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You know that you should wear sunscreen – even in winter, so I’m not going to bore you with a rewind of why. I’m going to make you want to wear an SPF in the winter. I’ve been spending the last couple of years trying to find interesting alternatives and supplements to the standard mineral sunscreen ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. I am happy to report that there are some amazing discoveries creeping into our sunscreen products – a foretaste of the transformation of sunscreens to come in next few years. You heard it here first with the Five Best sunscreen breakthroughs
Raspberry seed oil – this yummy fruit actually has a sun protection factor of about 28 and even up to SPF 50. In trials it has showed absorbency in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant. Red fruits, flowers and leaves have a specific pigment called anthocyanins. Scientists think that anthocyanins are responsible for raspberry’s (and strawberry’s) photoprotective properties. And they have the added bonus of fatty acids and antioxidants. Layer Juice Beauty’s Refining Finishing Powder ($22 in the shop), with raspberry and strawberry oils, over Juice Beauty’s Mineral Moisturizer with an SPF 30 ($29) for extra protection.
Ginger – galangal is a member of the ginger family and amazingly it is a natural source of ethyl methoxycinnamate, which is produced chemically as the sunscreen active known as octinoxate. Galangal may also boost the efficacy of other sunscreens and inhibit tyrosinase activity that can lead to hyperpigmentation. It is in Snowberry Everyday Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($36 in the shop), and I think that this qualifies as one of the most innovative sunscreen products that I have yet come across and certainly one that I am happy to wear everyday.
Magic mushrooms – well, reishi mushrooms, also known as lingzhi and by the botanical name ganoderma lucidum, have been shown in research to protect against UV damage. It has the added advantage, according to one study of protecting DNA. The magic mushroom features in Prana Reishi Mushroom Shield ($42 in the shop). Prana’s zinc sunscreen is packed with other types of mushrooms and antioxidant rich ingredients such as astragalus. Reishi mushrooms are the signature ingredient in CV Skinlabs skin soothing products, such as the Body Repair Lotion ($36 in the shop).
Ferulic Acid – a more powerful antioxidant than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), beta-carotene, and ascorbic acid (vitamic C). A Duke University Study found ferulic acid particularly good for preventing sun damage, and studies elsewhere have demonstrated that exposure to ultraviolet light actually increases the antioxidant power of ferulic acid. It is in Snowberry’s Everyday Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($36 in the shop. And for a welcome ferulic top up, add a few drops of Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate ($65 in the shop). Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C Serum ($30 in the shop) also has a shot of ferulic acid.
Astaxanthin – an absorber of specific ultraviolet sunlight rays that may contribute to skin aging and cancer. What’s more, a Creighton University demonstrated that astaxanthin can eliminate free radicals 6,000 times more effectively than vitamin C. In the animal kingdom, this dark red carotenoid pigment is present in the skin and tissues of a variety of creatures, including salmon and flamingo. The astaxanthin in Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer ($45 in the shop) comes from algae. And for a boost of the red stuff, try Osmosis Replenish ($40).
Scientists don’t yet have the confidence to recommend these ingredients in lieu of conventional sunscreen actives, but the research is emerging slowly but surely. Dr Steven Q Wang, who presented research to the American Academy of Dermatology said that “adding antioxidants to sunscreen is an innovative approach that could represent the next generation of sunscreens.” Bring them on.