The SPF Ref

Every question you’ve ever had about suncare—answered.

Behind The Brand

Why is it called Supergoop!?

People aren’t generally fond of sunscreen—they think it smells bad, feels gross, and has bad chemicals. We wanted to create a sunscreen that people actually enjoy using so we created Supergoop! as a fun way to deliver a serious message. Supergoop! has a playful name—just try and say it without smiling— but tries to instill the importance of using UV protection every single day. The name also appeals to children, which is important because we want people to begin healthy sun habits starting from a young age.

How did it get the name Supergoop!?

The brand name Supergoop! originated in a very organic way early on in the beginning of the company. As Holly was working with laboratories, critiquing numerous lab samples of initial SPF formulas, she asked a small group of doctors and mothers—two key demographics she was aiming to get feedback from—to be on her formulation approval task force. As the group rigorously examined numerous versions of SPF, they referred to the lab samples as “goop.” Dr. Thaggard, former Chief of Staff at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, TX, provided his stamp of approval on a particular sample he coined “super”. When Holly heard him say “this is it, this is the supergoop”, she knew she had just heard the now noteworthy brand name she had been searching for, Supergoop!. Did you know—Supergoop! is always written with an exclamation point.

Why is Supergoop! different from other sunscreens?

We recognize that traditional sunscreen is the farthest thing from “feels good”, so we strive to formulate products that you and your family actually want to put on: they are lightweight, never greasy or sticky and easily absorb into skin. Supergoop! is the first and only prestige skincare brand completely dedicated to sun protection. Supergoop! has Super Broad Spectrum protection, which means it protects skin from UVA rays, UVB rays and IRA rays.

SPF Basics

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and measures protection against UVB rays (the burning rays). This is a rating that is calculated in a lab setting to measure how long you can be exposed to UV rays before getting sunburnt. For example, if your skin starts to get sunburnt after just five minutes of exposure without protection, an SPF 30 formula would protect you for 150 minutes before you start to burn. It's important to remember that the SPF rating is obtained via a very exact testing protocol in a lab setting and the level of protection can vary when you don't apply enough product. They key is to apply generously and evenly to ensure the maximum level of protection.

What’s the difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50?

Not a lot really! SPF 15 protects from about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 will protect your from about 97% of UVB rays, and SPF 50 will protect you from about 98% of UVB rays. The FDA does not allow brands to claim higher than an SPF 50 rating because it gives consumers a false sense of protection. Any SPF higher than 50 will only protect from about 98.5-99% and exposes the skin to higher concentrations of chemicals than necessary.

What does PA+++ mean?

A PA rating is obtained via a Japanese testing protocol to measure the protection against UVA rays (the aging rays). In the U.S., as per FDA regulation, sunscreens simply state if they offer protection from UVA rays (via a Broad Spectrum claim) but it doesn't indicate exactly what level of UVA protection that is. Until recently, PA +++ was the highest UVA protection rating but an update to the protocol now allows for PA ++++.

Why don’t you make an SPF above 50?

When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate sunburn protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn. SPFs higher than 50 offer marginally better sunburn protection, but often give people a false sense of security, causing them to stay out in the sun longer without reapplying, resulting in sunburn. Also, the FDA does not allow brands to claim higher than an SPF 50 rating because it gives consumers a false sense of protection. 

Why don't you make waterproof products?

No sunscreen formulas are water"proof" or sweat"proof" - only water and sweat resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes. Reapplication is key!

Ingredient Info

What are the bad chemicals to watch out for in sunscreen?

First of all, oxybenzone. This is widely used in sunscreen, is an irritant and allergen, and it also damages coral reefs. A few others include synthetic fragrance - manufacturers are not required to disclose what’s in their particular fragrance blend, so that could trigger a lot of allergic reactions, and also retinyl palmitate, and parabens. We don’t use any of these in our Supergoop! formulas.

Do you use oxybenzone?

No, oxybenzone is used in many sunscreens as a UVB and UVA filter. The problem is, it can be absorbed through the skin and has been linked to hormone disruption. In fact, it’s such a common trigger for allergic reactions that it has been named the Allergen of the Year by the American Academy of Dermatology. All of Supergoop!’s products are oxybenzone-free and instead use other safe ingredients that provide broad spectrum protection.

What are parabens?

Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products to prevent bacteria growth. The reason they are controversial is that they mimic estrogen in the body and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. All Supergoop! products are paraben-free.

