• ALL you ever wanted to know about Sunscreen



    We just celebrated Shivratri here in India. For us it heralds the arrival of summer, that we know needs preparation for. Our skin is what we think of the least. Yes, we understand that prepping for summer includes staying hydrated and excercising. This year I’m putting SUNSCREEN on the list. Here’s all you need to know about finding what works best for you!

     For those of you who don’t know, I’m pushing forty now and while the last two decades for me have been about natural and organic way of life: food, skincare, exercise, I find that sun protection is now a priority. I don’t yet make my own sunscreen product, and while I research it, here’s everything I do know about sunscreen.

    Does organic Suncreen exist?

    If you are like me, and are looking for Organic Sunscreen, you are unfortunately hunting for the unicorn of the sun protection industry. Organic sunscreen simply cannot exist and I’m hoping to articulate an explanation:

    At present, for any product (read skincare, bath care and food!) to truly be certified “Organic,” all of its ingredients must be of food grade organic quality. They must literally be edible. I have searched high and low and there still aren’t any edible ingredients that could be considered by lab standards a sunblock. Shea butter is known to have sun protective qualities, however its efficacy pales in comparison to titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which no one should ever eat.

     In Europe, there is the Ecocert recognistiom. While this form of certification is much more akin to the realities of formulating a fantastic beauty product, it still is not enforceable in India.Not all ingredients must be edible, but they must be organically grown. (This makes MUCH more sense for skin care, but again in India there is almost no way to ensure that a product has been grown organically for at least , for this the soil should have been chemical and pesticide free for at least seven years.) There is ECOCERT Organic and ECOCERT Natural both of which are great standards you can trust. Ecocert from Europe has certified organic sunscreens by Lovea.

     Having said this, the best sunscreens are not always chemical free. After all, the objective of sunscreen is to minimize the harmful effects of the sun on your skin.

    When looking for a sunscreen, just know that there really isn’t any such thing as a chemical free product and that’s ok. There are oodles of products out there parading around calling themselves natural and chemical free. Natural? Maybe. Chemical free? Not in this life. If something calls itself chemical free, just know you’re being lied to. Water. Good old H2O, is scientifically speaking a chemical. (Di-hyrdrogen-monoxide in case you were wondering.) In truth, we want to avoid toxins, not chemicals. The first list below is a great guideline on what to exclude from your sun care regimen.

    Ingredients to Avoid:

    • OMC (octyl methoxycinnamate)
    • Octocrylene
    • Avobenzone
    • Oxybenzone
    • Homosalate
    • Octinoxatre
    • Octisalate
    • Micronized and Nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide

    Ingredients that your skin loves:

    • Coconut Oil
    • Shea Butter
    • Aloe Vera Gel
    • Sunflower Oil
    • Jojoba Oil
    • Eucalyptus Oil
    • Green Tea
    • Vitamins D and E


    Given that we are now equipped with basic knowledge of sunscreen composition, its best to determine the function of sunscreen in your skincare regime , while choosing what works best for you.


    When I think of everyday use, I am talking about driving, running errands, playing tennis, going on a hike, or hanging at the pool. For these types of days I recommend a physical sunscreen with all natural ingredients. This means that the active ingredients will be titanium dioxide and or zinc oxide and the “non active ingredients” will be items you can pronounce such as, shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera gel, green tea and others. Green Tea both topically applied and consumed has some fantastic lab studies showing how well it fights cancer and helps repair damage due to UV over exposure.

    And like all sun care, these products must be reapplied regularly throughout the day.


    For the days when you are frolicking at your favorite exotic waterfall, spending the day at the beach or doing something extreme involving long periods of time in the water like snorkeling or kayaking, your best protection is unfortunately a combination of both a physical block and some help from the chemist’s lab. You are facing a trade off. The down side of occasionally using a less than totally natural sun block in addition to protective clothing is far smaller than the damage you would do to your skin with a burn.

