I am not a great fan of chemical sunscreens or high SPF sun products. My preferred strategy is low SPF physical sunscreens. I can’t recommend any brand – I make my own when I feel the need. But people often ask me about what the best sunscreen is and seem a bit disappointed that I can’t really recommend one. I am also aware that lots of people are reassured by the big numbers you get on some of the top brands.
So I was quite interested in what I think is a new release from Simple. (Apologies if you have been selling it for years guys, but I have only just picked it up.) This is a facial hydro-lotion with a claimed SPF of 50. This means that you can stay out in the Sun for 50 times longer than you would be able to without the product. Personally I can last about 30 minutes in very bright sunshine before I burn. In theory this product would extend that to 25 hours, so it should be handy if I spend any time at the North pole or in orbit on a space ship.
But the Simple brand does have a good track record in producing products that people with sensitive skin can get on with, so I thought I would look at the ingredient list.
As with all Simple products there are no colours or fragrances. I don’t think colours ever do any harm but some people do react to fragrances and sunscreens are often very heavily scented, so that is a good start. They also list all their ingredients on their website with a link telling you what they do. They don’t give a lot of detail but even so it is an impressive bit of transparency that should be praised and encouraged. Looking at the list they have, inevitably, used a lot of sunscreen to get such a high SPF. But the ones they have picked are quite judicious. The chemical sunscreens are octocrylene – which I am much happier with than most because it seems to be pretty stable to UV light and which seems to be the main sunscreen used – butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine and Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate. The physical sunscreen, titanium dioxide, isn’t too far down the list so I imagine that it is doing a fair bit of screening. I am much happier with the strategy of reflecting UV light than absorbing it.
If they were to take out the Bronopol, I think this would be a very useful addition to the range of sunscreens currently available.
Aqua, Octocrylene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Silica, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Decyl Glucoside, Propylparaben, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Helianthus Annuus Seed Extract, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Pantolactone, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, BHT
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