Are Supergoop! products gluten-free?

Yes, 100% of Supergoop! products are gluten-free. In fact, we have received really great feedback from those with allergies!

Are Supergoop! products vegan?

We use beeswax in our Fusion Lip Balm formulas and our Lip Shield, so, depending on how strict you are you may wish to avoid these options.

Does Supergoop! contain silicones?

In short, only silicones with low hazard EWG safety ratings. Silicones are sometimes helpful in that they reduce the greasy, sticky and heavy feeling that most people associate with sunscreens. Silicones also help maximize the efficacy and protection of the sunscreen actives as they allow more a more uniform application of the product, specifically in water and sweat resistant products.

What are the benefits of antioxidants in sunscreens?

Antioxidants help fight UV and IRA induced free radical damage which leads to dehydrated skin, loss of elasticity and can speed along skin aging. They also help protect against other environmental aggressors and boost the skin's ability to repair and renew itself.

What’s the deal with Vitamin D? Will I still get enough if I wear SPF every day?

Wearing sunscreen everyday will not cause you to become Vitamin D deficient. Your body creates Vitamin D when it's exposed to UV rays - just 5-10 minutes of incidental exposure is enough time to make a sufficient amount. However, when you wear sunscreen, some UV rays still reach the skin and allow your body to create Vitamin D. Other sources of Vitamin D can be found with foods like milk, orange juice and fatty fish. You can also take a multivitamin or supplement containing Vitamin D.

Should I be concerned about Vitamin A in my sunscreen?

Yes. We avoid the use of Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) as data from an FDA cancer study showed that when used with a sunscreen ingredient, the formula may speed up the growth of skin tumors. These effects happen only when retinyl palmitate or other forms of vitamin A are used on skin in the presence of sunlight. The study of retinyl palmitate toxicity was conducted by scientists at the FDA and the National Toxicology Panel (NTP 2012). Their findings reinforced earlier data identifying health risks of vitamin A in sun-exposed skin care products.

I’ve heard about phototoxicity. What does that mean?

The general term used to describe the reaction to a substance applied on the skin that occurs in the presence of UV light is photosensitization. This reaction can be either phototoxic or photoallegenic. Photoallergenic reactions are very rare and usually triggered by topical medicines. On the other hand, phototoxic reactions are much more common. What triggers these types of reactions are a group of compounds called furanocoumarins that are present in many essential oils. These compounds react to UV-light and can cause an inflammatory reaction in the skin. In general, furanocoumarins are present in most citrus oils but these oils can be safely diluted or processed to remove these compounds. There are a few formulas in our line which use a small amount of citrus essential oil for a better user experience and free radical protection but contain very, very low levels of furanocoumarins to ensure the lowest risk of irritation.

The formulas applicable to the above are:
• Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 and SPF 50 (citrus-based natural fragrance blend)
• Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 (citrus-based natural fragrance blend)
• Super Power Sunscreen Mousse SPF 50 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.002% concentration in the product)
• Healthy Glow Sunless Tan SPF 40 (citrus component in emulsifier system, less than 0.002% concentration in the product)
• Forever Young Hand Cream SPF 40 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.05% concentration in the product)
• Forever Young Body Butter SPF 40 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.02% concentration in the product)

What about Vitamin C? Why is that included in some of your formulas?

Vitamin C itself does not cause irritation, instead, compounds called furanocoumarins found in ingredients rich in vitamin C are the culprits in triggering photosensitivity. A few of our formulas, listed below, contain some ingredients rich in Vitamin C but are processed to contain a non-irritating, low concentration of furanocoumarins. On the flip side, Vitamin C in sunscreen formulas actually helps sunscreens be more effective by scavenging free radicals that get generated by UV rays.

The formulas applicable to the above are:
• Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 and SPF 50 (citrus-based natural fragrance blend)
• Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 (citrus-based natural fragrance blend)
• Super Power Sunscreen Mousse SPF 50 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.002% concentration in the product)
• Healthy Glow Sunless Tan SPF 40 (citrus component in emulsifier system, less than 0.002% concentration in the product)
• Forever Young Hand Cream SPF 40 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.05% concentration in the product)
• Forever Young Body Butter SPF 40 (citrus component in natural fragrance blend, less than 0.02% concentration in the product)

Are Supergoop! formulas reef safe?

The most common culprit in harming coral reefs is oxybenzone, something we have never used and never will in any of our formulas!

Do any of your products contain octinoxate?

