What Do SPF Numbers Actually Mean?

coola mineral body sunscreen

We’ve been focusing a lot on sun protection on the blog the last few weeks. Being Summertime (and with that, record highs) it’s all the more important to be giving proper attention to protecting your skin. However, one of the things we haven’t really covered is SPF. Most people assume that the higher the SPF number, the greater the protection, but this isn’t really the case.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number is a measure of how much UV radiation (the rays responsible for sunburns) it would take for your skin to burn when you’re wearing sunscreen compared to when you’re unprotected. So you would think the higher the SPF number, the better? Well, not exactly.

There are a several more factors that go into SPF. The intensity of the sun, the time of day, and the activities one engages in can cause the protection length to vary. It’s not as simple as making sure you’re slathered in a high SPF. Importation considerations include:

  • What time of day is it?
  • Has your sunscreen been wiped off by the water or sweat?
  • Do you have a history of skin cancer in your family?
  • Are you taking medications that could make sunscreen less effective?

Another reason that SPF is not the best measure of protection is that it doesn’t take into account UVA radiation. Ultraviolet type A radiation penetrates the skin deeper than UVB and causes more skin cell damage. When looking for protection against both UVA and UVB rays it’s important to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen like COOLA.

The best way to prevent premature aging, skin cancer, wrinkles, etc. would be to stay out of the sun. However, we know this recommendation isn’t realistic. The best next tips are to choose the right sunscreen (one with both UVA and UVB protection), apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, reapply often, and have regular check ups with a dermatologist to have your skin examined.

Sources: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb

Ingredient Spotlight: COOLA Sport Sunscreen Spray

When promoting products, we try to display information and ingredients as easily as possible to our customers. On each of our product detail pages you can view what particular ingredients are in our beauty products to better understand their composition. However, some ingredients aren’t commonly known. For example, oxinoxate may sound scary, but it’s actually a common ingredient in sunscreen.

In an effort to better help our customers make informed buying decisions, we’re starting an ingredient spotlight series. Throughout this series we will highlight popular products and break down their ingredients. Thanks to the World Wide Web (especially incredible sites such as Environmental Working Group), it’s easy for you to find these descriptions yourself – but we’re trying to aggregate the data per product type.

Please leave a comment or send us a message if there is a particular product you would like to see highlighted.

COOLA Sport Sunscreen Spray

Active Ingredients

Oxinoxate (7.5%) – A commonly used sunscreen ingredient, known for its low potential to sensitize skin.

Octocrylene (7.0%) – A synthetic UV absorber and sunscreen agent. Can be combined with other UV absorbers to achieve higher SPF formulas.

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Fake Your Suntan with Fake Bake

Now that it’s Summertime, are you craving a suntanned glow? It’s common to want a touch of sun kissed look after spending a day outdoors in warmer weather. Thankfully, with Fake Bake there’s an alternative to a bronzed look while avoiding harsh UVA and UVB rays.

Fake Bake Self Tanning Lotion gives you the perfect tan without damaging effects from the sun. Apply this patent-pending technology lotion for a safe, streak-free glow.

If you prefer sprays over lotions, check out Fake Bake Tanning Airbrush Spray. The spray contains both DHA and Erythrulose, tanning agents that bond with your skin’s pigment. These tanning agents result in a darker tan than doesn’t show up in pores and is perfect for covering those hard-t0-reach areas.

Fake Bake products are great for achieving a safe suntan, but remember – you still need to wear sunscreen while outdoors. Customer favorites include, COOLA Total Body Sunscreen and Erbaviva Sunscreen.

COOLA Chosen as Organic Sunscreen Winner

If you haven’t yet jumped on the COOLA bandwagon, now may be the time to do so.

COOLA has recently been honored with New Beauty Magazine‘s Organic SPF Option Award!

COOLA’s organic sunscreen products are perfect for all types of lifestyles. COOLA provides the perfect formula for everyday wear and for more strenuous activities.

COOLA Sport Organic Sunscreen is routinely a customer favorite. We love hearing rave reviews about how the sunscreen provides necessary protection from the harsh sun. The Sport Sunscreen is also water-resistant, making it perfect for an active day on the beach.

Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

And we don’t mean with just your shirt color. Really go green by taking the time to buy organic and eco-friendly products. We’re still giving you a 25% discount on all organic sunscreens and Coolibar sun hats. It’s the perfect time for you to take advantage of these savings and stock up for springtime weather! Just enter code SUN at checkout.