     For days when you have to use more intensive sun protection, make sure to use a good moisturizer on your body and face first before applying sun block. At the end of the day, make sure you give yourself a good heavy-handed cleansing and moisturizing.

     For face, I am a huge fan of Photostable Sunscreen Gel. It’s available at the local pharmacy and was recommended by my dermatologist, Dr Nobbay. This stuff makes me wish I didn’t have to kick my less than natural product habit. It’s that good and it wears beautifully, just a little white. (Buyer beware. This product does have some parabens.) For body, I use Clinique.


     With sun care products, there are two kinds of ways to block the sun’s rays: chemically and physically.

    There are man-made chemicals that can absorb the UV rays so we don’t have to. Recently there has been much concern that these chemicals are doing more harm than good. Some articles go so far to call these chemicals toxins, even carcinogens and irritants. They get absorbed into the body or are too effective at blocking the sun interfering with Vitamin D production. For all these reasons, opt for a physical sun block whenever possible.

     The other kind of sun protection is ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that block the sun the way an umbrella does, physically.


    When selecting a physical sun block, it’s important that none of the ingredients in your sun care product be ‘micronized’ or ‘nano.’ These are two words essentially meaning the same thing in reference to the very tiny size of the ingredient particles except one is smaller than the other. Think of it as small and smaller, micro and nano.

    Several products will tout their nano or micronized ingredients because they wear on the skin better or because the company thinks it sounds cutting edge. Scientists still aren’t sure how safe these ingredients are and have two major concerns: 

    • These very tiny particles could potentially end up being absorbed into our skin and then into our bloodstreams and possibly end up in undesirable places like our livers.
    • The other concern about nano and micro ingredients are their stability at such a small size. While nano science is a relatively new field of study, there is one concern that has been well documented. Substances on a macro scale do not behave the same way on a micro scale.

     Since testing and licensing authorities like the Drug Control Department, does not require this information on product labels, the BEST way to determine if your sunblock is of the safer ilk is to both do a quick little patch test on your arm.If your non-chemical, physical block leaves your skin a little white, then chances are it’s fine. If it disappears completely, it’s most likely micronized. Choose the one that leaves you white-ish.


    One other popular ingredient to avoid is topical Vitamin A in its myriad forms. This popular antioxidant is known as retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinoid, and retin A. Studies have shown these topical ingredients not only increase sun damage, but when on skin exposed to sun, increases the likelihood of cancerous cell development, photocarcinogenicity. These ingredients may be found in your moisturizers and prescriptions as well as your sunblock. Though it’s touted as a popular topical antioxidant, it does your skin no favors in the sun. Avoid this ingredient in its myriad names altogether for any daywear.

     (Note: this does not mean foods or oral “whole food” based supplements containing antioxidant vitamin A or beta carotene are harmful—in fact just the opposite! You just want to avoid putting vitamin A on your skin in a topical form.)


    • Let’s get physical! Always choose a non-micronized and non-nano physical sun screen.
    • Look for yummy ingredients like Shea Butter and green tea.
    • If you have to use a less than natural sun care product, be sure to moisturize before application and to properly wash it off.
    • Reapply, reapply, reapply no matter if it’s completely natural or not.


    The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of research used to create this article is also used to formulate Areev Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Areev’s Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! I can be reached at and I’m happy to help in any way that I can.

  • Skincare Routines

    The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of research used to create this article is also used to formulate Areev Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Areev’s Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life!

    Your skin is influenced by both external and internal factors. Using plant based skin care products makes visible improvements. Almost all of us can balance and normalise our skin with the right products and some simple lifestyle changes. We've even seen those with great skin being amazed at how much better their skin looks and feels with the right care. To give your skin the right product care it's important to know and work with the type of skin you have. Here's a handy infographic to help you determine your skin type:




    Most people have an idea of what skin type they have, if you're unsure here's a simple test :

    • Remove any make-up, rinse your face with water and pat it dry with a clean towel and wait an hour.
    • Place a single layer of white tissue (peel apart the tissue layers to get just one) over your face and press it gently onto the entire surface.
    • Leave it for a few minutes, then lift it off and inspect the results.

