ANGEL OF THE MONTH
DR. TERRY ZICKERMAN
Dr.Terry talks the truth behind the sun-care industry and why you should ditch your conventional SPF for the sake of your health and our planet.
Dr. Terry Zickerman is the founder of Love Sun Body - the only American sunscreen that is in compliance with Eco-Cert Cosmos Natural that meets and exceeds the FDA, EU and Canadian Health regulations. He was on the search for sunscreens that effectively protect against sun damage with ingredients that safe for the skin and the oceans. As his father passed away from skin cancer, he found it extremely important to not only protect himself and everyone around him against the #1 most preventable cancer. Disappointed in the lack of choice in the market, Dr. Terry chose to carry on his father’s legacy by devoting 6 years of research, testing and formulation to create Love Sun Body - a sunscreen that does not compromise in performance, ingredients and sustainability.
We are told that sunscreen is the backbone for every beauty routine in terms of aging and our health. Although, many sunscreens on the market have ingredients that are responsible for hormonal disruptors, loss of marine life and lack of sun protection. How can a sunscreen not protect against the sun? Newsflash, just because it says SPF 50 on your sunscreen does not guarantee you will be protected. As consumers we have the right to know how the ingredients, we put on our skin effect ourselves and the world around us.
I fell in love with Love Sun Body instantly due to how amazing it felt and looked on my skin. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Terry to not only learn more about his ground-breaking sunscreen but give our readers the truth behind the sun-care industry. In this interview Dr. Terry dives deep in his journey of creating Love Sun Body which led to him discovering the lack of regulations within the sunscreen industry, the ingredients in our sunscreens that affect our health and and how we can do better.
Q : You were practicing chiropractic medicine before starting Love Sun Body. What did you learn about health and wellness from your academic background?
Academically I liked the profession, and what it stood for. Although, I didn’t like the thought of practicing as a doctor because that wasn't my vision of my life's goal. So I practiced (chiropractic medicine) for a couple of months and learned the the main mantra, or education around being a chiropractor versus a different type of doctor. When we (chiropractors) see a patient, they are coming to us with an issue. Our job is to find the causation and follow a treatment plan that optimizes both your health and recovery time. So I think chiropractic is synonymous to dominance and our holistic health.
Holistic Health is essentially what is actually cause and effect where medical doctors look to treat or mask the symptoms with treatment or with a drug. Whereas, doctors with using chiropractic medicine are looking for what is causing the physical manifestation of disease. So it really looks at a person differently. I'm a big believer in, you know, prescription but also looking at a patient as an individual.
Q : How did your main mantra towards holistic health lead to your interest in sun-care?
When I think of cause and effect I think of sunscreens. Skin cancer is the most preventable cancer if using sunscreen properly.
My interest for the sun-care industry started when my family and I visited a beach in Point Pleasant New Jersey in 2012, we were talking about sunscreens, and saying, “Well, why can't we find something that's 100% natural and why can't we find the sunscreen that's truly effective
We have used sunscreens in the past that were not effective, good for our health and didn’t feel nice on the skin. So I started to explore what makes a sunscreen effective.I found both physical and chemical sunscreens were equally effective so I couldn’t wrap my head around why we couldn’t find something that's 100% natural. My family and I dived deeper into the topic noticing that we’ve used sunscreens in the past that all claim to be the same SPF 30 or SPF 50 and there's some where you get sunburns and there’s others where you don’t. That's when I started doing the research, my wife that day came up with the name for our sunscreen. We spoke about all different names and at the end of the day came up with Love Sun Body and the next day I registered the website, and we started doing the work to create our sunscreen.
Q: It took you 6 years to create the product you are now selling today, what have you learned about the sunscreen industry on the road to creating your own sunscreen?
In that six years of research and development I was looking at the active ingredients and figuring out what does protect a patient or consumer from sun damage. Firstly, we looked in the United States; the FDA has 12 ingredients right now that are chemical sunscreens UV filters that are permitted by the FDA. As well as two mineral filters that are approved by the FDA. The chemical filters are known as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate . There’s a lot of them (chemical filters) out there and consumers have been using them for many years. Surprisingly enough, the initial UV filters that first came onto the market were zinc and titanium dioxide. Those were the first products that were on the market globally. What happened was, a lot of consumers had issues with the thick white cast it would leave on the skin. Since it is made up of titanium if you take the mineral powder itself and you put it on to the skin, It's a white powder. So, it really wasn't made very well. The cosmetic industry came up with new products with chemical filters that were colorless, but they were all synthetic to provide a solution for that texture and feel of sunscreens.
Q: What effects do chemical sunscreens have on the skin?
