SPF is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor. This is a number value given to indicate the level of protection the skin will receive from the sun. UV, or ultraviolet, light can cause skin cancer. There are clothing and body care products that can be used to protect from damaging ultraviolet rays. So, what about adding something which gives a known SPF to our lotions and lip balms? It sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? The problem arises when we consider 3 little letters and one word. These are OTC drug. This means an over-the-counter drug, one that does not need a prescription.
The law is clear that drugs must be made is specialized facilities which have passed regulatory hurdles. Why would our government require such hoopla for a sunscreen? The answer is simple – because sun damage can cause cancer. When you buy a product that makes a specific claim, such as having an SPF, you want to know that claim is truthful and the claim can be substantiated. Unsubstantiated claims hurt people, our economy and our communitites. Think of all the get rich quick schemes you have read over the years. Would you like the same results from unsubstantiated SPF claims? Absolutely not. We can choose not to respond to false claims for easy money, but we can’t avoid the sun. We do need to go outside for a number of activities. We also need Vitamin D, and just a few minutes in the sun each day helps our bodies make Vitamin D.
This brings me to the point of this blog. Please don’t try to make sunscreen products in your kitchen. If you don’t have the approval to make such a drug from our federal government, then don’t make it. Use products that have substantiated claims. Use products you know are made in drug manufacturing facilities. And don’t give me the arguement that you are only making sunscreen products for your friends and family. You should care MORE about your friends and family and only give them the best products available. Don’t cut corners when it comes to cancer prevention.
If using sunscreens that are chemical in nature is a concern for you, then change to sunscreens that are physical in nature. In other words, forgo the sunscreen that is a lotion or spray and wear clothing that has an SPF treatment.
If you find a lotion or lip balm base that has a chemical additive, then you turn around and add color or scent, or just fill your own bottles, then you are now the manufacturer of an OTC. Do not buy such bases. The companies that sell these SPF ingredients, and or bases, are encouraging all cosmetics to be regulated like drugs are regulated. Do yourself a favor, and all other small cosmetic and soap makers a favor, don’t mess around with the ingredients that get classified as drugs.
And by the way, use a good sunscreen.