    OILY SKIN: the tissue will stick to the sebum, pick up oily spots and become translucent.

    NORMAL/ COMBINATION : the tissue will stick to your T-zone. Refer to the chart to distinguish between normal and combination skin.

    DRY SKIN / AGEING SKIN : the paper won't stick to your skin at all indicating very low sebum levels.Refer to the chart to distinguish between dry and ageing skin.

    Once you are sure of your skin type use products that are relevant as plant based skin care is highly functional although results require disciplined care. As we age, our skin types tends to also change or vary from season to season. Make sure your in the loop by paying attention to minute changes in your skin response to your lifestyle.

  • Make the most of your soap!

     There’s no doubt about it. At Areev we love our soap and are obsessed with it, so much so that we can’t bear to waste even a scrap of it.What do you do with the stocked up bars of soap lying around in your home? They can be used for many other purposes! Here are a few that we’ve found useful :

    • Lubricate nails, screws, and saw blades: Soap on metal helps it go through wood more easily. Nails and screws go in easier and are less likely to split the wood if they are first stuck in a bar of soap. Rubbing soap over a handsaw blade will help it cut straighter and be less resistant to the wood.
    • Keep your fingernails clean: While you’re working in the garden or potting plants, scrape your fingernails over a bar of soap to collect slivers underneath them. This will prevent dirt from caking under your nails and the soap washes out easily.
    • Keep bugs off plants: Soap works as an insect repellent and can protect your plants from being eaten by bugs. Mix soap with water until it’s sudsy, then put the water solution in a bottle and spray the underside of plant leaves.
    • Relieve itchy bug bites: Rub the bites with a dampened bar of soap for instant itch relief. It also helps keep the bites clean.
    • Keep your clothes fresh: Place bars of soap in closets, drawers, suitcases, and bins where you store your clothing. It’ll also repel bugs and prevent musty odors.
    • Remove stains from fabric: Rub a damp bar of white soap over stains, then wash the clothes
    • Mark a hem: Instead of using store-bought marking chalk, use a sliver of bar soap to draw a line for a hem. It washes out more easily than chalk.
    • Garden bug repellent:Place a bar of soap in your garden to keep pests away
    • Household bug repellent: Mix soap and water and place in a spray bottle and spray around your home to rid your house of spiders and bugs
    • Rid your house of fleas: Place some liquid soap in a bowl mixed with water under a light and it will attract fleas and they will drowned
    • Zippers: Loosen stuck or rusty zippers by sliding some bar soap up & down the zipper
    • Detect gas leaks: Mix a solution of water and soap and rub along pipes, if it bubbles, you found your leak.
    • Soot prevention: If you’re planning a cook out using a cast iron pot, rub a bar of soap over the bottom of the pot before you set it over the open flame. The soap will make for easy cleanup, as the soap will prevent the soot from accumulating.
    • Halt squeaks in floorboards: work a little moist soap into the cracks between the boards.
    • Loosen a tight ring: Rub soap over the finger. The ring will slide off when the hand is washed.
    • Loosen a stiff door lock: Lubricate the key by rubbing it with soap.
    • Keep eyeglasses from steaming in cold weather: Rub both sides of each lens with soapy fingers, and then polish.
    • Smelly sneakers, boots or shoes: Simply place a wrapped bar of the soap in your shoes, sneaker or boots and leave overnight. They will smell fresh by morning.
    • Make your own hydrating shave lotion: Mix together a solution of one part hot water and one part grated bar soap.
    • Make old-fashioned drawers slide easier: Rub soap on the wood-on-wood surfaces to make drawers slide easier.
    • Make sliding glass doors slide easier: Rub soap on the bottom track of sliding glass doors.
    • Helps a sewing needle go through fabric easily: Stick needle into soap.

     If you are like us and like maximizing efficiency and usefulness, you’ll make a little soap go a long, long way !

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