can you trust this test?

The test is performed by the manufacturer and needs to be documented (in case you were wondering, FDA does not go out and test sunscreens for labelling purposes). The "Broad Spectrum" label test is a laboratory exercise, meaning that it is not performed with real humans in real life conditions. A certain amount of a product is applied to a standard plate with texture resembling skin, is exposed to an artificial source of the UVA radiation. The amount of radiation that passes through the plate with the sunscreen on is measured. Then, a point (a wavelength) at which 90% of the product's combined UVB and UVA absorption happens is determined, and it's called a "critical wavelength". If this point is at 370 nm or lower, the sunscreen passes the test and can carry the "Broad Spectrum" label.

What the test checks in practice is whether the sunscreen offer some protection in the UVA range. It doesn't help to determine how much UVA protection is actually offered. Two sunscreens can have an identical "critical wavelength", and have an identical "Broad Spectrum" labeling, but one of them would let through about 15% of the radiation in the UVA long range, while the other one will expose the skin to double that amount (30%).

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Chloe

Sunscreen Series #001 - UVBs

Welcome to the beginning of our series!  Let’s start with the basics - UVA rays 🧐 They have the longest wavelength and account for 95% of UV rays that reach the earth 🌎 

Research shows that the sun is responsible for about 80% of facial aging (you can slow it down!) & UVA rays are the main UV rays responsible for premature aging and wrinkles 🔬☀️

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Maria from WIMJ

Lightweight sunscreen that offers strong broad spectrum protection while seamlessly sinking into the skin and being totally invisible is a dream of any daily sunscreen wearer. More and more brands release "ultra light" formulas, and every skincare influencer seems to be on a quest to find the lightest one.

There might be a problem with this approach. To offer a proper protection, a sunscreen needs to form a uniform film on the surface of the skin. The reason it is so important is that our skin is not even, its surface is made up of hills and valleys. A thin layer applied over these hilly surface may result in uneven coverage where “valleys” are filled/covered, but “peaks” are not (think about painting a wall with uneven surface with only a little bit of paint on your brush). The lighter the texture, the easier (and more tempting) it is to apply a thin layer. Remember though that in the SPF testing, 2 mg of sunscreen is applied for every square centimeter of the skin. To get a feel for how much it is in relation to an average face, squeeze out an amount of product that is slightly larger than a US quarter coin. That's a lot of sunscreen to spread over a face. You might even need to layer it twice if the product consistency is truly thin. If you are applying less than that, you are certainly not getting the protection advertised on the product label. It is entirely possible that if a product advertised with SPF 50 would be applied in an amount less than 2 mg per square cm, it wouldn't be able to pass the minimum SPF rating of 15 because of the failure to cover the "skin hills".

If you don't feel any sunscreen residue on the skin after applying it, chances are you didn't apply enough and the film isn't formed. As the result, most of the skin surface is not protected. This can be especially dangerous because you think that since you've applied a sunscreen, it is safe to spend time in the sun.

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Maria from WIMJ

TL;DR:

Yes, mineral sunscreens are a better choice for you if:

  • Your skin is extremely sensitive.

  • Your skin is somewhat sensitive and you shop for a sunscreen in the US (Avobenzone, the best broad spectrum organic filter fully approved by the FDA, can be an irritant).

  • You tend to get your sunscreen into your eyes (organic filters can sting the eyes).

  • You are choosing a sunscreen for a baby or young child (it's best to treat children's skin as extremely sensitive by default).

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Chloe

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Chloe

The skincare world has been raving about Krave ever since its launch in 2018. It’s focus on transparency and ethics has captured the hearts of skincare junkies and vegan-oriented shoppers alike 🌱

The brand wanted to clear the myth that a cleanser needs to be harsh in order to effective. The Matcha Hemp Cleanser is their first product -  let’s take a closer look 🧐🔬

The product is fragrance-free & contains a great selection of moisturising ingredients such as glycerin and prunus amygdalus dulcet oil (sweet almond oil). In terms of improving the skin barrier function, it contains Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil and Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (Oats). The product also contains Panthenol (a form of Vitamin B5) which reduces itching, redness and calms down inflammation. It also acts as a moisturising ingredient (its both a humectant and emollient). 

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Chloe

Late May, tennis superstar Venus Williams teamed up with Credo Beauty to create a mineral sunscreen collection. She is known for helping make her sport a more inclusive space for people of colour, especially black women, a task she also took to heart when creating her first beauty product 🎾 🥂

Historically, sunscreens have been known to leave an especially visible white cast or ashy finish on people of colour. This gap is slowly being filled by both small and larger companies -- with a sunscreen being the number 1 product of any routine, it’s important that the skincare industry to caters to everyone!🌏

The EleVen by Venus x Credo collaboration launched 2 products: the On-The-Defense Sunscreen SPF30 and the Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 30. We’ll focus on the latter☀️

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Maria from WIMJ

Today it is easy to get lost in the booming skincare market. Hundreds of new products are released every day. Of course, it is great to have a choice, but it gets overwhelming: What skincare products do I even need? How do I know if a product is worth the money? How do I know which product will work better? These 5 tips will help you look beyond pretty packaging and select great skincare products faster.

1. Go for one-purpose skincare products

Effective products, except for simple moisturizers, need to include solid active ingredients that are at least in theory able to do what the product promises. Most skincare ingredients that fall into this category are notoriously capricious. They are not easy to formulate with and always demand some kind of special treatment in the formula, packaging or both. Think about vitamin C (unstable), retinol (photosensitive), sunscreens (require very particular formulations to be stable and form an even protective layer on the skin). Because of this, the more “dedicated” a product is, the higher the chances for an appropriate concentration of active ingredients and that the formula is specifically designed to maximize the effectiveness of the actives. For example, a sunscreen that is formulated to be a sunscreen rather than an “x in 1” product (foundation, primer, moisturizer, antioxidant and sunscreen) is more likely to do the main active ingredient justice.

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Maria from WIMJ

If you have an occasional breakout, clogged pores or more persistent spots, you need a product with salicylic acid in your life. Here is why.

Salicylic acid is one of a few ingredients that has solid clinical evidence for being effective against acne. It helps to clear up clogged pores, heal inflamed blemishes faster and prevent new ones from forming. It can do it because of the two main properties. First, it is a good anti-inflammatory agent. It helps calm down the inflammation like the one inside and around a red breakout. Its second superpower is the ability to exfoliate inside pores and hair follicles, explaining its effectiveness against spots and clogged pores. In contrast to other chemical exfoliants used in skincare (for example, glycolic and lactic acid) which are water-soluble, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, meaning that it can mix with lipids in our skin and be effective a little bit deeper inside our skin.

If you have an occasional breakout, clogged pores or more persistent spots, you need a product with salicylic acid in your life. Here is why.

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