Does this mean that you should do whatever you can to get your sun exposure to zero?

Most of us spend the majority of our working days indoors. In our opinion, this makes the everyday use of sunscreen controversial. For the most part – sunscreens with high SPFs use chemical compounds to absorb UV light. They prevent sunburn but in the process release free radicals, which accelerate ageing and increase cancer risk. They often mimic oestrogen.

Aside from that, almost all of us are vitamin D deficient – another factor that increases cancer risk and also the risk of depression. Ideally we should spend at least 15 min a day in direct sunlight with as much exposed skin as possible to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. We do understand that protecting your face from UV is important.  So on days when you do get more than 15 min of sunshine, covering up with a hat is a good idea. Esse moisturisers offer a low protection due to the action of the wild-harvested base oils – this is around spf 4.  On your average day, we feel that this is enough.

Another consideration is the effect of a sunscreen on your skin’s microbes. Esse is strongly focused on maintaining a healthy skin microbiome as we feel this is the first line of defence and a major player in barrier function. Every product that you use will have a selective effect on the microbes that live in and on your skin and sunscreen is no exception.

All of us are designed to spend the majority of our days outdoors … just at different latitudes. If you have dark skin, then melanin protects you from the bulk of the damage caused by UV, even at the equator. If you have light skin then you’re vulnerable to the high UV levels in the tropics but you make vitamin D around 5 times faster than people with dark skin. So take your skin tone into account.

If we do suggest that a sunblock is used, it’s only on days when exposure is for extended periods … longer than 30 minutes … and then we suggest a sunscreen that uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These reflect UV rays instead of absorbing photons and ejecting free radicals.