Skinnies FAQ


Got questions about Skinnies? We asked founders Martha & Olly Van Arts to put together answers to questions from our community. (If you want to hear more from Martha & Olly, check out our interview with them here!)

Jump to:
Length of Protection + Usage
On the Go
About Your Skin
Inside the Bottle
For the Kids

Length of Protection + Usage

How long does the sunscreen last?
Skinnies is a waterless Organogel, which means it bonds to the outer layers of your skin and stays there. I personally use Skinnies once per day, even when using CONQUER at the beach in New Zealand. I also use Skinnies LOOKS once per day on my face and find it’s still there at the end of the day. We do recommend reapplication if you’re in the water past the water resistance timing or if wiping or towel drying yourself or the kids.

How much sunscreen is the right quantity to apply at the beginning of each day? If I'm using Skinnies for normal office workdays in air-conditioned environment, how often should I reapply?
We recommend applying thoroughly and sparingly. It should feel greasy but slight tacky while it dries. We recommend a pea size blob for face next and ears then more for arms and legs. You need to feel you’re covered, like applying moisturiser.
For normal office workdays in AC environment you wouldn’t applying once at the beginning of the day is good.

How to reapply sunscreen in the mid of the day if we are applying makeup?
Skinnies goes over moisturiser and under makeup. For applying during the day, again a pea size blob for face, neck and ears. Give it 30 seconds – 2 minutes then apply make up over top.

How do you wash it off?
Have we mentioned Skinnies pH balanced Acne Bar. This contains salicylic acid which is great for exfoliation of dead skin cells and keeping pores clear. I use this to take my Skinnies LOOKS off at the end of the day. Otherwise a face wipe or your normal cleanser. Feel free to double cleanse if you feel just the one hasn’t lifted the gel film (skinnies is also non-comedogenic!).

Must we reapply the sunscreen after x hours?
With water based sunscreen lotions, it’s recommended to reapply every 2 hours. With Skinnies, because it’s like a concentrate this amount of reapplication isn’t necessary. When I’m at the beach with the kids I reapply to them after 4 hours, but personally I use Skinnies once a day on myself and on the kids while they’re at school. What I particularly love about Skinnies is that it lasts the kids all morning, lunchtime and after school. If we are going swimming in the hot afternoon I do put a bit more on.

Is it waterproof?
Skinnies water resistance is on the front of each tube. Our SPF30 sungel and LOOKS produts are 80 minutes water resistant, KIDS is 2 hours water resistant and our high performance CONQUER SPF50+ product is 4 hours water resistant.

Back to Top

On the Go

Is SPF 30 enough protection?
Yes Skinnies SPF30 Sungel is excellent UV protection. The product actually tests at SPF48 after 80 minutes water resistance so if you’re not in the water the protection level is even higher. Note: all Skinnies products are SPF tested AFTER water resistance.

Does Skinnies provide sufficient UV protection for swimming?
Skinnies SPF is all measured after water resistance. This means on the SPF30 product, it’s still SPF30 after 80 minutes in the water.
Skinnies KIDS product is still SPF50 after 2 hours in the water and our high performance CONQUER SPF50+ product is still over SPF65 after being in water for 4 hours.
We have the testing results available on our website if anyone wants to check them out!

How do we determine the SPF factor and level for each outdoor activity?
It’s really a matter of time out in the sun (and make sure you wear a hat and sunglasses!). If you’re out in the surf or playing cricket all day or a landscape gardener or builder for example, then Skinnies high performance SPF50+ CONQUER is the product that provides high protection. If you’re walking or playing tennis for up to 2 hours then the Skinnies SPF30 products are great.
For the KIDS we love Skinnies KIDS range. It’s smooth to put on, and not cold, and keeps them protected for the lunchtime play in the sunshine.

I am working under the hot sun in a waterpark. I have very sensitive skin and will perspire a lot. Does this sunscreen work for me and how long can it last?
Anyone with sensitive skin needs to try a patch test. We have really excellent feedback from people with skin sensitivies and eczema who say Skinnies does not irritate or make them itch. Personally I apply Skinnies directly over my daughter’s eczema if it’s red or itchy and it tends to clear it up. Eliminating the water also means we’ve eliminated a lot of skin irritants like emulsifiers. So, to get back to the question, working in the water park we’d recommend Skinnies high performance SPF50+ 4 hours water resistant CONQUER which will keep you sun safe in and out of the water.