Since we’re wanting to drive the point home about skincare, here is a video we absolutely love about the dangers of sun overexposure and melanoma. It was produced by the DCMF in Canada last year and is very moving. It’s called “Dear 16-Year-Old Me”. We hope you enjoy it and learn something, too:

Check out our organic sunscreens from COOLA and more:

It’s Sunscreen Awareness Week!

Hi all! We’re still continuing Sunscreen Awareness Week here at Charleston Naturally. We really want everyone to be aware of how organic sunscreens can not only shield you from damaging UV rays, but also protect you from the inside out. Chemicals sunscreens can deposit nasty chemicals into your body, which can actually cause cancer. Just another reason to go organic.

Looking for the sporty stuff? Try Coola Sport 35 Spray!

Since we’re excited to get the word out about awesome organic sunscreens, we’re giving you 25% off on all organic sunscreens and Coolibar sun hats. Just enter code SUN at checkout to receive your discount! This offer ends soon, so you better hurry if you want to save and stock-up for spring!

Announcing Sunscreen Awareness Week

We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from our Mystery Ingredient Monday post yesterday about chemical sunscreens. So we’ve decided to declare this week Sunscreen Awareness Week. This week we will be focusing on ways to reduce sun damage. Since spring is just around the corner, it’s important to arm yourself with the best protection money can buy. Luckily, brands like John Masters Organics, Boscia, Juice Beauty, COOLA and Erbaviva have produced awesome organic sunscreens that will protect you from the sun without depositing gross chemicals in your body (like benzophenone)!

And just to show you that our money is where our mouth is, we’re offering you 25% off all organic sunscreens and Coolibar hats this week! Just enter the code SUN at checkout. You can stock up for spring and summer and SAVE. As always, when you spend $49, you also get free shipping!

This Coolibar sun hat is not only stylish and perfect with any outdoor outfit, it’s packable! Are you dreaming about the Hamptons? Florida? Or maybe just Folly Beach? This is the hat you need… and it’s also 25% off when you enter code SUN at checkout. So go for it!

Mystery Ingredient Monday: Benzophenone

This week we’re going to be focusing on SUNSCREEN. Spring is coming up and it’s time to prepare by buying sunscreens. Sunscreen protects you from damage caused by UV rays, which can lead to all kinds of skin cancers. And on a shallow level, sunscreen will also protect you from premature aging. Sun exposure can leave your skin dried out with sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles. If you use the right sunscreen, you can shave years off your appearance.

So what’s in non-organic sunscreens? Plenty of nasty things. Today we’ll be focusing on Benzophenone.


Benzophenone is an organic compound that is usually found (or its alike substitute oxybenzone) in chemical sunscreens. It is used in plastics to protect the contents inside the bottle from UV rays. That’s right–it’s used in plastic and you’re there slathering it on as well. Yuck! Well, the news gets worse. According to several sources, benzophenone has been linked to an increase in malignant melanoma… the very thing it is used to prevent!

So, you may be wondering, “Where’s the good news?” The good news is that although tests are still being performed on chemical sunscreens, the FDA still says that they protect you against melanoma. We, of course, argue that you should protect yourself and your family naturally. With organic sunscreens from COOLA, Boscia, Juice Beauty and John Masters, you can frolic in the sunshine without worrying about your complexion.

Here are some of our favorite organic sunscreens:

Coola Total Body Organic Sunscreen  SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer-Sand  Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Skin

Many people are starting the new year with resolutions to be more healthy. If you’d like healthier skin in 2012 and beyond, here are five tips from NaturalNews.com:

Flickr: barbourians

  • Avoid refined sugar and simple carbohydrates because they deplete the structure of the skin and speed up the aging process (e.g. soda, syrups, candy, etc.).
  • Don’t sleep on your side because extended pressure on the face adds creases and wrinkles.
  • Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells, bring new cells to the surface and prompt collagen production.
  • Choose your sunscreen wisely. Avoid products with retinol, retinal palmitate, PABA, parabens, oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate and triethanolamine, which have been linked to hormonal problems and cellular irregularities.
  • Get deep, restful sleep because sleep produces human growth hormones (HGH), which are responsible for keeping up youthful traits. HGH is produced predominately during deep stages of sleep, so getting plenty of deep sleep is critical.

We carry several products that can improve the health of your skin, like John Masters SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen ($32), Erbaviva Children’s & Adult’s Sunscreen ($22) and a line by COOLA ($12-34). Plus, we have various exfoliating products from suki, John Masters Organics and other companies.