The Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen

Welcome to our ultimate guide to sunscreen! Part 1

We kick off by getting to know sunscreen, teaching you your UVAs from your UVB, and why sunscreen is so important for day-to-day life. 

Part 2 will take you on a historical journey of sunscreen from its origins to sunscreen as we know it today. Let’s dive in!

Palm & Pine Sunscreen

Quick takeaways

  • Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by reflecting or absorbing them.
  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates the length of time that you will be protected but it is recommended that you reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Not all sunscreens are created equally, find a sunscreen that suits your lifestyle and skin type
  • Always choose a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.

Want to know more? Read on...

Live. Laugh. Wear Sunscreen. Simple rules to live life by. It would be easier, however, if choosing your Sunscreen didn’t require a degree in chemistry. 

For the average person, the technical jargon relating to sunscreen can be confusing and can often lead to misunderstanding, misuse, and worse, sunburn.

Information like UVA, UVB, SPF-50, 30,15, and Broad Spectrum, along with gibberish-sounding ingredients like Octyl-Methoxycinnamate and Oxybenzone can turn a fun day in the sun into hours of head-scratching as you try to absorb the masses of conflicting information available.

But fear not! Our simple guide to sunscreen will have you relaxing on the beach faster than you can say “One mojito please”

Sunbathing in Palm & Pine

What is sunscreen?

What exactly is sunscreen, and why is it a must-have for any beach bum, outdoor enthusiast, and even office worker? Let's lather up and find out!

A Simple Defenition

Sunscreen, also known as sunblock or suncream, is a lotion, spray, or cream that helps to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

UV rays can be sneaky little devils that can damage your skin and lead to sunburns, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Yikes!

But fear not, my sun-loving pals, because sunscreen (applied correctly) is here to save the day!

How Does Sunscreen Work?

So, how does sunscreen work its magic? Well, it's all about the ingredients.

Sunscreens contain a certain percentage of active ingredients that act as a shield against UV rays. These active ingredients work buy by scattering and reflecting UV rays away from the skin, turning the UV energy into heat that is easily dispersed from your skin. It's like having tiny sun shields on your skin, protecting you from the sun's fiery wrath.

Read on to find out more about different suncreens work. 

Who needs Sunscreen? 

Now, let's address the elephant in the room - the myth that people with darker skin tones don't need sunscreen. Well, that's a big ol' misconception!

While melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, does provide some natural protection against UV rays, it's not enough to skip sunscreen. Everyone, regardless of skin color, needs to protect their skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sunscreen is for everyone, and it's a non-negotiable when it comes to sun safety.

Other Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen 

Anti Aging 

Sunscreen not only protects your skin, but it also helps to slow down the aging process. UV rays can break down collagen and elastin in your skin, which leads to sagging, wrinkles, and fine lines. 

Even Skintone 

Applying good sun protection daily has been shown to prevent discolorations, dark spots, wrinkles, sagging, and leathery skin; helping to maintain even skin tone. So, it's time to ditch the old daily moisturizer and upgrade your skincare routine to include UV protection.


Sunscreen typically contains ingredients known as emollients, humectants, occlusives, or moisturizing agents that help to hydrate and moisturize the skin.

  • Emollients - help to soften and smooth the skin,
  • Humectants - attract and retain moisture from the environment.
  • Occlusives -form a protective barrier that helps to seal in moisture and prevent water loss from the skin.
  • Moisturizing agents - replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier and improve overall hydration.

These ingredients in sunscreen can provide basic moisturizing benefits by keeping the skin hydrated and preventing dryness, although the primary function of sunscreen is to protect the skin from UV radiation.

Moisturizing Ingredients In Sunscreen:

Here are some examples of moisturizing ingredients commonly found in sunscreens. All of which you will find our natural sunscreens:

  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a natural oil that is known for its moisturizing properties. It helps to soften and hydrate the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and nourished.
  • Shea Butter: Shea butter is a natural emollient extracted from the shea tree. It is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that moisturize and nourish the skin, helping to keep it hydrated and supple.
  • Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil is a natural oil that closely resembles the skin's sebum, making it an excellent moisturizer. It helps to balance the skin's natural oils and provides hydration without clogging pores.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is a plant-derived ingredient that has soothing and moisturizing properties. It helps to hydrate and calm the skin, making it an ideal ingredient for natural sunscreens.
  • Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a natural fat that is derived from cocoa beans. It is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that moisturize and nourish the skin, making it a popular ingredient in natural sunscreens.

No matter the type of sunscreen, the color of your skin, your age, or your gender, everybody can benefit by protecting themselves from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Just remember sunscreen is for life, not just for holidays.

How to choose the right sunscreen?

You know how important it is to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays but did you know there are two categories of sunscreen available?

We have made a quick summary of the two types below to help you choose which is best for you and your family.

1. Organic Filter Sunscreens (AKA Chemical Sunscreen) 

Not to be confused with organic, the term here does not refer to chemical-free ingredients. Organic UV filters are a group of compounds containing carbon, designed to absorb UV radiation. 

These sunscreens are by far the most common on the market and represent all of the big, high-street brands. They protect the skin by absorbing harmful UV rays, turning them into heat, and releasing them from the skin.

