Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Ginger's View on Natural Sunscreen

We get asked if we carry Sunscreen all the time.... and my answer to this one usually starts with a deep breath as its a bit of a lengthy explanation about the why not and government agencies. Sadly, it is also usually correcting misinformation from other soap/body care makers who simply don't know the rules or care to follow the government regulations. I'll try a quick explanation why we don't and why its probably not the best idea to purchase sunscreen, sunblock or anything with an "SPF" from an independent skin care business.

Can Wylde Rose make Sunscreen? Absolutely.
Will I make a Sunscreen, Sunblock or make claims with an SPF number or even just use the word SPF? NEVER!

Let me explain why. To sell it in Canada, Sunscreen requires testing. Testing done by professional labs with a very hefty price tag. It also becomes a product that falls under the Food & Drug Act. This is a safety thing and its a good thing!

See some folks like to throw around words like SPF as if they can actually measure the Sun Protection Factor. Outside of a profession laboratory that has thousands of dollars in equipment, there is no way to actually test the Sun Protection Factor. They have no way of knowing without testing.

To be able to make and sell sunscreen a producer must:
  • Have the product tested in a recognized facility that is approved by Health Canada
  • Apply for a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or a Natural Product Number (NPN)
  • Be registered with both Health Canada and the Food & Drug Act.

Some ingredients do have a natural SPF to them, however it is very small and again without lab testing you don't know the actual number of SPF. Adding some titanium dioxide, essential oils or zinc oxide doesn't make it a proper sunscreen. Following the rules does.

How do you know if someone is following the rules? Ask them for their Drug Identification Number (DIN) or a Natural Product Number (NPN). If they don't have one then I wouldn't be buying it. If they don't know what you are talking about then I definitely wouldn't be buying it.

This is something I don't even make for myself or my family's use. I simply care about their skin enough to not allow them to be caught without proper sun protection. Skin cancer is no joke and has one of the largest occurrence rates. And like everything else - you can find recipes for it online - but I seriously, seriously DO NOT recommend making your own for the same reasons - you have absolutely no way of testing its actual SPF.

I was going to post some images of skin cancer here but I won't - you can google that on your own if you would like. They are a little too graphic for my tastes. Its just not worth the risk.

As a paler than pale redhead the sun is not my friend, at all. If this was a product I could make I would in a heartbeat. Alas - the regulations are in place for a reason. I only wish all soapmakers / skin care makers followed the same rules