Lately we have been getting lots of questions regarding natural ingredients/oils (raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, coconut oil, etc.) and whether or not they can be used as an SPF product.
In this blog post, we will try and break down all the information for you!
In Part 1 of our Sunscreen Education blog series, we broke down the term SPF and why a higher number might not mean a better product (if you haven't checked out that blog post yet, we recommend giving it a read!).
SPF often refers to a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB radiation (the rays that hit the top layer of our skin and cause burns... for more information, check out Part 2 of our Sunscreen Education blog series). So if coconut oil, raspberry seed oil, or carrot seed oil has an SPF 40 or SPF 20, then it maybe is protecting the skin against UVB rays and burns.
The reason why we think that these natural ingredients do have an SPF is because our skin naturally produces oil (a sebum). When the sun hits the skin, those oils release antioxidants, which combat the free radicals that are produced from the sun. Based on this information, our guess is that when you apply oils that are rich in antioxidants, you increase your resiliency against the free radical damage; as these oils should have a similar effect to the oils naturally produced by our bodies.
The big question: Can we measure how and if these ingredients are protecting us against UVA radiation (the rays that penetrate deep into the skin and cause aging and long term damage)?
Are these oils having a similar effect to the degree where you are protected long term against damage from UVA radiation? This is the main question to have in mind when you're choosing your sun protection, as UVA rays are more closely linked with skin cancer. We have a couple fair skinned ladies here at Team Miiko, and we personally wouldn't take this risk, since we are more susceptible to burning.
We believe that it comes down to your thought process...
Do you burn quickly? Do you need to take shade? Do you have a family history of skin cancer? These factors need to come into play, and then you can think about how you approach your sun safety.--