Why don't we use an SPF factor in our skin care products?

April 2010, Warren Matthews


This forum has just been brought to my attention so I felt it would be appropriate to address the main question which has been asked...'why do we not include an SPF factor in our skin care products?' There are two prime reasons.

*This was a question raised on Warren's Blog where you can find many comments regarding this question and various others.

It has just been brought to my attention that there is currently an active forum at skincaretalk in which people are talking about why we do not use an SPF factor in our skin care products.

So...I thought that it was appropriate that I gave an explanation. So, for readers who are interested, here it is:

Hello All,

This forum has just been brought to my attention so I felt it would be appropriate to address the main question which has been asked...'why do we not include an SPF factor in our skin care products?' There are two prime reasons.

Firstly, is that for normal day to day use it is truly not needed. Yes, I appreciate that this is contrary to what is promoted by various 'authorities' but I personally believe it to be incorrect information. How many people are really exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight in their normal day? Most people work, or spend a high percentage of their time inside.

How many people would actually get their face sunburnt in a normal day if they did not wear a sunscreen? I would think not many. Most people only get burnt when they are at the beach or exposed to extended outdoor activities in the middle of the day during the summer.

We have always advocated the use of a sunscreen to avoid getting sunburnt but that is the only time they should be used.

As I am sure many people are now aware, there is a serious deficiency of Vitamin D in the majority of people. This in turn is triggering off a number of avoidable degenerative diseases. Some people in an attempt to correct this are jumping on to the current fad of taking high dose Vitamin D supplements. But, as a supplement manufacturer we do not advocate that either, as high dose Vitamin D supplements can also cause a detrimental effect in the body.

The only safe way to get Vitamin D is through sensible exposure to the sun. I personally think that it is irresponsible for manufacturers to promote the principle of wearing a sunscreen at all times. All that will achieve is aging you prematurely by preventing the benefits that can only be received through sensible skin exposure.

So, unless your daily activities would cause you to get sunburnt, don't use an SPF factor in your skin care. Only use it when you are exposed to conditions in which you will get burnt.

Secondly, another reason is that the SPF factors in skin care products work below the surface of the skin rather than creating a safe barrier above it. They use chemicals that will find their way into the blood stream and there is a school of thought amongst scientists that suggest that the long term use of these chemicals may prove to be carcinogenic.

Now of course I accept that time may prove these people to be wrong...but, if you are going to play Russian Roulette there should at least be a measurable upside...but, for the reasons that I mentioned above it is all downside.

I know and appreciate that many people believe that the sun causes you to age prematurely and wrinkle. That is another fallacy for the overwhelming majority of people. I say the majority because excessive sun can have an aging effect on some people such as redheads and these people need to be careful about not getting sunburnt.

But...wrinkles are caused primarily by other factors than sunshine. Using myself as an example. All my life I have had what one may call excessive exposure to sunshine. I spend a lot of time in the tropics, for a number of years I ran my own commercial fishing operation and had full exposure to the elements on the ocean.

I rarely use sunscreen unless I am out on the ocean for a couple of days in intense sunshine where I have to deal with the reflection of the sun off the ocean as well. In other words getting a double dose. And then I only use it for the first one or two days. But, I do use our moisturizer at the end of each day.

I will be 63 in August and I hardly have a wrinkle. The photo on the website is genuine and was taken when I was 61. It is NOT the sunshine that causes skin to age. It is aging itself and that is influenced by your nutritional intake which includes levels of anti-oxidants etc. Look at a smoker who may have never seen much of the sun let alone got burnt.

Many of them by the time they are 60 are heavily wrinkled. This is because the smoking robs their bodies of various essential nutrients and they age faster.

One last comment on sunscreens. Even a broad spectrum sunscreen does not provide total protection against all UV rays. It is only possible to protect against those ones that slip through from the inside out. If you go to our website and have a look at our Omega 3 Premium product you will find an explanation regarding this.

Hopefully this will help readers better understand our position on SPF factors and why we do not include it in our skincare products.

Warren Matthews
Xtend-Life Natural Products (Intl) Ltd


  • “Hmmmthats a difficult one Krista. It seems that you are concerned about getting color on your face from the sun. If that is the case you may have no choice but to use a sunscreen. I honestly do not know how effective a powder would be. Could be OKbut, I think that you are going to have to experiment. If you are not exposing your face to the sunlight then try to ensure that you regularly expose the rest of your body to the sunover as big an area as possible. ”

    Warren Matthews - April 10 2010

  • “Hi Warren, I am thankful that your products have no parabens in them, I recently saw a Dr. on TV state that 100% of breast cancers contain parabens of some type such as ethylparaben, propylparaben, or methylparaben. I do not feel that these are safe ingredients and will not purchase products that contain them. so hats off to you for keeping these out of your products!”