Sometimes I have to go under the sun when I do my outdoor sports, but I don’t really like those oily and creamy type of sunscreen, what type of texture does this product have?
Skinnies products are light in texture and feel amazing on the skin spreading easily (even through hairy arms). When used correctly, Skinnies doesn’t leave you feeling clogged or coated. I did a couple of ½ Ironmans (back in the day) and remember feeling absolutely coated with thick white sunscreen – it was very hot in Australia! Skinnies really doesn’t leave you feeling coated. The gel is light, soft and spreadable for the SPF30 products. The KIDS range looks like manuka honey but isn’t sticky and again spreads easily and feels light on the skin after application. The CONQUER product is a little thicker and has a texture more like cocoa butter but still spreads really well. It needs to be a bit thicker to give the water resistance.

Back to Top

About Your Skin

Is Skinnies suitable for all skin types?
Skinnies is suitable for all skin types and skin tones. It’s light, doesn’t clog pores, is noncomedogenic and dries transparent, not leaving a white cast.

It is oily after applying?
Skinnies isn’t oily after applying. It should be applied thoroughly and sparingly, and it dries quickly and gives a clear matte finish. Some people love to apply a little more for a dewey effect but if it’s oily, you’ve used too much!

Can the sunscreen be applied to areas near my eyes?
If you have a history of sensitivity around the eyes, it would pay to do a patch test. One great feedback point we have is that Skinnies, once applied, doesn’t run into eyes so we know it’s good from that perspective!

Will it be okay for sensitive skin?
Anyone with sensitive skin needs to try a patch test. We have really excellent feedback from people with skin sensitivies and eczema who say Skinnies does not irritate or make them itch. Personally I apply Skinnies directly over my daughter’s eczema if it’s red or itchy and it tends to clear it up. Eliminating the water also means we’ve eliminated a lot of skin irritants like emulsifiers. So, to get back to the question, working in the water park we’d recommend Skinnies high performance SPF50+ 4 hours water resistant CONQUER which will keep you sun safe in and out of the water.

Does the sunscreen have any moisturizing effect? Some sunscreens feels a bit dry after applying.
Skinnies contains vitamin E and in our CONQUER product there’s manuka oil so there’s light moisturising. We usually recommend to put your moisturiser on before applying Skinnies. Moisturiser soaks into your skin, then Skinnies stay on top (make up or powder goes on last!).

Back to Top

Inside the Bottle

How is sunscreen different from sunblock? What are their differences?
Sunscreen is the same as sunblock, it’s just another name. From a regulatory perspective we’re not allowed to call it “sunblock” as that makes you think it’s completely blocking the suns rays. Even an SPF50+ product let’s in around 3% of UV rays.

I notice Skinnies Sun Cream has PA ++++. What does ++++ mean?
PA is a Japanese system of UVA rating where the UVA protection is expressed as PA+ some UVA protection to PA++++ Extremely High UVA protection. For EU and TGA (Australia) we tend to use broad spectrum instead though this doesn’t give you the actual ratio. At Skinnies we aim to give almost as much UVA protection as UVB with the ratios between 0.7 -0.9.

Is it physical or chemical?
Skinnies uses a combination of physical and chemical mainly so the skin feel is amazing and there’s no white cast.

How long can a bottle last?
One 100ml tube of Skinnies is equivalent to 500ml of typical water based sunscreen. I have used a pea sized blob of Skinnies LOOKS medium everyday and the tubes lasts me around 7-8 months. A 100ml of Skinnies CONQUER lasts around 1 summer for 1 person so you really are getting great value!

What are some of the nasties that skinnies sunscreen avoids which other brands usually add?
As Skinnies does not contain water we don’t need emulsifiers or preservatives and these can cause skin irritation. Skinnies doesn’t contain parabens or alcohol (which can dry skin). We use the least number of ingredients for maximum efficacy.

Back to Top

For the Kids

Is there a fun fragrance version? My kids don't really enjoy putting on sunscreen so I was wondering if there’s a fruity fun version that will entice and encourage them to apply it.
Yes! Skinnies KIDS has a delicious non allergenic coconut flavour and a light easily spreadable texture that kids love. We’ve also had the tubes designed by a Japanese Pop Artist Jun Arita with 3 colours each showing little scenes of New Zealand life – at the river, at the beach and on the farm. Kids also quickly “get” the pea sized blob as they don’t like slopping on cold white sunscreen.

