Learn what to look for when buying sunscreen

Jun 28, 2012 No Comments by

Choosing a sunscreen can be a daunting task, but it’s important to know how to choose reliable sun protection.

Jeff Bedard began his career in dermatology in 1984 and has spent the last 28 years developing and marketing some of the most innovative skin care solutions in the world. He’s the current CEO of Crown Laborieties, Inc., manufacturer of Blue Lizard sunscreen. Jeff answers common questions about Blue Lizard and sunscreen in general.

The FDA is telling sunscreen manufacturers to change their labels. Does Blue Lizard already meet the FDA’s new requirements for December 2012? What are these new requirements? 
Blue Lizard is making only minor modifications to its current labels to be fully compliant.  The biggest changes you will see on other labels is the removal of terms like “waterproof, sweatproof, all-day protection” along with the removal of the term “broad spectrum” protection unless the product has a critical wave length greater than 370 nm.  Some other changes you will see are the alphabetical listing of inactive ingredients and additional warnings on the label.

How do your products rate on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) safety data base?
Since EWG has started rating sunscreens, we have always been listed in the top 10 sunscreens, available in the U.S.  We have continued to innovate and formulate products that meet the highest safety standards, while providing the best protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Why don’t you carry anything higher than an SPF 30?
The reality is, if applied properly, an SPF 30+ sunscreen is all anyone needs.  While higher SPF products provide slightly better protection (less than 1% in most cases), the trade-off is a formula with large amounts of chemical absorbers needed to reach levels of SPF 50 or greater.  In most cases, this trade-off is not worth the benefit. Those ingredients, at those concentrations, can lead to allergic reactions and also negatively impact the cosmetic feel of the product. In the near future Crown Laboratories, Inc. will be introducing a higher SPF line that focuses on the active segment but without the pitfalls discussed above.

How do I know that the sunscreen is offering UVA protection as well as UVB? 
Currently there are only three ingredients approved by the FDA that cover past the 370 nm baseline, needed to provide true broad-spectrum protection.  Those are Avobenzone, Mexoryl and Zinc Oxide. If you want true broad spectrum protection, look for those active ingredients in your sunscreen of choice.  In reality, however, make sure to ask if the product has been tested and has passed the UVA test showing coverage past 370 nm. Blue Lizard has and covers past 370 nm.

Most sunscreen burns my face, so I have to use fragrance free sensitive skin types on my arms & chest but cannot find a brand that does not burn sensitive facial skin. Any tips? 
You are in luck, Blue Lizard Face is an oil free formula designed specifically for daily use on the face, neck and hands.  It is formulated with Zinc Oxide and Octinoxate to provide SPF 30+ protection. It also contains three powerful antioxidants: Green Tea, Caffeine and Vitamin E.  Hyaluronic Acid is also included in the Blue Lizard Face formula, which is a powerful humectant, keeping your skin moisturized.  More importantly, is what Blue Lizard Face does not contain. It is paraben free, fragrance free and oil free. Used daily your face will see remarkable improvement in the fight against the signs of aging.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind? It can be especially bad when I’m running outside and I start to sweat. 
Always apply sunscreen to dry skin prior to activity. If possible, massage the sunscreen into the skin and let the product absorb into the skin for at least 20 minutes prior to activity. When reapplying make sure the skin is dry and you have stopped perspiring prior to reapplication.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?
Our products are safe and effective for children above the age of 6 months. For children under 6 months you should always ask your physician.

Do your sunscreens contain nano-particles? If so, is this a concern?
Nano-particles seem to be a hot button of late. There is no credible scientific evidence that should raise a concern regarding these particles. Blue Lizard uses micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These particles are coated to allow even dispersion on the skin, which provides superior protection without the white residue.

What are the most effective sunscreen components/things to look for in a sunscreen? 
The best sunscreens are those that provide a physical barrier from the sun while also staying on the skin during activity. Look for sunscreens that have passed UVA testing and that are free of ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

Do your products use chemical sunscreen filters or only physical? 
Our Sensitive and Baby formulas are physical protection only (Zinc and Titanium), while the Regular, Sport and Face are a combination of physical and chemical absorbers.

What makes Blue Lizard different from other sunscreen? 
Blue Lizard has stayed true to its heritage by providing Australian grade sun protection. Australia’s standards of water resistance and UVA protection lead the world. Blue Lizard uses patented active minerals to provide the best natural reflective protection available. We also test our products for 240 minutes in whirlpooled water to ensure they stay on during activity.

Blue Lizard was a joint venture between Premium Pharmaceuticals (Sydney, Australia) and Crown Laboratories, Inc. (Johnson City, TN) that began in 1998.  The company set out to change the way people, at risk of skin cancer, protected their skin from harmful UV exposure.  All of the research, development and manufacturing is now done in Crown’s 180,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in TN.

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