How Effective is Natural Sun Protection, really?

24 Mar

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In the almost four years since starting Rubifresh natural skincare, I have found that although there is a great interest in the idea of a natural sun screen, many Australians are sceptical about whether a natural product would be effective for our outdoors lifestyle in the intense Australian sun.

The evidence seems conflicting, but like so many areas of this industry, it depends on who you listen to and who you trust.

The medical industry survives on fear, evidenced by the language and tone of this Daily Mail article (23/7/14) on natural sunscreens;

“Organic enthusiasts are risking contracting skin cancer by using DIY sunscreen, doctors warn. In a worrying trend on the internet, alternative health bloggers are advising people to use coconut oil and beeswax to protect their skin because shop-bought sunscreen has ‘toxic ingredients’. Some advocates claim that ingredients such as carrot seed oil and red raspberry seed oil have a sun-protecting SPF of up to 50 – a claim dismissed as ‘absolute nonsense’ by medical experts.”

“We have no idea how safe these products are. It is like Russian roulette – you don’t really know what the ingredients do, there is no way to measure their SPF, it is just absolute nonsense and really quite dangerous. People who really are worried about the chemicals added into commercial sun screens should simply cover up or stay out of the sun.”

Unfortunately, natural products usually suffer from being swamped by the huge research funds the ‘non-natural’ cosmetics companies have access to. For this reason, it seems prudent to search for the evidence, both amongst research, and in real life situations on real peoples’ skin.

Natural sunscreens such as Red Raspberry Seed and Carrot Seed Oil work by a different mechanism than the ‘sun blockers’ we are used to, and are therefore more difficult to test by the same measures such as SPF. Basically, they work at building the body’s defence against harmful effects of sun exposure, rather than blocking the rays, per se. However, some studies have been conducted on the ‘sun blocking’ power of these ingredients, and they reveal some very interesting findings.

Let’s take a quick objective look at Red Raspberry Seed Oil, as we at Rubifresh use this as our key sun protection ingredient in our Anti-aging Moisturiser, Ultra Rich Anti-aging Moisturiser, Body Cream and Lip Balm.

The facts about Red Raspberry Seed Oil:

  • Contains 83% essential fatty acids (EFAs) which can increase cell membrane fluidity, enhance barrier function and repair, decrease trans-epidermal water loss and inflammation, and improve moisturisation and cell immunity. For these reasons, EFAs greatly soothe and remedy skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
  • Contains high concentration of Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Free radicals affect the skin cells by causing wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and age spots. Vitamin E therefore protects the skin from these common signs of aging.
  • Contains high concentrations of polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. Studies have shown that when applied to the skin, polyphenols protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation and enhance skin cell regeneration, improving tone and elasticity

In addition, a 2000 study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry found that the UVA and UVB protection afforded by raspberry seed oil is reportedly similar to titanium dioxide with an SPF protection factor against UVB rays of 28-50, and an SPF protection factor against UVA rays of around 8.

At Rubifresh, we always say to our customers that our Anti-aging Moisturiser, Ultra Rich Anti-aging Moisturiser, Body Cream and Lip Balm have the highest level of natural sun protection (red raspberry seed oil, in the highest recommended percentages), so the products will have enough sun protection for your everyday – in and out of buildings etc. For those times when you are right out in the Aussie sun for hours, perhaps then use a ‘sun block’ for extra protection.

However…this month we received this great testimony on our Facebook page, giving support to the idea that our moisturisers may offer an even stronger sun protection benefit:

(Jenni Cole, Rubifresh Facebook page Mar 2016)

Oh my goodness! Had a full day in the sun at the Rugby 7’s with no sunscreen – only my Rubifresh moisturiser…. After full day of sun exposure I wasn’t even slightly pink while my friend had sunburn, sunstroke and peeled for a week! Amazing!!!

To support this testimony even further, we read from Nadia on the Body Unburdened website:

I’ve been using red raspberry seed oil daily for the past few weeks with great results! It does not clog my pores whatsoever and leaves my skin super smooth. As far as sun protection, I have been using it daily on my face but will not be using it for a full day in the sun or as a full-body sunscreen due to the low UVA coverage. However, I feel that it suits my day-to-day sun protection needs just perfectly (I walk to and from work and during my lunch break, but am otherwise in the office). I will continue to use my sunscreen lotion when spending an extended period in the sun since it provides far greater UVA protection.

If you want to see for yourself, be one of the first 10 people to contact us, and we’ll send you a travel size pack of either our Anti-aging Moisturiser or Ultra Rich anti-aging Moisturiser (both with red raspberry seed oil) for free – only pay postage. Love Rubi xx

This blog is written by Owner & Founder of Rubifresh natural skincare. Find us at www.rubifresh.com.au 

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