We always want to create the safest, healthiest, cleanest SPF products without sacrificing efficacy, or how well they actually work. In 2007, we were the very first SPF brand not to use oxybenzone, even though every chemist told us it would be impossible.

Since then, our No List has grown to include over 100 ingredients, and it will now also include octinoxate. We've already been working with our chemists on its removal from our existing formulas, because our mission has always been to do whatever it takes to stop the epidemic of skin cancer, regardless of legislation.

And for those of you swimming in the coral reefs, we recommend our 100% mineral sunscreen mist. Just make sure to shake well, because no mineral formula should ever go on clear!

Application Tips

Can I layer SPF to achieve a higher SPF protection?

No, using different SPF sunscreens will not result in higher protection; the SPF protecting you is the highest one you apply. For example, if you were to put on an SPF 15 and then an SPF 30 you would have SPF 30 protection, not SPF 45.

If I’m using CC Cream as my primary SPF, how much do I need to apply to make sure it’s effective?

We recommend using 1/4 tsp, which should look like a nickel-sized dollop. Measure it out properly once and you might see how little you've been using.

How much sunscreen is enough to use for full protection?

We recommend using 1 fl. oz. (the size of a shot glass) for full protection for face and body. This breaks down to about 1/2 tsp for face and neck, 1 tsp for each arm, 2 tsp for the torso and 2 tsp for each leg. Of course this should be adjusted based on height!

And remember, for all products: 

- For external use only. 

- Do not use on damaged or broken skin.

- Stop use and ask a doctor if rash occurs.

- When using products, keep out of eyes. Rinse with water to remove.

- Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

How often do I need to reapply?

The general rule of thumb is to re-apply every two hours. This also depends on your activity. If you are swimming or sweating, you should wear water resistant or sweat resistant SPF. It is recommended to reapply after you are out of the water or done exercising, after towel drying, or after 40 or 80 minutes passes (these are the only time increments available for water and sweat resistance).

Why do I need to reapply SPF?

No matter what SPF rating you’re wearing, it doesn’t last all day. There are many different things that will cause the sunscreen to break down. For example, if you touch your face a lot, then you’re rubbing off sunscreen. If you’re sweating a little bit (we all perspire without even noticing it), those oils in our skin interact with the sunscreen and start breaking it down. If you apply sunscreen in the morning, even if you are not outside, you need to reapply by midday.

How can I reapply without messing up my makeup?

This is one of our most common questions! We have developed two products for super easy SPF reapplication over makeup: Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, and Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45 (available in our first 4 shades!). Both of these can be applied right over your makeup and will help set it in place, while helping to control shine.

How do I know I'm getting enough protection when using a mist?

You should spray on sunscreen mist for at least 6 seconds until your skin glistens. Then rub in with your hands.

Which parts of the body do people forget the most?

Some of the most missed spots are the ears, eye area, lips, neck, hands, the tops and soles of the feet and scalp (SPF hack: use Defense Refresh Setting Mist on your scalp or in your hair!)

How long before sun exposure should I apply SPF?

Be sure to apply SPF liberally to face and body at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure.

Which SPF is for me?

Can I use this sunscreen if I’m pregnant?

Sunscreen is important during pregnancy, as hormonal changes can make skin more susceptible to pigment change and sun damage. We recommend always checking with your physician when you have concerns about what products are best for you. 

Can I use Supergoop! on my kids?

Yes! Supergoop! is free of controversial ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances and oxybenzone so you can feel good about putting it on your kids. Most of our products are formulated with sensitive skin in mind, so they are very unlikely to irritate skin. We recommend starting a healthy sun protection habit with children as young as 6 months but always consult your doctor or pediatrician prior to product use.

I’m young - why should I worry about skin cancer or aging?

Even if you have limited daily sun exposure, it is still possible to get about as much sun in one to three months as in an afternoon at the beach. Wearing a daily sunscreen and practicing other sun-safe measures (wearing a hat, wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and staying in the shade) will help reduce the dangers of skin cancer and premature aging.

I have acne-prone skin and I’m afraid wearing sunscreen everyday will make it worse. What should I do?

Regardless of your skin type, you should still be wearing SPF every. single. day. If you have acne-prone skin, we recommend using any of our mineral SPF products, as they are less likely to clog your pores. Also, zinc oxide, one of its actives, is anti-inflammatory so it soothes irritation and redness!

What’s the best sunscreen to wear when I’m working out?

