How Smart Are You About Sunscreen?

We all know sunscreen is a must right? We all know that the sun is not our skin’s BFF and stupidly spent hours in the sun can make us look way older, way sooner than we need to.

But are you sun smart? By that I mean, do you know what’s in your sun creams, or do you just pile them on mindlessly, because you think they are good?

I recently had a rude awakening, with a sunscreen from brand which I love, and actually, a sunscreen that I kinda loved too.

We went on a little bush break and knowing how exposed to the sun I’d be on our game drives, I covered my entire face.

Not only loading up with sun cream religiously, but I wore a cap the entire time, plus huge sunglasses.

If you looked at me, I looked pretty sun smart!

When we came back however, I noticed that my pigmentation patches were worse! My hubby on the other hand, sans sunscreen and a cap half the time came back with a nice “holiday tan”.

I was really frustrated because I took every precaution to avoid the sun seeing my face, but it didn’t help!

The only thing I had changed in my routine was adding sunscreen! Usually I wear a BB cream which has sun protection and foundation with an SPF, so unless I’m going out into the sun, I usually don’t use sunscreen.

I looked into the ingredients, and what I found, after researching each ingredient is that the sunscreen I had been using contained something called Octinoxate. This ingredient, ironically is in so many sunscreens. But this little bugger is a no-no for melasma sufferers and should be avoided at all costs.

Octinoaxate actually absorbs UVB and UVA rays into the skin, “protecting the layers of skin”, however I’m not so sure that inviting the harmful rays in in the first place, is such a good idea. Secondly, Octinoaxate is an estrogenic ingredient, and when estrogen levels are too high, the body produces additional melanin. This is probably the reason why so many women going through pregnancy or using the pill suffer with melasma.

Hormones are very much to blame!

Now I’m not singling out this ingredient as the cause of all my evil, but if you have melasma on your skin, you certainly want to avoid products that contain additional estrogenic ingredients that mess with your hormones and send them into whack!

The thing is nobody told me, nobody warned me and I was totally clueless on avoiding this ingredient for my melasma prone skin. Now that I know, I’ve got my sun-screen-radar tuned to the max!

I stopped using that sunscreen completely about a week ago, and my melasma has gotten lighter. Not to the level it was before we went on our bush break, but still, at least it has not been getting worse.

I went through my sunscreen stash and got rid of a huge, huge pile!

In my cleanup, I found a sunscreen collection that was sent to me little while back, and since it’s free from octocrylene, I tried it out and went into the sun. I am glad to say that my melasma was not affected!


Be Sun Smart! Know what's in your sunscreen

SVR Sun Secure Range

From French skincare brand SVR’s New Suncare Range, I got a sample of the SVR Sun Secure Blur Optical mousse cream SPF50+ (for face) and SVR Sun Secure Brume Invisible Fresh Mist (for the body).

This range offers physical protection of the skin’s surface, biological protection of the skin cells and has an in-depth DNA repair that assists with cancer prevention.

Free from parabens/ mineral oils, octocrylene/ propylene glycol and benzophenone/ menthyl benzoyl campor, the entire Sun-Care range from SVR is water, sweat and rub resistant.

The thing I love about the SVR Sun Secure Blur Optical mousse cream SPF50+ (R250 for 50ml) for the face is the beautiful scent and that it gently blurs out imperfections, making pores appear smoother and the texture of my skin looking more flawless. The cream itself is a slightly orange tinted, but blends out to an invisible finish.

It doesn’t leave my face all oily and greasy, and is quite comfortable to wear! I think it’s going to be my new go-to skincare range!

For the body, I’m obsessed with the SVR Sun Secure Brume Mist (R435 for 200ml), because I have a thing for invisible spray on sunscreens. These are especially useful when you’re lazing on the beach and wan’t to stay protected, but don’t want to deal with having to apply messy creams.

Both of these are delicately fragranced, with an allergen-free fragrance and they last for up to 8 hours!

You can find SVR products at Clicks stores nationwide.

Dimi Ingle

Dimi is the founder, editor and creative force behind StyleScoop. She curates the very best of fashion, beauty, travel, decor and lifestyle, every day, right here!

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Mariska Goussard
    October 12, 2017 / 7:13 am

    Thank you so much for this post! I honestly didn’t know about Octinoxate and I was horrified by what I read! This explains why I came back with pigmentation spots from my holiday despite slathering my face in a high-end sunscreen. What a pity!

    • October 12, 2017 / 8:26 am

      Hi Mariska. You are very welcome, glad it helped 🙂
      Its so scary to realise that while you think you’re doing “good” to your skin, you might actually be making it worse. If you read up on Oxtinoxate it is used in many sunscreens (even foundations and face creams) and while it doesnt affect everyone, a lot of the negativity on its use comes from melasma sufferers. It was a huge eye opener for me, because nearly every face sun block Ive used has this in it.

      My melasma has been prominent for years, and ive always been the one who was instistant on using high level sunscreens on my face. Now I am in two minds! Apparently the best sun protection for melasma sufferers is to avoid chemical sunscreens completely and use physical (mineral) sunblock instead.

      Good luck

  2. Mellie
    October 12, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing Dimi! I also have melasma and use sun screen without knowing about Octinoaxate! I will be on the look out from now on!

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