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The headline for this blog post may surprise you coming from the manufacturer of Britain's most simple, natural sunscreen brand, but it's important information you need if you are going to undertake to switch from a chemical to a natural formula.

I wrote this post bundled up in my warm scarf and cosy Norwegian cardigan, still feeling the chill from watching my daughter and her friends swim in the refreshing waters of Bantham Beach. It comes just hours after coming across our first critical review of Shade™ on Amazon.

Thinking about all the families who have chosen Shade™ and are likely enjoying, or preparing to enjoy, sunnier weather than I was, my heart went out to the family who left the review. They'd experienced sunburn and were understandably upset. They trusted Shade™ to protect them and felt let down. It's a feeling we can all relate to when something we trust doesn't live up to our expectations. However, it's worth noting that many more users have had positive experiences with Shade™, with some even calling it a 'godsend' due to its unique formula that helps them enjoy the sun without adverse reactions.

Here was my response, I am posting it here for others, in the hope to prevent other families experiencing the same.

"Thank you for your review.

To date we have only had 3 people remark to us about burning when using Shade™ for their sun protection. Invariably it has transpired that they have not used Shade™ appropriately, for example, they have relied on it for long periods in the sun while constantly in a pool during the height of the day. We highly recommend people avoid exposure during the hours of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest - Shade™ is not a sunblock and it's not waterproof, and shouldn't expect to be used as such.

Understanding Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

SPF25 means that it will take up to 25 times longer to burn when you use it than you would if you were to not use anything in the same environmental conditions.

Many people think that by simply reapplying their sun cream frequently (whichever brand) will allow them to stay in the sun for longer and longer. This is not the case, and is a common misconception. No reapplication will set any exposure back to zero...exposure is cumulative. This cannot be avoided.

Also, SPF25 means that the protection is 96% - that also means that 4% of rays are still reaching the skin. If you feel you are beginning burn, it's your body's warning to you that you have been exposed for too long, and the sensible approach is to cover up by wearing clothing or move out of the sun altogether. Applying more sunscreen only ensures you are still covered for the original 25x time frame - it does not extend the amount of time you can stay in the sun - those 4% of rays are still doing their damage. It's important that you listen to your body and its signals. The skill comes when you know your skin's limitations and move out of the sun in good time.

What constitutes 'adequate coverage'?

Any sunscreen should be applied adequately - approximately one shot glass full of sunscreen per average adult body is considered appropriate for full coverage, half a teaspoon's worth for a face - that seems a lot, but when you halve this amount and use less than required, you are actually square-rooting the SPF rendering an SPF25 for example into an SPF5; an SPF50 into SPF7! Shying away from the 'whiteness' which is the zinc oxide active ingredient layer, means you are minimising the efficacy of the product. Many people are not aware of this, and unfortunately are more concerned about how they look than how they are using their sunscreen, but this is crucial if you are going to rely heavily on your sunscreen to protect you.

Please also realise there are factors which can make skin more vulnerable to the sun's rays, such as certain medications, and other factors such as reflective surfaces, for example water, snow (intensifies rays by and extra 80%!), even grass, and pavements have reflective properties, and altitude intensifies exposure also.

As you will see from the other reviews, we have many customers who are more than happy with Shade™: for many it's the only sunscreen they can use due to allergies to other sunscreen ingredients and has been tested to EU standards on human subjects in laboratory and real conditions. It is proven to work as a safe and effective broad spectrum SPF25 sunscreen when used appropriately. I am sorry in your case that you are not happy with the product. I have offered to discuss your experience with Shade™ in a private communication but have as yet not heard from you. Please do call me or give me permission to call you on the mobile number provided with your order. I would like to understand where things went awry for yourself and your family.

I sincerely hope any negative review will help people understand more about sunscreens, SPF, and their own responsibility to listen to their bodies and take greater precautions while exposing themselves to a the sun for prolonged amounts of time.

My Personal Stance on Using Sunscreens

When I undertake risky activities, I assess the risks and take appropriate precautions. If I decide to proceed despite the risks, I accept responsibility for my choices. The sun, like many things, comes with its risks. It's up to each of us to understand those risks and take precautions. If you disagree with this perspective, Shade™ may not be the right choice for you.

I hope we all make informed decisions for ourselves and our families. Whatever choices we make, I sincerely wish they lead to safety and enjoyment.

Here's hoping that whatever choices we make for ourselves and our families, they turn out to be the right ones!

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