As if stressing about SPF wasn’t enough, we now have to worry about the Environmental Protection Factor (EPF) in our sunscreen. EPF measures the power of an antioxidant in protecting against environmental influencers, such as stress, pollution, and smoking, which may accelerate the aging process. “It is the latest fad in China to include the PM 2.5 label claim,” says Cyberderm’s Denis Dudley. “This denotes that the product has ingredients to ameliorate the effects of airborne and other pollutants that are identified as Particulate Matter (PM) with various diameters in microns.” In the U.S., it’s common to find a host of antioxidants in various sunscreens.
“EPFs play a huge role in our sunscreens at Coola,” says Chris Birchby. “Not only do Coola products protect from broad-spectrum sun exposure but they also provide skin and health benefits from an array of antioxidant-rich ingredients.” The company relies on acai fruit oil, as it’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as raspberry butter and plankton extract. “I think EPFs play a major role in SPF currently,” says Image Skincare’s Dawn Clifford. “Protecting from not only free radicals but also now with advanced ingredient technology, protection from pollution is at the forefront of SPF formulations.”