So fast forward now, The Environmental Working Group has done some of the preliminary research and started saying about 13 years ago, how ingredients in chemical sunscreens were not healthy for consumers. Specifically, the two filters oxybenzone and octinoxate were the two at the top of the list for all these years and they've came out this year with a 13th sunscreen compendium stating that oxybenzone and octinoxate should be eliminated.
Many researchers have come out saying that chemical sunscreens are not the healthiest option as they affect hormonal levels as they (chemical ingredients) are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Q: How about physical sunscreen? Are there any negative effects towards your health?
When we started looking to see if at zinc and titanium dioxide had any adverse effects, the only negative association with physical sunscreen was the thick white-cast appearance it would leave on the skin. Yeah, that was no primary issue, as far as on human health.
FDA and EWG researchers along with scientists across the globe agreed that zinc and titanium dioxide were conclusively, the best ingredients to use to formulate a sunscreen with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both together.
So after that initial research we started in looking at the inactive ingredients which is what gives a sunscreen its texture and finish. When we looked at physical sunscreens on the market that were doing well we found that common ingredients that companies use in their sunscreens are petroleum based like silicone. Along with a plethora of ingredients that companies have used some are natural although most are synthetic. The reason why they typically use synthetic formulas is because it gives any cosmetic product that silky smooth finish.
Q: Why are there so many sunscreens on the market that all claim to be SPF 30 or SPF 50 yet are not effective in protecting against sun damage?
50% of the chemical sunscreens in America, don't meet their SPF number. 75% of the natural products that claim to contain natural filters don't meet their UVA protection within their SPF numbers.
The reason is because they don't have enough UVA and UVB protection in them. Don't even meet their SPF numbers that they say on the bottle. Consumer Reports has reported it for years and years and years.
Q: How do companies get away with advertising false claims on their sunscreen?
Companies need to self test their sunscreens and are supposed to keep those files on record to send to an independent laboratory. How a lot of companies get away with it is the laboratory layers a thick amount of their product before testing the effectiveness, so the tests pass, despite the fact that no one puts 5 layers of sunscreen on before going outside.
Q: What makes a sunscreen truly effective in protecting you against sun damage?
During our research and development we asked ourselves “How do we formulate that something 100% natural, but truly effective and what that means to us?”
In our research we found that the European Union has concluded, that skin cancer starts deeper into the skin than what is typically required with formulations that are made in America.
What does that mean? In America, the numbers that are associated with SPF is the degree of UVB protection on the product so if it just is an SPF of 20, 30, 40 or 50, that's supposed to state what the SPF protection is. As more time and research when into sun damage doctors and scientists were discovering that skin cancer does not only come from UVB because UVA rays go deeper into the skin. Therefore, in America, the government came to the conclusion that sunscreen’s need to cover both UVA and UVB and that's why the term broad spectrum came from. Fast forward- The European Union is convinced that it (sunscreens) should have a higher amount of UVA protection in sunscreens. The term broad spectrum could mean almost no UVA protection maybe just like less than 1% up to 60% it's not required in the USA for labeling. For Europe, one third of the product has to protect for UVA, to be sold in Europe-it's called the European recommendation for UVA protection. Therefore, most sunscreens in America, can't be sold in Europe, because they don't have enough UVA protection to be deemed effective.
Q: How do Canadian standards compare?
In Canada, how we differentiate the product is we have to do additional heavy metal testing and anti-microbial testing it's not significant for the protection for the consumer. What is significant is if there are any raw ingredients, they cannot contain any raw metals for the consumer to be absorbing through their skin into their body. That is a huge concern and Canada requires that additional heavy metal testing, where it's not a requirement in America. In America, we do a certificate of analysis and have to test for microbial. Canada has additional microbial testing, and then they also have the additional heavy metal testing that not required in the US or EU.
Q: How Is Love Sun Body different than other mineral sunscreens on the market?
Love Sun Body is the only company that has the Eco cert Cosmo certification, meet the FDA requirements, European requirements and Canadian Health requirements along with being the only company that has done hypoallergenic and non committed genetic full panel testing for consumers with full transparency of what is exactly in our products
Q: What exactly is the Cosmos certification? What does it require?
There are five requirements that are needed for the Cosmos Standard certification.
1) All of our ingredients have to be natural or as closest natural as possible. For example, some companies may have a cosmetics product out there that is 98% natural. Love Sun Body won't do anything in the market unless it's 100% natural. We're not going to make anything that's not 100% Natural Cosmos certified.
2) They certify our formulas in the MIT UV filters. The only thing that's allowed by cosmos is non-NANO zinc or non nano titanium dioxide.