We recommend wearing our Everyday Sunscreen while exercising. The avobenzone based formula easily absorbs into the skin, allowing it to breath and sweat. Our Perfect Day 2-in-1 is also ideal to wear to work out with its fast-absorbing and lightweight formula!

Summer is over. Why do I still need SPF?

UVA rays are still present, at the same intensity, all year round. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. As we’ve learnt, UVA rays age your skin, and those cause everything that you don’t like about your skin when it gets older. It’s also important to remember that if the sky is cloudy, it doesn’t matter if it’s really dark - there are still about 30-80% of UV (A & B) rays that hit the ground. It’s very important that you wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, to protect your skin year-round.

I haven’t been the best about wearing sunscreen, where do I start?

It's never too late to start wearing sunscreen! The easiest way to begin is by incorporating it into your morning routine. We recommend using moisturizers, CC creams and setting mists that contain SPF for your daily dose of sun protection!

I work indoors, why do I need to apply SPF?

If you’re working indoors, chances are that you’re working near a window, or there’s some sort of daylight coming into the room where you are. If you’re not in a dark, windowless room, you’re getting exposed to UV rays. It’s important to remember that UVB rays, which are the ones that burn you, don’t penetrate through glass, so you won’t get a sunburn. However, UVA rays, the ones that age you, do. Your skin is still getting damaged, and that’s why you still need to wear sunscreen when working indoors.

The Full Spectrum

How is sunlight is reflected off sand and snow?

Sand reflects about 15 % of UV rays while fresh snow reflects up tp 80%. In this setting UV radiation is hitting your body from both above and below which means it's specially important to protect frequently missed spots like under the chin and behind the ears.

How does sun affect the skin when traveling in an airplane?

With every 1000 m in altitude, UV levels increase by approximately 10%. At the pilot seat, flying for 56.6 minutes at 30,000 feet, you could get the same amount of radiation of a 20-minute tanning beds session. Be sure to put on SPF before every flight!

What are the differences between UVA and UVB rays?

Here's an easy way to remember it: UVA = aging rays and UVB = burning rays. While most people associate applying sunscreen with preventing getting sunburned, it's important to remember that UVA rays are present throughout the year at the same intensity (even when it's cloudy) and the damage they cause it's not immediate visible. UVA ray damage will slowly but surely start to accelerate most of the signs of aging like pigmentation, loss of elasticity, rough skin, dryness, etc.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron. The extra electron makes them unstable and in order to stabilize themselves, these molecules will "steal" an electron from other healthy molecules. This process triggers a chain reaction that eventually results in damaged tissue. Free radicals are found everywhere but external factors like pollution and sunlight trigger the production of more of these molecules. Antioxidants help stop free radical damage by accepting or donating an electron to make it stable.

What are Infrared (IR) rays?

About 45% of the rays from the sun that reach the earth are Infrared. Infrared rays are what cause the sensation of warmth we feel when exposed to the sun, they're basically heat rays and are also emitted by other household items such as hair dryers. Infrared radiation contributes to the formation of free radicals but Antioxidants can help counteract this effect. A healthy dose of antioxidants is present in all Supergoop! products.

What is Blue Light, and what does it do to my skin?

Blue light is the high energy portion of the visible light spectrum and is known as High Energy Visible Light (HEV or HEVL). Most electronic devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs and even light bulbs emit blue light. While UVB rays penetrate the outermost layers of skin, HEV Light, like UVA rays, penetrates into the lower layers of skin. Both UVA rays and HEV Light generate free radicals and can cause skin to age prematurely. Given that most of us spend the majority of the time indoors in front of a blue light emitting device, it's important to protect our skin from this environmental aggressor.

What does ‘The Full Spectrum of Light’ mean?

The Full Spectrum of Light refers to the sunlight spectrum which is composed of UV, Visible Light (including blue high energy light) and Infrared Radiation.

Do UV rays used during gel manicures cause damage?

Yes! The nail lamps used during gel manicures use UVA light to cure the polish. UVA rays in combination with Infrared radiation (the heat-emitting rays) penetrate deep into the skin and can accelerate photoaging. Our Forever Young Hand Cream SPF 40 comes in a handy 1 fl. oz. tube perfect for carrying in your purse and applying before using one of these lamps.

When are the sun's rays strongest?

UV rays are strongest during the hours between 10am and 4pm. But remember! Invisible rays can reflect up toward you from the ground, so you may still need protection even in shade.