Big brands prefer this type of filter as the ingredients are cheap for mass production, produce products when combined with alcohol and other chemicals that can be pumped and sprayed, and enable them to make claims such as 'fast-drying'.

The worrying part about this type of sunscreen is that the skin can absorb the chemicals and there is evidence to suggest that they may disrupt biological processes like metabolism, growth, development, sexual function, and reproduction.

There is evidence stating that organic formulas also have negative effects on marine life and coral, prompting destinations such as Hawaii to ban their use and urging beachgoers to opt for inorganic “reef-safe” Sunscreens.

The most common active ingredients in these sunscreens are listed below. Check out your current sunscreen to see if any of these chemicals are inside: 
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Benzylparaben

2. Inorganic (AKA Physical Sunscreens)

Sometimes known as sunblock or non-nano sunscreen (more on this later), these sunscreen filters contain inorganic metals - Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide - that form a barrier on the skin, reflecting and absorbing harmful UV rays.

Up to now, they have earned a bit of a bad reputation for whitening your skin, being chalky, heavy, and generally not very nice to use. But thankfully new technology has seriously upped the physical sunscreen game. Making luxurious formulas that look and feel great like our silky SPF30 

Physical sunscreens are less likely to irritate, meaning they can be perfect for babies, children, those with sensitive skin, and those with heat-activated skin conditions (rosacea and redness, prickly heat).

Due to these facts, physical sunscreen filters are the no-brainer choice for Palm and Pine.

Palm & Pine mineral sunscreen

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and indicates the length of time that you will be protected from UVB rays (but not UVA, more on that later).

The time that you will be protected is based on a multiplication of the labeled SPF number. For example, an SPF 30 will protect you for 30 times longer than it would take for your skin to begin to burn (or go red) without any protection. This length of time can differ for different age groups or skin types.

These numbers are based on tests performed in a laboratory in perfect conditions but as you know life is anything but ordinary and the daily rigors can affect the time in which you are protected.

To stay protected it is important to re-apply every 2 hours and after any swimming or sweating.

Many believe that the SPF factor is in direct relation to its strength of UV protection but that is not true. For instance -

  • SPF 15 will protect from 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 will protect from 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 will protect from 98% of UVB rays

We recommend that if you are going out in the sun, you should pick a minimum of SPF 30 and avoid sunbathing when the sun is at its midday peak. A perfect excuse for a cocktail in the shade!

So what are UVA/UVB rays?

UV radiation is natural energy emitted by the sun that can not be seen by the human eye but is felt on the skin. There are 2 types of UV radiation proven to cause damage to the skin. 

1. UVB rays

UVB radiation penetrates the outermost layers of your skin causing sunburn and in extreme cases blistering. Overexposure to UVB rays has been proven to lead to genetic defects and mutations, potentially leading to skin cancer.

UVB rays are most prominent when the sun is high in the middle of the day and can still damage the skin when reflected off surfaces like water and snow. It can be stronger at higher altitudes so if you are out in the mountains always remember to protect yourself.

The SPF label on sunscreens only refers to UVB protection.

2. UVA rays

Whilst slightly less harmful than UVB, UVA accounts for 95% of ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth and is known to absorb deeper into the skin. UVA radiation keeps a similar strength throughout daylight hours and can penetrate clouds and glass meaning that it is everywhere all the time.

Scientists used to think this type of radiation was safe and sunscreen only protected against UVB radiation but it has now been proven UVA rays are harmful.
Look for sunscreens like Palm & Pine, labeled with UVA/UVB protection or Broad Spectrum Protection.

If sunburn, wrinkles, dark spots, and potential skin cancer are not your thing then avoiding overexposure to UVA is a great place to start.


How to avoid skin damage


Sunscreen is not only smart, but it’s also essential. It not only protects from skin cancer but moisturizes and slows the aging of the skin. Slapping it on and catching that first scent reminding you of every dreamy summer holiday you’ve ever had, lying in the sun without a care in the world.

However, sunscreen is not just for the beach.

Protecting your skin should be as routine as waking up and brushing your teeth. UV protection should be part of your daily skincare routine, before leaving the house, no matter what your plans are.

It’s time to redefine sunscreen and consider it as daily UV protection. Look at it as an upgrade from your current moisturizer. Your skin will thank you for it.

New Technology

Thanks to amazing advancements in knowledge and technology within the sun care industry, along with new findings of current ingredients and how your body reacts to sunlight, Palm & Pine is developing UVA and UVB protection using non-organic filters, minus the ghostly whitening usually associated with zinc sunscreens. Providing healthy, sustainable, daily UV protection.

Natural sunscreen 

One Last Thing

Always remember that in addition to sunscreen the right clothing (hats, long sleeve tops, trousers) and managing your time in the sun should always be the priority, especially when it comes to young children and the elderly.

We’re here to keep you protected and informed so you can make the best choices for protecting your skin.

Part 2 of our guide to sunscreen takes you on a journey through history from the invention of sunscreen to where we are today!

We love to hear from you so comment below with questions and check out part 2, a History of Sunscreen, tomorrow!

See you outside ☀️

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