3) Our packaging has to be biodegradable or recyclable. All of our bottle’s recyclable.
4) They review our labeling ensuring every single thing on our label that we print has to be accurate and truthful. Canada and Europe do the same thing but it is not required in America. A lot of sunscreens in America say they are 100% mineral which leaves the consumers to think it is a physical sunscreen, although when you look at the ingredients the mineral components are mixed in the other chemical filters.
5) Our manufacturing facility has to be checked for every ingredient that we use. It has to be certified by Eco Cert or Cosmos in advance before we actually use the ingredients in our products. It is very difficult and time consuming. Outsourcing takes considerably longer than any other company, because they can just dial the phone and have that ingredient shipped tomorrow, meanwhile our sourcing takes us another six months to a year to get. Along with making sure every single raw ingredient is traceable and tested it in advance that there's no pesticides, GMOs or petroleum-based products. The only thing that's in that product is that ingredient is that ingredient. I can't say that for any other company that doesn't have a third-party certifier, including any other companies that advertise themselves as “natural”.
Q: I know on your packaging it says Love Sun Body is reef safe. How can sunscreens be harmful to our oceans?
About six or seven years ago scientists were looking into the reason why coral reefs were bleaching and they found out that it was not only water that was getting warmer over the years.
They (scientists) did some studies on the water itself and they had seen that the chemical filters in sunscreens were affecting the coral by bleaching them.
If you were to take up an Olympic sized swimming pool and fill that with salt water, and put a piece of coral in there the coral would thrive, just like they're in the ocean. If you start putting chemical sunscreen filters in there, the coral would to start to bleach and die.
Q: Is there any progress anywhere else leaning towards the ban of chemical filters in sunscreens?
After the Hawaii’s ban on the chemical filters oxybenzone and octinoxate, I flew down to Florida for the final vote in Key West on banning oxybenzone and octinoxate, which they did. I was one of the speakers there, and they were basically going back and forth and saying, “What happens if a consumer uses the product and they're not anywhere near the water?”. What's going to happen is that when it rains in Key West, all that sunscreen is going to get washed up in the ocean. The ship captains and scientists have been seeing this for years. The companies that make these synthetic ingredients are saying there's not enough empirical evidence. I say, have them go diving and go look at these coral reefs that have been and are being destroyed all over the world. We are aware that coral bleaching is also due to global warming, but it needs to be acknowledged that it’s also from chemical sunscreen. Right now, Hawaii, Mexico, Key West, and the Philippines are not letting these ingredients be used. Miami is now discussing the ban of oxybenzone and octinoxate and California will probably be next.
Q: You’ve done the appropriate testing to make sure your non-toxic sunscreen is amazing in application, healthy for your body and truly effective in protecting you against sun damage. Why aren’t cleaner sunscreen options mentioned more in the dermatology clinics as an option they give to their patients rather than the conventional sunscreens on the market?
A lot of lobbying companies wind up attending the annual conventions by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Canadian Dermatological Association as well. They present empirical data and have discussions about what prevents skin cancer, melanoma, wrinkling and age spots and come up with the solution of giving patients a product that they will want to regularly use. It boils down to what the patient is going to be most compliant with using. Patients in the past haven't been compliant with mineral filters because of the whitening issues so the dermatologists then moved onto chemical sunscreens. It really comes to be a question of compliance. Most patients are going to take their over the counter sunscreen drug with ease because it's less whitening.
The solution with Love Sun Body was to make it 100% natural to have 100% compliant for the consumer that wants to live a healthier and active lifestyle.
Q: A lot of our readers find that living an active and healthy lifestyle is their definition of self-care. Now with Love Sun Body, they can protect themselves from the risks associated with sun exposure. What is your definition of self-care?
My definition of self-care is to feel good about myself every day because I'm able to make a change, not only for me but for my family, our clients and in the world. People ask me, “What's my purpose in life, what my goals are and what are my dreams?” and it's doing something every day that I can be proud of. Relating this Love Some Body, I can’t be true to myself if I'm not true to the brand. The brand stands for creating best products in their class. We're not going to go to market with anything that's not the best in its class and best for consumers out there that they can trust it implicitly. Just like their favorite automobile, just like they look up a restaurant or a food product that they buy or cosmetic. That's how we want Love Some Body to look like to our clients and our peers.
A special thank you Julia from RED PR and Dr. Terry for making this interview happen. They were not only informative and professional but the most kind. I love meeting with people who share the same passion for making the world a better and healthier place. Dr. Terry’s main ambition is passion which drives his need to do better for himself, his family and everyone around him.