Sawyer Sunscreen Technology
Sawyer's Bonding Base Technology
The Sawyer Stay-put sunscreens bond to the skin in a unique way that give you the best and most comfortable protection you have ever experienced. Think of it as a "breathable matrix". While most sunscreen hold the lotions in the top two layers of skin, Sawyer's Stay-put sunscreen also "bond" the sunray absorbing agents deeper into the skin. By spreading the same volume of lotion over a larger cubic area of skin, the result is less sunscreen lotion per area of skin, thus a more comfortable feel. You will hardly even know you have sunscreen on and the deeper the lotion is, the less likely to wash off and rub off than surface sunscreens.
You skin has many layers of cells from the base (basal level) to the top. Theses cells are constructed sort of like the Grand Canyon on a micro scale. That is how sweat can be generated at the lowest levels and pass to the top. Sawyer's Stay-put sunscreens use a special technology to bond the ray absorbing agents to the sidewalls of the canyon. Thus, sweat and water pass over the compounds without flushing them away. This makes the formulas highly resistant to deterioration due to sweating or swimming, and it is still very comfortable to wear.
How SPFs works
The chart below demonstrates how SPF's are calculated. In reality you very seldom need more than an SPF30 which blocks out or absorbs 97% of the sunrays. To achieve an SPF of 45 or 50 manufacturers have to add 25% to 50% more absorbing agents while achieving very little in the way of skin protection, absorbing only an extra 1 or 2%. Your body can naturally handle around 17% of the rays without burning so you are thus packing your skin with lots of extra absorbing agents yielding essentially no additional protection.
This is why we highly recommend that you start with our SPF 30 formula and only move to a higher SPF in the case of intense situations (as described below) if needed. If you go strictly by the math you see that you only need an SPF of 6 or 8 to get enough protection to supplement the body's natural protection. But since 90% of the population under applies sunscreen relative to the FDA "dosage" we recommend using our SPF30 because an under applied dosage of SPF30 will give you enough absorbents to protect you.
UVA rays are often referred to as the "wrinkling rays". This is really only true of the shorter UVA rays (see chart below) and any good SPF 30 formula will get those rays even if they do not absorb the longer and non harmful UVA rays.
|SPF Level||% of UVB Sunrays Absorbed||% of Formula that is Heavy Oil (Absorbers)
|45||98%||50 to 60%
|30||97%||40 to 50%
|15||93%||30 to 40%
|8||88%||20 to 30%
|4||75%||15 to 25%
New FDA Regulations
In response to industry pressure the FDA issued new label guidelines for sunscreens (the use of the word sunblock is no longer allowed) requires protection against the entire spectrum of UVA rays in order to use the term "Broad Spectrum" sunscreen. Unfortunately the only way to achieve absorption of the longest UVA rays is to use a chemical called Avobenzone. You will see this feature highly touted beginning this year.
Sawyer WILL NOT add Avobenzone to its formulas for two reasons. First is that the longer UVA rays are not harmful to your skin as shown in the chart and therefore do not need to be absorbed, and Secondly Avobenzone is not stable in natural light and as it dissipates it removes with it some of the other sunscreen absorbents. Therefore not only will the labels for the products containing Avobenzone recommend reapplications every two hours, you will need to do so or risk getting burned. Sawyer's bonding base formulas have a great reputation for how long they last and even though we will also have to change our labels to recommend frequent reapplications we think the people who have used our tried and true formulas in the past will appreciate how well they will continue to work while other brands may not be as good as they were before the new regulations.
The higher SPF formulas (above SPF30) will hold in your body heat which can be helpful in cold weather, but please be careful in warmer weather to make sure you can adequate cool yourself.
Intense sun conditions include:
On hot and humid days it is important to consider the need for your body to sweat and cool itself. Higher SPF formulas (and non breathable Matrix formulas) may inhibit heat transfer. It is important to remember this with younger children as they have not fully developed their ability to sweat. In such cases the lower SPF formula should actually provide better protection.
- Low latitudes (near the equator)
- Higher altitudes
- Peak sun season: May, June and July in the Northern Hemisphere
- Intense time of the day 10am to 2pm
- Sun exposure after long periods with little sun exposure
In special situations where you cannot apply the initial application of the sunscreen to cool and dry skin you may choose Sawyer's SPF 50 which is formulated to stick to moist skin (which is why it feels greasy) but you should take care and try to keep yourself as cool as possible. Areas of thin skin may need reapplications of the SPF 30 or even the special SPF 50 later in the day or after heaving rubbing or moisture exposure.