I’m going to Badger you into wearing sunscreen.
I’m in the sun a lot. I played a lot of beach volleyball in the past and now I play a lot of golf. I’m often in direct sun for 5 hours at a time. I’m also very afraid of skin cancer. Both my mother and father have had some skin cancer and even friends my own age and younger. It’s no joke, you and I both don’t want it. I’m also not a big fan of chemicals, so I gravitated toward using Mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens use Zinc Oxide which goes on white and might actually look like I’m wearing sunscreen. I don’t find this embarrassing, but I know a lot of people who do and I do get a lot of comments. People should be applauding me for taking care of my skin and each year more people do. In looking for the best ingredients and the most effective sunscreen, I discovered Badger sunscreens. I feel this New Hampshire company really looks out for the consumer by offering the best ingredients at reasonable prices. Now that summer is here and I’m constantly applying sunscreen, I realized I had some questions. Caity Stuart is the Educator at the W.S. Badger company (how awesome is it that they have an educator?) and was kind enough to answer all of my questions.
I’ve always heard there is a max SPF and anything more is overkill, is that true and if so what’s the maximum?
You are absolutely correct. With an SPF 15, you are getting 93% protection from the sun’s UVB rays. With a SPF 30, you are getting 97% protection. An SPF 50 gives you 98% protection, barely any change from the SPF 30. The highest SPF we use here at Badger is SPF 35 simply because we believe that using a higher SPF number would be misleading.
When would somebody use less than the max?
I mentioned that the highest SPF we make at Badger is SPF 35. We also make sunscreens that are SPF 15 and SPF 30. One reason why someone would choose not to use the max SPF would be if they are wanting a little bit of protection but would not be directly in the sun for a long period of time. This could be for those who apply a daily face sunscreen and are inside most of the day but are outside occasionally. Another scenario could be if someone was using other forms of sun protection other than strictly sunscreen, such as extra clothing, a large hat, seeking shade, etc.
What are the differences between sunscreens for babies, kids and adults?
The main difference are the fragrances. For the baby and kids sunscreens, we have added different essential oils and CO2 extracts to the same base used in the rest of our sunscreen creams to provide a different scent combination. For example, we have added Calendula and Chamomile in the baby sunscreen to be gentle and calming for the child. In the kids formulation, we added Sweet Orange, Tangerine, and Vanilla for a fun creamsicle smell. The thought behind both of these is that it isn’t always easy to put sunscreen on children, especially kids that are eager to get outside. So why not add a few additional organic ingredients to help them to be a little more patient while putting on sunscreen? In addition, the Baby Sunscreen Cream is Pediatrician Tested (approved safe for babies) and Hypoallergenic (safe for the most sensitive skin).
How much sunscreen does it take to be protected?
The FDA tests sunscreen’s SPF using 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter (2mg/cm2) of skin. This is about 1oz for a full adult body (about a shot glass full) or about 1/3 of a teaspoon to cover your face. It’s nearly impossible to actually measure and evenly apply sunscreen according to these guidelines, so we suggest applying a visibly whitening coat of sunscreen to all exposed skin and rubbing it in to reduce the whitening effect. To ensure that you have achieved full and even coverage, let this coat dry/sink in for 15-30 minutes and then reapply. Think of it as a base coat and finish coat. To maintain maximum effectiveness, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every 2 hours and directly after extended swimming or sweating. It is important to note, however, that if using a water resistant mineral sunscreen that the minute you dry off, you are also wiping off the sunscreen. So it is important to reapply every time you dry off from being in the water or sweating.
If you’re applying sunscreen and still getting tan are you not using it properly?
It depends on this one. First off, there is no such thing as a sunscreen that will give you 100% protection from the sun. There just isn’t. The only way to get 100% is to stay out of the sun! So there is the chance that someone would tan over a period of time (i.e. the summer) if applying sunscreen every single day. However, if someone should noticeably tan after just one day of wearing sunscreen, it probably means that they are either not applying the correct amount of sunscreen and/or are not applying often enough.
Why have you chosen to go mineral based on all your sunscreens?
I’m going to start this answer with part of our mission statement: “Badger’s Mission: To create fabulously pure and effective products of the highest natural quality, based on simplicity and thoughtful preparation, with the intention to soothe and heal.” We want to create the safest, purest, most simple, most natural sunscreen. So that immediately removes the use of any chemical ingredients. The only natural ingredient that will provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays (broad spectrum) is non-nano Zinc Oxide. It sits on top of the skin (no fear of it absorbing into the blood stream) and thus scatters, reflects, and absorbs the UVA and UVB rays. There is one other natural ingredient that is commonly used in sun protection and that is Titanium Dioxide. However, Titanium Dioxide only provides protection from UVB rays and partial protection from UVA rays, thus requiring additional ingredients to provide full broad spectrum protection. Thus, to stay true to our mission of being simple and pure, Zinc Oxide it is!
What are the benefits of non-nano Zinc Oxide?
The term “non-nano” refers to the particle size of the mineral Zinc Oxide. “Non-nano” means that the particle is larger than 100 nanometers, which is larger than the pores in our skin. Thus, Zinc Oxide only sits on the outermost layer of our skin, protecting the living skin below.
Thank you, Caity. One of my big takeaways is that I need to reapply sunscreen, which I never do. I’m also glad my tan doesn’t mean I’m totally blowing it.
Badger also sent me some products that I haven’t found at my local WholeFoods. I usually use their Active Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and I feel very confident wearing it. It’s 100% Certified Natural and 98% Organic. It’s water resistant, protects for UVA and UVB, non-nano and biodegradable. One of the products they sent me was a tinted sunscreen. Although, still using Zinc it has added coloring that I imagine blends with a wide variety of skin tones. It blended well for everybody in my family. My wife who doesn’t like to wear the white, had no problem using the blended. I tried out a sport stick. This looks like a large chapstick and rolls on sunscreen. I’ve started to use this to reapply sunscreen to my face while in the middle of a round of golf. This makes it convenient enough for me to actually do it. The last product they sent was an SPF 30 for babies. My baby had no complaints about wearing it and it does smell nice.
I know I’m nagging, but wear sunscreen. According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the US.
All opinions in this article are mine. Some sunscreen was provided by Badger.