We've had many customers ask why we don't manufacture anything higher than SPF30 when it comes to sunscreen. This decision wasn't made lightly... During the formulation of the P4O sunscreen, we had to find the right synergy of ingredients in order to create our perfect sunblock: a product that works and lasts, feels great, and cares for the skin and natural ecosystems. And finally, we had to love our product above all...otherwise what's the point right?
Our intention with this product was to provide high sun protection with a 100% natural formula, using the mineral zinc oxide as our only active ingredient. For many goods reasons, we made the conscious (and unanimous) decision of formulating no higher than SPF30. And here is why…
Reason #1: High-SPF products cannot be natural
Formulating with SPF50 went against our very first intention to create a 100% natural sunscreen. We simply couldn’t manufacture a 100% natural product that also was SPF50. In order to reach an SPF higher than 30, the addition of chemicals was required. The reality is, no sunscreen blocks 100% of UV rays. The sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of protection sunscreen gives against UVB radiation. In lab conditions, SPF30 filters 97% of UVB, SPF50 filters 98% and SPF100 up to 99%.
Reason #2: High-SPF products pose greater risk to health
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), high-SPF products require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals than low-SPF sunscreens. Some of these ingredients may pose health risks when they penetrate the skin and have been linked to tissue damage and potential hormone disruption. Some may trigger allergic skin reactions. If studies showed that high-SPF products were better at reducing skin damage and skin cancer risk, that extra chemical exposure might be justified. But they don’t, so choosing sunscreens with lower concentrations of active ingredients – SPF 30 instead of SPF 70, for example – is prudent.
Reason #3: Consumers misuse high-SPF products
Many studies have found that people are misled by the claims on high-SPF sunscreen bottles. They are more likely to use high-SPF products improperly and as a result may expose themselves to more harmful ultraviolet radiation than people relying on products with lower SPF values. As a result, they get as many UVB-inflicted sunburns as unprotected sunbathers and are likely to absorb more damaging UVA radiation.
P4O ®, Way to Go
Formulating a SPF30 sunscreen with zinc oxide allowed us to create an honest and versatile product with ingredients and results we can trust. The mineral filter zinc oxide provides excellent broad-spectrum protection and has several advantages over synthetic actives. Zinc particles sit on top of your skin and act as a reflective barrier (like a mirror) to block both UVAs & UVBs from penetrating your skin and causing damage and ageing. Moreover, zinc oxide is the only FDA* and TGA** approved Broad Spectrum sun protection ingredient, and unlike any other active ingredient, its concentration in a product has no limitation. It is also the EWG (Environmental Working Group) nº1 ingredient for sun protection. Finally, it is the only reef-safe UV filter available. In order to provide high sun protection, zinc should be at a minimum concentration of 20%. P4O sunscreen contains 22% of zinc oxide, providing natural high & broad spectrum sun protection in a product designed for face & body and worthy of your whole family, including kids and pets. Add to this Shea Butter, sustainably harvested Tasmanian Beeswax and a garden of spa-quality botanicals and you have P4O sunblock! 100% natural, 3-hour water resistant and completely reef-safe. Find more about our products and general sunscreen facts on our FAQs page.
* Food & Drug Administration (US Government).
** Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australian Government).