Incorporating Sunscreen in Your Lotions and Creams


We’re fast approaching the month of January, a rather hot and sunny season extending to April in East Africa. This is the time cosmetics users (especially Kenyan women) look for some products that protect their skin from the vagaries of the sunny weather.

As a beauty product manufacturer, you will want to keep abreast in the game. Welcome to Product Value Addition

There are two types of sunscreen ingredients – physical blockers and chemical blockers. The physical blockers work by preventing the sun’s rays from reaching our skin by reflecting and dispersing them. They are collectively referred to as sunblocks or Sun Protection Factors (SPF).

“The chemical sunscreens work by absorbing ultra-violet rays and keep them from penetrating the skin. They are great at blocking about 95% of the UVB rays, but very little UVA. The degree of absorption depends on the type and concentration of chemical sunscreen” says Herman, a lead consultant with several cosmetic making companies in Kenya, including Johnson’s Fairness International-producers of Uba skin care brand.

To get maximum sunscreen-age, it is advisable to apply it about 15 to 30 minutes before going into the sun so it can penetrate the keratinous layer of your skin

The physical sunscreens are unlikely to cause a reaction on our skin. Incorporating Sun Protection Factor (SPF) in your lotions might make them feel feel a little draggy, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid sunburns!

So How Does SPF work? It’s all about you! Let’s say you burn after 10 minutes in the sun. SPF 15 will get you 150 minutes in the sun. SPF 30 will get you 300 minutes in the sun. But you have to re-apply after about 2 hours with a non-water resistant sunscreen anyway, so what’s the point if you take 20 minutes to burn and you have to re-apply it after about 120 minutes? Because SPF 15 will block out about 93% of the UV rays, and SPF 30 will block out about 97%. For very fair skinned people, going from SPF 30 to 50 might get them another 1% coverage.

If you’re considering making your own sunscreen, there is quite some chemistry to know, eg you have to worry not only about the pH of a sunscreen but the emulsification of our lotion when making a sunscreen.

Caution: There are so many scary things out there on the Internet-especially uncensored websites – about sunscreen.  Talk to experts about using sunblocks or formulating your products with these additives.

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