    Rhonda - August 11 2010

  • “Hi Srinivas, Thats an interesting problem.   Has she tried using a sunscreen with a low SPF factor so a proportion of the sunlight can get through so she can still get the benefit of the sunlight but it is not intense enough to cause a rash?   That may be an option.  Our skin care products do not have any SPF factor in them so they are unlikely to prevent the rash in the first instance.   I think that you have to experiment in ways to avoid it and what I suggested may work. I would ask the skin specialist to recommend a natural sunscreen with a low SPF factor so you can still get the benefit of the sunshine without experiencing the rash. After she has been in the sun our products would be excellent to apply.  She could apply them in the morning and again at night before going to bed. With regard to the Neocutis products that you mention, I had a look at the ingredients and they are a long way from being natural.   They have a lot of parabens in them which we will not use because of safety concerns.  In so far as the references to PSP I would take that with a grain of salt.   This is marketing hype.   There is nothing special about any of the ingredients that they are using and as far as we can see they would not even match those that we are using.   For anti-aging I have no reservations in saying that our range of skin care products would be at least equal but very likely superior to the Neocutis products. However, at the end of the day everyones skin is different so you really have to try them and that is what I suggest.   I dont know about the Neocutis products but if you try ours and you dont like them you can return them for a full refund.”

    Warren Matthews - April 10 2010

  • “Hi Warren, What is your opinion on mineral makeup, e.g. the Bare Minerals line?  Maybe it would be a good option for Krista if you think it is safe.  I’ve tried the Bare Minerals line and my skin has tolerated it well.  They claim to offer a minimal amount of sun protection (around SPF 15, I think) because the product sits on top of the skin and blocks some sunlight.  It’s basically a container full of stuff that looks like loose powder except it’s all finely ground minerals.  Would this make it a physical sunscreen as opposed to the chemical sunscreens you described (which I’m assuming are stuff like oxybenzone?) I once used a facial moisturizer with oxybenzone and avobenzone in it and it made me very uncomfortable because my face felt hot.  If I went out into the sun for a short time, which wouldn’t even burn my bare skin, my face would start to feel hot.  I read up on the ingredients later on and found out that chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sunlight somehow and the chemical reaction produces heat.  It was bothersome and now that people are saying that they could be cancerous, I am not surprised. I rarely use makeup myself, personally because I can’t be bothered to do so on a regular basis.  But on occasions where I would want to use some, mineral makeup seems to be the safest bet.  I checked the website and these are the ingredients of their mineral foundation makeup: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 12.6%, Zinc Oxide 21%. Inactive Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide Are any of these ingredients absorbed into the bloodstream or can I rest assured that they are just sitting innocently on the surface of my skin?”

    Stefanie Jacinto - April 13 2010

  • “thanks for the info on sunscreen.The reason I use it is because I do not tan evenly. In a very short time in the sun I get uneven colour and my using your whitening cream would be for nothing.If not sunscreen would you recommend some sort of face powder? k.”

    krista rogers - April 08 2010

  • “Hi Susan, this is correct. Sunscreen is important to use but on an as needed basis. Not as part of an everyday skincare regime. In countries such as yours where the sun can be very intense it is first and foremost important to try to keep covered if you are unable to seek shade or avoid excessive exposure to the sun. It should be remembered however that the sun is healthy and some degree of exposure per day is important. It helps the body’s cells reproduce, helps natural chemicals to be released, and provides essential vitamin D3 for the body. More vitamin D3 can be provided via 15 mins exposure to the sun than any other way. Most people, even if they are fair, are able to stand this amount of time in the sun. Of course everyone is different and it is excess exposure to the sun that causes issues and aging. Depending on your skin type and condition it is important to judge time frames individually, and apply an appropriate sunscreen (not block) at this time to avoid burning. Wear shades to ensure you are not squinting, as this is the main cause of wrinkles around the eyes rather than the sun’s rays direct; and try to stick to a titanium dioxide / zinc oxide formula as you mention, which don’t tend to absorb as much into the skin or bloodstream.”

    Xtend-Life Expert - June 01 2010

  • “I was skeptical at the beginning, I knew that SPF was not useful indoor, I live in Florida and it is very hard to apply a cream or lotion with SPF, you sweat more and your face look like an open faucet believe me it is horrible, plus it burns. Thank you Mr. Warren for your article it is helpful, I will keep my SPF for the beach. I am 59 years old and I can’t wait to try your skin care an vitamins. ”

    Colette - September 14 2012

  • “hi, i just wanted to comment on the ageing factor. I know that you seem to be saying that sun doesnt age you. I seem to think it does the only reason being is that i live in the uk and my husband has 2 sister in laws that live in Punjab in India. One of the sister in laws is 2 years younger than me and the other is 3 years older than me and both of them have so many more lines on their faces and i hardly have any and plus the way they live in the Punjab is always outdoors, so is it not possilble that it is the sun ageing them.”

    jas kaur - April 21 2010

  • “Hi Jas, It is important to keep in mind that there are many factors that cause wrinkling of the skin including diet and lifestyle. If you have constant exposure to the sun and dont use a quality moisturizer in the day and morning there is no doubt that the sun will contribute to wrinkling due to drying out the skin. This is inevitable and avoidable.”

    Warren Matthews - April 22 2010

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