With the good weather coming, we sometimes hear some media criticizing the effectiveness of organic sunscreen creams. We therefore wanted to take the floor and explain to you why these criticisms are unjustified. How are organic sun creams tested ? How do they work? In this article, we tell you everything about UV, sun capital and the effectiveness of organic sun creams !
What is the sun capital ?
Sun capital is the total amount of UV rays that an individual can receive during his or her lifetime and the DNA repair capacity of the skin cells during the mutations caused by this UV rays. The latter depends on each individual's skin type, age, history and sun habits.
The depletion of solar capital can manifest itself in different forms:
- Appearance of brown spots on the hands, face or neckline.
- Appearance of white spots following a sunburn
- Marked lines and wrinkles
- Skin dryness and loss of suppleness
What are the different types of UV ?
The sun emits ultraviolet rays. These are better known as "UV". There are 3 different types of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC.
UVA are the most important type of UV. In fact, they represent 95% of the UV rays that touch the earth's surface. Painless, they penetrate deeply into the skin and can damage dermal cells. Indeed, they cause long-term damage to the skin. They are responsible for premature aging of the skin (wrinkles, loss of firmness), the appearance of pigmentation spots and can be the cause of sun allergies or even certain skin cancers.
UVB rays represent less than 5% of the UV rays received. They are responsible for tanning but also for sunburn and erythema! These rays cause a reduction in the sun's capital and are the primary cause, just like UVA rays, of certain skin cancers.
UVC are the most harmful ultraviolet rays. They cannot cross the ozone layer and therefore do not reach the skin.
Why is the effectiveness of organic suncare products sometimes questioned ?
It is common to hear that organic suncare products are not as effective as conventional products even though they undergo exactly the same control process. There are several reasons that may explain these unjustified criticisms:
- Media influenced by major brands
- Unsuitable methods: The ISO 24 443 method is used to measure UVA in VITRO. It is recognized and authorized, but is not adapted to sunglasses formulated with mineral filters, contrary to the ISO 24 442 method, in VIVO.
How is the effectiveness of organic sun creams tested ?
Organic suncare products are subject to the same legal standards as conventional sun creams. The European Commission's recommendation of September 2006 requires sun products to be effective against both UVA and UVB rays. Tests are therefore mandatory to verify that the product actually plays its protective role against ultraviolet rays and to quantify the protective power (the famous SPF).
To test the effectiveness of a sun care product, there are several techniques:
For UVA :
- The in vitro method according to the ISO 24 443 standard is carried out with a machine. The sun care product is deposited on a transparent plate which is then placed under a UV lamp. A detector placed under the plate measures the UV rays perceived at different timings. Please note: this method is not suitable for mineral sun filters used in organic sun care products. If this method is used on an organic product, the results will not be relevant. As mentioned in the paragraph above, this is one of the reasons that may explain the criticisms made about organic sunscreens, but it is important to understand that this is simply a mistake in the choice of test method.
- The in vivo method according to ISO 24 442 is performed on volunteer individuals. Several squares are drawn on their backs and the sun care is applied on some squares. They are then placed under a UV lamp in order to time the skin's reaction time to UV rays.
For UVB :
- The in vivo method according to the ISO 24 444 standard is the only reference method authorized to measure UVB.
At Cattier, we used in vivo methods 24 444 for UVB and 24 442 for UVA.
How do organic sunscreens work ?
Organic sun creams contain mineral filters. The minerals will settle on the skin and reflect the sun's UV rays. Their effectiveness is immediate and they present less risk of allergy. The other advantage of organic suncare products is that they are environmentally friendly. Conventional sunscreens, on the other hand, are composed of chemical filters, sometimes accused of being endocrine disruptors or suspected carcinogens such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemical filters are increasingly being banned in marine reserves because of their environmental impact.
But remember, a sun care product can never filter 100% of UV rays. We would like to remind you of a few important steps you can take to effectively protect yourself from the sun:
- Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm.
- Protect fragile parts of the body with clothing
- Choosing the right sun protection for your phototype and sun exposure
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and especially after swimming.
- Protect your face with a care product that contains an SPF, even in the city!
Which SPF to choose ?
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is an indicator of a product's level of protection against sunburn.
To put it simply, if you use an SPF30 (or index 30) cream, you have 30 times more time before getting a sunburn than without any protection.
The SPF to choose depends on your skin but also on the level of sun exposure. In case of doubt, we advise you to choose the highest SPF.
Why choose Cattier sun care products ?
At Cattier, we have chosen to develop organic and vegan sun care products for the whole family. With no nanoparticles or zinc oxide, they are respectful of our health and of the sea bed.