Is it suitable for kids too? How are the kid’s ones different?
Skinnies Sungel and Skinnies KIDS are great for kids. We use the sungel directly on our daughter’s eczema and it clears it up because of the light film holding the moisture in. Skinnies KIDS is based on our CONQUER product but without the little bit of Zinc. It has the latest UV filters at lower concentrations to be most gentle on skin along with some aloe leaf extract and the non allergenic coconut sweetie smell.


Is it vegan friendly and made with biodegradable ingredients?
Skinnies is vegan friendly (Martha has been vegan for nearly 2 years and working on converting the whole family!).
While Skinnies ingredients are nature identical and we use the least number of ingredients there’s a lot more work needed on the exact chemical breakdown pathway in the environment. We use the least ingredients possible and those that have the least environmental impact with the information we have right now.
Our plan E is to establish an environmental laboratory that researches the metabolic pathways so we know exactly how long it takes to break down ingredients once they’re in waste water (Martha also has a Masters in Environmental Engineering and studied biodegradation of PCP so this is familiar territory).
With regard to packaging, Skinnies tubes are made from sustainably sourced sugar cane resin. They are 100% recyclable and we are working on infrastructure where empty tubes could be returned and reused.

I’d like to know about the 3 ingredients that have been flagged as worrisome in various studies by EWG, NOAA Ocean service - avobenzone, octocrylene and oxybenzone. These have been shown to have some correlation to creating pollution to a degree and impacts marine infrastructure and the mutation in marine life, hence not reef safe. Why do some of your products contain these and not something that’s more eco-friendly?
Sunscreen is highly regulated and we are tightly governed by regulatory bodies with regard to which UV filters we can use and at what percentages.
As more research happens, the impact of older filters (such as oxybenzone and octinoxate) becomes apparent and new filters, such as Neo Heliopan E1000 (great names eh!?) are developed with much lower environmental impact and excellent efficacy (or effectiveness). Each of the filters mentioned above have been used for over 40 years and are extremely effective as UV filters.
Skinnies products do not contain oxybenzone (our original formulation did but not anymore!), octinoxate or avobenzone. Octocrylene has low toxicity and we use this below the highest recommended percentages.
Skinnies products have the least ingredients for maximum efficacy and least environmental impact.
“Reef safe” is still an emerging research topic and there is a lot of confusion especially since Zinc Oxide is “acutely eco toxic in aquatic environments” and yet pure Zinc sunscreens are marketed as “reef safe”. Confusing!
To try to put things in perspective, sunscreen currently ranks 200th on the list of items impacting coral reefs. The sea has an unlimited BOD (biological oxygen demand) which means it’s amazing at degrading biological waste however the ocean acidification by absorption of CO2 is the main culprit for coral bleaching.

Yes, I agree the acidification is by CO2, but let's say 1000 ppl use skinnies. Even if products are minuscule, the impact by big usage amplifies the negative impact. Understand that perhaps these prob ingredients are in a small amount, may I know what’s the % of it in your products?

All the percentages of UV filters are available on our website. The percentages vary depending on the regulatory limits.
We could go through many hypothetical scenarios however when you compare Skinnies to typical sunscreen, the fact that Skinnies is not diluted with water means you use 5 times less than typical sunscreen. This also reduces a person’s exposure to the UV filters (one application per day compared to several of typical sunscreen), plus Skinnies is not absorbed into the skin, there’s no dry down so the actives yield is higher (ie it’s more effective) plus the exposure to the planet of various ingredients is lower.
From the research we can garner, the ingredients in Skinnies are “metabolised” (ie broken down) by chemical pathways in the environment but we don’t know exactly what this process is without a lot more research (and believe me this is something we’d like to know!).

Kudos to using sugarcane tube, how effective is the biodegradability in a country like Singapore where we do not have commercial compost facility?
Sugar cane resin is a renewable resource and the tube is 100% recyclable with the right infrastructure. Biodegradable is a bit of a green washing term as it means the packaging is broken down into smaller pieces – think micro plastics in your fish. Compostable, recyclable, reusable are better terms for environmental sustainability. By not using PET tubes made with oil by products we are shunning fossil fuels which should stay in the ground.

Ready to check out Skinnies? Shop the store now >>>